TEL AVIV I

 

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During the week leading up to the invasion of Gaza, when things looked like they might resolve without excessive tragedy, I met Ron on King George Street in central Tel Aviv.

He was wearing a No. 4 Spud Webb Hawks jersey. Sometimes it's important to wear symbols. We were in line to get a six-shekel (under $2) falafel. I was with my friend Noah. Noah was staying at a dorm provided by his Israeli internship, and, against the organization’s rules, I crashed in his dormitory apartment. Noah recognized a friend, Ryan, in line for a falafel. Ryan was Australian and a couple inches taller than me, maybe 6'5”. We eyed each other with tall-people distrust, like two lanky male peacocks during mating season. While Ryan and Noah caught up, I started talking basketball with Ron.

"You play ball?" I asked, pointing at his vintage NBA jersey.

"Yeah, when I can," Ron replied. Ron reminded me of my family physician. They both had similarly narrow faces with slightly sleepy eyes. They also seemed perpetually unenthused, Operating at one speed and tone no matter the subject. 

"Where do the best players go?"

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