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Tel Aviv at night

David settled into his wide, comfortable seat in first class, retrieved his cell phone and sent a simple SMS message “Yaron” and switched it off just as the flight attendant arrived with his pre-flight drinks. The message prompted a flurry of activity 7,000 miles away in the large,multi-storey black building that houses the Mossad headquarters.

David had learned long ago that the best way to endure a transatlantic flight was to sleep through it. Because of that he had ordered only water and a cup of hot coffee. He opened his bag to find two moderately powerful sleeping pills and swallowed them. By the time they were at cruising altitude he was fast asleep. The next thing he knew the attendant was waking him to let him know they would be landing at Yafo soon. After washing his face and having another coffee he anxiously watched as his destination came into view. He wondered, not for the first time, how his new life was going to unfold.

In response to the SMS David had sent before flying, Eric Faust was waiting at the airport for the arrival of Delta 152. He was dressed discreetly in a casual khaki suit and blue shirt. Nothing about his appearance or demeanour would suggest he was an agent of Mossad. To all appearances he was a typical businessman awaiting the arrival of a colleague. When David deplaned and reached customs a uniformed guard approached and requested his passport. “Very good David, welcome to Israel. Will you please come this way?” The David was aware of a few envious glances in his direction as they bypassed customs and he was escorted to meet Eric waiting just outside the gate.

The first thing David noticed when leaving the airport was the sweltering heat. He instantly felt sweat oozing from every pore and wondered how the hell he would manage in such a climate. He was quite sure he would soon acclimate but the rancid sweat soaking quickly through his clothes said otherwise. The air conditioning in the waiting car was more welcome than even back in Atlanta and the drive to the offices of the Technology Department, responsible for development of technologies to support Mossad operations, was sheer heaven.

“Welcome to Israel, David!” The large, jovial looking man emerged from behind an enormous desk to shake his hand. “My name is Sinaj Zaman and I am deeply honored to meet a man of your distinction. We have been anxiously awaiting your arrival and are so very happy you have decided to come work with us on this historic project. Please, take a chair. Would you prefer coffee or tea?”

After Sinaj had signalled for coffee he settled into a chair opposite David. They exchanged pleasantries until the boy arrived with the drinks. The coffee was the deep, rich Turkish blend David so enjoyed. They sipped their coffee and nibbled at mamoul and continued chatting about generalities. Suddenly Sinaj’s face turned businesslike and he began to outline the project to David. David nodded and made the occasional grunt as the Minister discussed the various vagaries surrounding the research. When he had all the information laid out he wondered whether the David had any questions or concerns he could address and there being none at the moment they went back to chatting amiably. David decided he was going to like this man. His broad open face with the huge jowls framed eyes that seemed to always have a conspiratorial twinkle. His smile was infectious and when they shared a joke or two his laughter was booming. He was a likable character all round.

With a suddenness that was startling, Sinaj heaved his bulk out of the chair, gave David a toothy grin, and announced that his transportation was waiting just outside. He would spend this night at the Crowne Plaza in Menachem Begin Road, and tomorrow he would be driven to his villa near Jerusalem where he could spend the next two weeks getting settled. The idea of getting to the hotel for dinner and a bed was very appealing.

David found the Steak House restaurant to be fairly unimpressive and decided on room service. After placing his order he relaxed on the surprisingly comfortable sofa as he gazed out the window over Tel Aviv. He wasn’t interested in the diamond district or museum and the flea market and Carmel Market were equally unappealing. Best to just stay in tonight, get some rest and look forward to seeing his new home tomorrow.
The steak, potatoes and roasted vegetables from the room service menu were fairly standard and uninspired but filling. David felt quite sure that a quick run through the shower would put him in the perfect condition for falling asleep quickly; and it did. He awakened feeling more refreshed than he’d felt in months. He was pleasantly surprised to see it was 7 am. Another quick shower was followed by breakfast at Badolina in Yordai Hasira Street. The dark rich Italian coffee and pastries were just the thing to get him going. He ordered a second round of coffee and read the Jerusalem Post from front to back before deciding to get back to the hotel. He was anxious now to begin his trip to Jerusalem. When he arrived at the hotel he was surprised to find Eric reading the paper in the reception area.

“I took the liberty of having your room packed and the luggage brought down to storage, thinking you would be anxious to being our journey; I hope I haven’t caused offense”, said Eric. “On the contrary! Let’s get underway!” David gave Eric a big smile as he signalled for the luggage and they got out into the notorious Tel Aviv traffic. Because of the congestion in the city the 60 km trip took nearly two hours to complete but when David saw his house he thought every moment of the journey since Atlanta was worth it.

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