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A puff of smoke appeared in the distance. 

It was clearly visible from where I stood on the roof of one of a handful of apartment buildings in the ancient city of Hebron where Jewish families lived. 


Tear Gas. Something was happening in the center of the city. 


We left the building. The street was full with soldiers and police. An ambulance pulled up, then another. The sirens seeming somehow distant, as if I was far removed from whatever injury had been caused. Because between myself and the chaos was a passageway, demarcated by a sign, informing me that Israeli citizens were not permitted to enter. 


I tried to think of a sign that said the same about the Palestinian Arabs. But I have never seen one.


And since there was nothing we could do, I climbed back into the car. We drove slowly away, making sure to leave enough space for oncoming security vehicles to get quickly by. And then we turned a corner and it was as if we had never been there at all. 


I felt humbled by the bravery I did not feel myself, but which I was certain the Jews who live in, and defend selflessly, this most holy of our ancient cities must feel everyday. They are the heroes of Hebron.


And I was only visiting for the first time.

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