My soon to be released short story, Chances Of A Lifetime, was partially inspired by the epic novel, Exodus, by Leon Uris. I was inspired and intrigued by the exotic land of Palestine, of the fight for Jewish independence, and by the fascinating, and alluring, native born Jews. My main character Hannah travels to Palestine in the late 1940s. There she meets a handsome Jewish soldier by the name of Yigal.
I first read Exodus by Leon Uris almost twenty years ago. It’s story and the real life struggles of the Jewish people and the conflict in Palestine and Israel took my imagination and mind. I wanted to know more about the Arab-Israeli conflict, Jewish culture, the Hebrew language and the history of the Holy Land (irrespective of religion or culture – it is a land that has been inhabited for thousands years and by people of many faiths and cultures). I immersed myself in all things Jewish, including Jewish cuisine (I love potato latkes!). I tried my hand at learning Hebrew. And I wanted to travel to Israel and see the Holy Land with my own eyes.
I devoured history books and read accounts of the conflict from all sides. I tried to under the complex (and sometimes stupid) political negotiations, machinations and power hungry activities that didn’t help the conflict.
When I found a video of the movie Exodus (released in 1960) at my university’s library I couldn’t wait to watch it. But I was a little disappointed. It lacked something. And Paul Newman, although a good looking man, just didn’t cut it as the main character, Ari Ben Canaan. But hey, we all have those moments when you finally get to see the movie version of your favourite book and we are sorely disappointed.
Although my fascination with all things Israel, Jewish culture and the Arab-Israeli conflict is not as strong as it was, I am still intrigued. I hope there can be a resolution to the conflict and that the Palestinian people can live freely and have a homeland of their own. And that Israelis and Palestinians can live harmoniously.