Early Friday morning a few weeks ago, I was on a bus to Jerusalem's Central Bus Station. I planned to take another bus from there to Mevasseret Tzion, a suburb of Jerusalem, to get a ride to Bet Shemesh for my weekly job in a school there. I was right on schedule. On the bus, I went over my notes for the day, jotting down any new ideas that came along. The bus sighed as we curved around a sharp bend in the road, and I looked around at the other passengers.
I love riding public transportation because I see the most interesting people. I find myself staring at them, picking them apart, and imagining their stories. I examine their clothes, their hair, their belongings, their facial expressions, note whether they are traveling alone or in a pack, if they meet my gaze or if they are also looking around at the other passengers. With all of these bits of information, I piece together their histories and where they are going. It was a gorgeous day, a preview of spring, and the tension that continuously hangs in the Jerusalem air seemed lighter. Though it was early, people were already out preparing for Shabbat.
In a single passionate interview recently, Ehud Olmert, Israel's deputy prime minister, managed to do what most politicians only dream about -- recast a nation's political and diplomatic agenda.