Heli and Eli sell condos on Exodus Street, a name that evokes a certain historical hardship in a neighborhood that suggests none at all, the ingathering of the Jews having entered a whole new realm here. The talk in the little office is of interest rates and panoramic sea views from handsomely appointed properties selling on the Ashdod waterfront for half what people are asked to pay in Tel Aviv, 18 miles (29 km) to the north. And sell they do, hand over fist — never mind the rockets that fly out of Gaza, 14 miles (22.5 km) to the south. "Even when the Qassams fell, we continued to sell!" says Heli Itach, slapping a palm on the office desk. The skull on her designer shirt is made of sequins spelling out "Love Kills Slowly." "What the people see on the TV there is not true here," she says. "I sold, this week, 12 apartments. You're not client, I tell you the truth."So, the real stumbling block to Mideast Peace isn't Hamas and its regularly scheduled rocket attacks. Or Palestinian insistence on the "right of return." Or those Israeli settlements on the West Bank. Or the fact that Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority probably don't even have the authority to implement any peace deal in the West Bank, let alone in Gaza (see Hamas). The real problem is that sun-bathing, tackily dressed Israelis are too concerned with making money to care about peace.
The truth? In the week that three Presidents, a King and their own Prime Minister gather at the White House to begin a fresh round of talks on peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the truth is, Israelis are no longer preoccupied with the matter. They're otherwise engaged; they're making money; they're enjoying the rays of late summer.
Incidently, Time is selling copies of this cover (a "piece of history" suitable for framing) starting at just $15.95.