Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Israel – CCLVII. The Language of the Realm (7 of 7)

Friendship was generally governed by nationalities.  Thus Russians befriended other Russians, and so on.

I befriended some of the Egyptian students.  I remember the long walks we used to take at night.  Walking along the road felt like walking in the middle of the desert:  the sand stretched to infinity, and above us the sky was lit by the light of a thousand stars.  We talked about our daily life in the ulpan and how our Hebrew was progressing. What our lives have been so far in Israel.  Each one had tales to tell; and rarely were they pleasant; they were stories of struggles with more to come.   We reminisced about Egypt and compared notes:  what we did back there, and of mutual acquaintances.  We were a young group and, despite our difficulties, we were optimistic about our future in our new country.  With my exception, all the others intended to stay in Israel for the rest of their lives.

The ulpan had more young women than young men.  Thus for the first – and last – time in my life I had the choice between two girls.

Her name was Tamara, she was Russian, and looked, well, like a Russian doll!  Between the two of us we knew seven languages, but not one in common!  Somehow, though, I suspected that language would not be a major barrier.  I ultimately stayed away from her because she was too aggressive.  She would have been too much for me to handle.

The other girl was Egyptian, and her name was Lillian.  She was a brunette with green eyes and brown unruly hair which she kept very long.  She was not particularly pretty, but she was tall and had a superb figure.

Lillian was the typical free spirit.  She casually accepted trivial problems, and recognized them for what they were.  She came into my life just when I needed to be reminded that my world was not going to tumble down.  Her approach to life had a positive influence on me.

Our dates consisted of long walks holding hands.  We had no money to spare, and there was little that could be done in Beersheva anyway.

When I knew Lillian, she was 25 and unmarried.  This would have been cause for great panic for another Egyptian girl.  But not so for Lillian.

She managed to somewhat demystify for me the feminine mystique; and this proved valuable in future relationships.

When we parted at the end of our studies, we promised to keep in touch.  This promise suffered the fate of similar promises people make to each other.  We got involved with our lives, and never actually wrote.

One of my male friends actually lived in Bat Yam.  As soon as we came back home, we became close friends and went out together often.  When I left for Canada, we lost touch.  In 1992, I came back for a return visit after an absence of 28 years.  I tried to get in touch with that friend, but he was no longer interested (he pretended he didn`t know me).  A long period of time had elapsed; so many things can happen to a person in that time span; I do not therefore doubt that he had a good reason for keeping his distance.

The ulpan organized numerous trips to acquaint us with our new country.  Thus I visited modern Jerusalem (the old city was in Jordanian hands at the time), Haifa, Tiberius, Acre, Nazareth, Safed, Naharia, parts of the Galilee, and Ein Gedi.



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