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Jennifer Lang The Fabric of Peace My breath catches when I look at my son Benjamin in his Israel

Defense Forces (IDF) army fatigues for the first time. Because he is my firstborn. Because he towers over me. Because he is ready to embark on a journey I’d secretly hoped none of my children would ever pursue. Seeing Benjamin now reminds me of my long-ago vision of peace back when I had first moved to Israel and former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin stood in the spotlight. Pregnant in the spring of 1993, I was swept up in the cautious optimism that infused the country. The long, hot summer of swollen feet and What to Expect When You’re Expecting coincided with Israel’s season of political dialogue, peace talks and agreements. World politics centered on Rabin, his name coming up in our everyday conversation. The Oslo Accord unfolded as my belly expanded.      Midway through my first pregnancy, during a routine appointment, my gynecologist waved his magic wand over my abdomen, squinted at the ultrasound screen, and informed me I was carrying a boy. My husband, Philippe, wasn’t with me; I was devastated the doctor had robbed us of the surprise. I wanted a girl. Boys scared me. In Israel, most eighteen-year-old males serve three years in a combat unit in the IDF. Just because I had chosen to live in the only democracy in the Middle East didn’t mean I’d be ready or willing to sacrifice my child, something it seems every Israeli accepts. By the third trimester, the subject of politics dominated every discussion: Oslo this, Rabin that, the PLO this, the Accords that. I pondered baby names, as well as the meaning of war and peace, compromise and coexistence. On September 13, Philippe and I brought home our four-day-old son from the hospital. With Benjamin’s crib in one room and oodles of baby presents in another, our Haifa apartment felt cramped. Even though Philippe told me to rest, I couldn’t. All I wanted to do was gaze down at my infant and up at the television screen; on TV, Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat were shaking hands, the first public handshake between the two arch enemies, with U.S. President Bill Clinton at their sides.   I stretched out on our autumn-colored couch. Benjamin, his eyes

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Profile for Crab Orchard Review

Crab Orchard Review Vol 23 No 2 October 2018  

General/Awards Issue for 2018, Featuring the Winners of Our Annual Fiction, Poetry, & Literary Nonfiction Prizes

Crab Orchard Review Vol 23 No 2 October 2018  

General/Awards Issue for 2018, Featuring the Winners of Our Annual Fiction, Poetry, & Literary Nonfiction Prizes