"My feeling is," he said, "the more sports the better. Bring them all to Israel. Let's have a look at them. Baseball, hurling, American football—let's try them out."
Everybody stood up. There could not have been a better note struck for a leave-taking. We shook hands all around and went out and got into Chaim Glovinsky's old car and pointed for Hotel Dan in Tel Aviv.
In the tent, a few feet from the border that separates Israel from the Gaza Strip, Lieutenant Jacob ran his hand through his tousled blond hair. "There are some beautiful girls in Tel Aviv," he said. He shook his head sadly and spoke to the sergeant in Hebrew. The sergeant listened carefully and nodded, hunching his shoulders and spreading his hands.
"Yes," I said, "there are some beautiful girls in Tel Aviv. Some evenings I have sat in the lounge of Hotel Dan, discussing sports with certain authorities on the subject, and I noticed many beautiful girls dancing the cha-cha-cha."
"The cha-cha-cha," said Lieutenant Jacob. "I have seen it. Very good as danced by a beautiful girl at Hotel Dan."
"However," I said, "I think you were curious about my over-all reaction to Israel and the people here?"
Lieutenant Jacob looked at me blankly for a moment. Then he said, "Oh. Oh, yes, certainly."
"What has impressed me," I said, "is the variety of people you meet. Now in Ireland almost everybody is Irish. But here there are Russians, Poles, Rumanians, Germans, British, South Africans, Americans, Indians, Yemenites, Arabs—even some Irish. You know, of course, that Rabbi Herzog of Jerusalem is a Dublin man. The accents are so varied, it is really quite remarkable. And just as remarkable is the attitude of the people. They are cheerful, dedicated, unaffected and very friendly. They are taxed to the eyebrows and still you hear few complaints. I suppose it's because they have a sense of purpose, because they are building a new country and can see the results of their efforts all around them."
"Yes," said Lieutenant Jacob.
I got up and put out my hand. "Thank you for the visit, Lieutenant," I said. I turned and shook hands with the sergeant. They both said, "Shalom," which means peace.