World Literature Today
De Beauvoir And Sartre On The Kibbutz Image Credit: World Literature Today
De Beauvoir And Sartre On The Kibbutz Image Credit: World Literature Today

De Beauvoir And Sartre On The Kibbutz

While visiting a kibbutz to give a lecture, and after dining on both hot desert-root vegetable soup and sushi, the speaker becomes the listener when someone in the audience completes an anecdote about Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre.

Moshe Sakal

The terminal at Tel Aviv’s small municipal airport was crowded. All the passengers sat in the waiting area near the doors facing the runways. Two airlines had divvied up the passengers equally, and I stood in line, handed my confirmation to the attendant, and received my boarding pass. Buses shuttled back and forth from the terminal, and about half an hour later I, too, made my way to the runway.

No one was seated to my right on the plane. To my left, beyond the aisle, sat two men wearing boots, with their legs slightly splayed out, passing a cell phone back and forth. They spoke quietly to each other, and smiled secretively, about the pictures they were looking at. They compared and contrasted. They had something to grasp at, or at least so I assumed, but I could not penetrate their world. That is how far removed from me they were.

When I got to Eilat, I was met outside the airport by my driver, who turned out to be the husband of the library director. Very tall, brown moustache. He walked me to the car and we headed to the kibbutz.

The last time I’d been to the resort city, I was in my twenties. I went with another young man and a woman, both friends from Tel Aviv, to stay in a vacation apartment that belonged to my friend’s parents, who, like many other Israelis, had bought a time-share for a vast sum of money. They were only entitled to use the apartment for one month out of every year, and even that was hard to fill. Still, we went


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