32°00′ N, 35°15′ E

PUBLISHING info: LOG 4: Observations on Architecture and the Contemporary City, Cynthia Davidson ed., winter 2005 (co-authored with Tali Krakowsky)


nce there was a beautiful land. It was hilly and dry. Over time the land was cultivated, converted from a barren landscape to fertile agricultural terrain. Beautiful orchards of olive and oak trees now grew. The land had a temperate climate, with hot, dry summers and cool, wet, short winters. The lowest point was a sea, 408 meters below sea level. The highest point was the top of a tall mountain, 1,208 meters above sea level.

The land was rich with memory, valued as much for its history as for its meaning.

People flocked to live in this land. They were drawn by its meaning and seduced by its beauty.

Some built houses around a hill. Some built houses in the valley. The houses around the hill began at either end and met at the middle. They became a wall. The building continued until there were rows of houses, rows of walls. The walls became a village. The village became a border. It lay at the southern edge of the big city nearby.

The village provided the luxuries of suburban life. The houses were affordable. The community was self-selecting. The village offered beautiful views over the valley.

The migration has continued indefinitely.


A paved road leads new arrivals east from the city toward the village. They travel along this road as if in the dark. They come in armored buses, armored taxis, armored cars, armored dress.

The road passes through a tunnel and crosses a valley where it becomes a border dividing two communities. Here a 30-foot-high reinforced-concrete wall lines one side of the road, separating the communities. The wall protects the new arrivals from shootings and bombs. It hides those who hide

behind it.

The road passes through a second tunnel after which it stops at a gate.


*This observation is based on Gush Etzion, an Israeli settlement situated between the Dead Sea and Mount Meron, 10 minutes south of Jerusalem. We are grateful to Shanni Simkovitz for providing us with insightful background information on Gush Etzion.


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Work: Writing