Kamila & Yossi by Jim Maceda


This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author’s PRIOR consent

      ACT ONE

      SCENE 1:
      The Doniana Restaurant, Old Acre, Galilee

      The curtain rises on a striking couple of thirty-somethings being
      directed to a dimly lit table for 2, overlooking the Mediterranean

      Kamila Said wears an attractive black dress and mother of pearl
      earrings, her long hair is worn down

      Yossi Bloom looks Ďtypically Israelií - short cropped hair, tight black
      jeans, a tighter black t-shirt, black leather boots, gold necklace and
      - even though they are inside and it is evening - dark sunglasses

      On the house audio system a Palestinian woman sings an upbeat jazz ballad

      Their table is on the periphery of the dining room

      KAMILA: Perfect! Shukran, habibi! (Yossi helps Kamila into her chair.)
      Oh, whoís the gentleman in the dark sunglasses?

      YOSSI: Yossi Bloom. Ashkenazi Jew from Petah Tikva, (Covers his
      forearm with his table napkin, like a waiter) At your service,

      KAMILA: How nice to meet you, Mr Bloom.

      YOSSI: (Yossi now takes his seat) Kamila, shouldnít we take a table
      closer to the others? So we can - you know - kind of blend in?

      KAMILA: But this table is so…romantic! No?

      YOSSI: (Smiles) Yes. Youíre right. (Looks around the premises and
      the stunning view out to sea) Surf…stars…sexy music…I like this
      place. I think.

      KAMILA: I thought you would, habibi. After your trip to the camp, I
      figured youíd want to let your hair down.

      YOSSI: (Rubbing his oiled, bald pate) Very funny!

      KAMILA: (Giggles) Oh, Iím sorry!

      YOSSI: (Takes off his sunglasses) I suppose I wonít need these.
      Itís dark in here. I doubt anyone will notice me as long as I
      donít speak Hebrew.

      KAMILA: Oh, Yossi, Acreís a big city - and you hear lots of Hebrew
      in the streets, you know. Weíll be fine. White or Red?

      YOSSI: No, I think Iíll have a coke. Iím beat.

      KAMILA: I bet you are. And that long drive back over the border. I
      donít know how you news cameramen do it. Shoot all day, drive all

      YOSSI: Well, Kurt and I mostly slept. Shakir did the driving. But I
      donít feel too sorry for him. While we were out chasing your cousins
      he was in his car, aircon blasting, calling his local Lebanese
      squeezes, no doubt. He left a trail of cigarette butts in Jal al-Bahr.
      And he kept harping on this young girl there.

      KAMILA: Was she cute?

      YOSSI: Maybe. Hard to tell with her veil. But thatís never stopped

      The waiter arrives to take their order.

      WAITER: Masaí alkhayr. Tonight, I recommend our special, grilled
      dorado and claims in a white wine sauce.

      KAMILA: Oh, that sounds wonderful. Iíll have that. With a glass of

      WAITER:  (Glances at Yossi) Israeli?

      YOSSI:  Canít you tell?

      WAITER:  (Apologetic) Iím sorry. I meant the wine.

      YOSSI:  Oh. Well, whatís wrong with the French or Lebanese

      WAITER: I just thought you might prefer the local wine. (Smiles and
      leans into cupping his mouth with his hand.) Actually, our best
      customers find it to be undrinkable.

      YOSSI: (Laughs in an admonishing way) Well, thanks a lot for
      suggesting it then! Iíll have a coke.

      WAITER: And would you like the fish special as well?

      YOSSI: No, Iíd like a steak please.

      WAITER: A steak.

      YOSSI: Yes.

      WAITER: Filet?

      YOSSI: Yes.

      WAITER: Medium?

      YOSSI: Burnt. Black.

      WAITER: Burnt black?

      YOSSI: Correct.

      The waiter looks at Kamila for some kind of clue.

      KAMILA: Itís no joke. Trust me. And make my chablis Lebanese please.
      (Grabbing Yossiís hand) To celebrate your return from Lebanon today!
      (Big smile)

      The waiter nods and leaves the table.

      YOSSI: Beíteiíavon! Enjoy your meal!

      KAMILA: (Diplomatically) But Yossi, the Daniana is famous for its

      YOSSI: Iím sorry, habibti. I just feel like a steak. And a coke.

      Yossi smiles as he puts his sunglasses back on.

      KAMILA: Whatís wrong? (Smiles) You look like a Jew from Petah Tikva
      with those on.

      YOSSI: I think he made me self-conscious.

      KAMILA: Relax, motek. Youíre an Israeli Jew. Iím an Israeli Arab.
      Weíre crazy about each other. Itís not a crime. The rest is THEIR

      YOSSI: (Takes off his sunglasses again). Youíre right.

      The music has changed to a nostalgic song by Arik Einstein as the
      waiter returns and pours their drinks.

      YOSSI: I do like this place. The song is Israeli, but you sure donít
      feel like youíre in Israel here.

      WAITER: Youíre not. This is Palestine.

      YOSSI: Touchee! (All 3 laugh, the waiter leaves the table). It WAS
      Palestine, a long time ago.

      KAMILA: And it will be Palestine again.

      YOSSI: In shíallah. But not the Galilee, motek.

      KAMILA: Why not? This was Palestine once. In fact, this was to be part
      of our state, if you recall.

      YOSSI: Yeah, back in the 40ís. And that lasted a few months. (Toasts
      Kamila with his coke) Hereís to all those Arab legions who laid
      siege to tiny Israel on the very day after its birth! LaHaim!

      KAMILA: (Returns the toast with her glass of Lebanese chablis)
      Alamdulillah! And hereís to all my relatives in a god-forsaken
      refugee camp still waiting for the day you give them back their
      Galilee! LaHaim!

      YOSSI: (Toasts) Not me, darling. Iím on their side. They should get
      it back. Itís their land. Our army leveled their villages. I get
      that. But itís too late.

      KAMILA: I know that. But they wonít listen. Itís all about one
      country now.

      YOSSI: I gotta tell you, all this talk about a Ďone stateí
      solution - Arabs and Jews living in one Palestine again, like the old
      days, before all the wars. (Looks around and then leans forward in a
      loud whisper) Bullshit!

      KAMILA: Well. Wouldnít that be nice?

      YOSSI: Yeah. Nice…but impossible, Kamila. Too much water under the

      KAMILA: And too much blood on the bridge!

      YOSSI: Right. And too many of us Jews just too damn afraid to even
      consider themselves a minority again. (Whispers again) You know you
      Arabs fuck like rabbits! (Both laugh again)

      KAMILA: Look at us. Arenít we proof Jews and Arabs can get along?

      YOSSI: Yeah, sure. But our children would be half breeds.

      KAMILA: Yossi! (Blushing) I never heard you talk about having children

      YOSSI: Well, have you thought about it? I mean, if we had kids (he
      looks around the room again) - think about all the harassment
      THEYíLL get. All the bullying in school.

      KAMILA: Theyíll just have to be really thick skinned.

      YOSSI: And take after you!

      KAMILA: Touchee back!

      YOSSI: Hey this steak is great. Howís your fish? And your unIsraeli

      KAMILA: Ezze yoffi. Ko lakavol! Now tell me about the shoot today. How
      is my Palestinian family? I canít believe this is all happening!

      Yossi pulls out a small digital playback machine from his rucksack and
      lays it on the table.

      YOSSI: Well, this being the 21st century, habibi. Iíll show you some
      clips Iíve already edited…

      KAMILA: Oh wow. This is so cool!

      YOSSI: Hereís Hassan and Ali, who are very busy here packing their

      HASSAN/ALI: Hello cousin! The clock is ticking!! Weíll see you
      tomorrow, can you believe it?

      KAMILA: Oh my god!

      YOSSI: This is Kurt sitting down with them in their bedroom for a
      brief interview. Pretty basic living standards, you can see. A sheet
      hangs from some electric cable for privacy. Thereís no tv or
      electronics in the house - just one old tube radio. Thereís hardly a
      roof, itís just some corrugated tin….canít imagine what itís
      like when it rains. Hereís Ahmad…

      KAMILA: Oh wow.

      YOSSI: He was very quiet. Camera shy, I guess. Kind of stuck to
      himself. He spent most of the time we were there trying to fix an old
      water pump in the back yard that had given up the ghost.

      KAMILA: Father says heís a good man. Just not a go-getter.

      YOSSI: He said that without the pump the house could be washed away in
      the next storm. He was introduced to us as Hassan and Aliís father.
      So I guess heís your uncle.

      KAMILA: Half uncle, yeah. He and my father, Sirhan, have the same
      father, Mohammed. Can you believe it, weíre only 5 miles from the
      Lebanese border and Uncle Ahmad has never even stepped inside Israel?
      Never been once to visit. Not allowed…until now!

      YOSSI: So sad. So tell me again, your father was REALLY born on May
      14, 1948?

      KAMILA: Ken, Independence Day. YOSSI: The ĎNakbaí.

      KAMILA: Yeah, that too. Day of Catastrophe, for us Arabs. So what do
      you do? Every birthday, Father never knew if he should laugh or cry. I
      think it made us all a bit manic. Oh, whoís that waving?

      YOSSI: Letís see. (Checking his notes) Thatís at 02 21
      15…thatís Emna.

      KAMILA: Thatís Aunt Emna? Gee, sheís really changed from the old
      photos we have.

      YOSSI: And she is?

      KAMILA: Uncle Ahmadís wife. Hassan and Aliís mother. YOSSI: And
      sheís never met your mother either?

      KAMILA: Never. I think they tried to have a family reunion in the
      90ís. In Jordan. You know during those days of hope - the Oslo
      Accords - Arafatís return. But it never happened. There were issues
      with travel documents or something.. I was just a teenager and more
      interested in boys. (Laughs)

      YOSSI: So hereís the sit down interview with Hassan and Ali. They
      speak pretty good English - I was surprised.

      KAMILA: Well, Papa Mohammed - our grandfather - is very smart. He
      actually earned a high school diploma - that was unheard of in those
      days - and was a voracious reader, Iím told. The whole family were
      citrus farmers and they did very well. He worked hard to get into a
      university back in 1948 - just out of high school - but then the war
      broke out.

      YOSSI: So he and his family fled to Lebanon?

      Kamila: Yes, after their village - Az-Zeeb - was destroyed by the
      Israeli Army. But his wife, Fatima, was so pregnant with my father -
      Sirhan - that he ordered her to say behind. To protect the herds of
      cows and goats, as my father tells it. His brother, Abdul Razak - my
      great uncle - and his wife, Um, stayed behind at first to care for
      her, but Uncle Abdul Razak was wounded by a mortar and my grandmother,
      Fatima, ended up caring for both of them as well.

      YOSSI: She sounds like another tough cookie.

      KAMILA: Oh, there are amazing stories about Grandma Fatima. She gave
      birth to my father on a pile of rubble on the front lines. All alone.
      Days later, the Israelis had a forced evacuation of civilians down the
      coast, and Grandma was on that bumpy bus ride for hours, ending up in
      Tarshiha - where we live today. Then in October í48 Tarshiha was
      bombed in another Israeli operation, and again, she stayed on with her
      5-month old baby - hiding in a cellar for days at a time, with shells
      exploding overhead. Uncle Abdul Razak and Auntie Um fled north, to
      Tyre, and actually found my grandfather, Mohammed, in a camp up there.
      He had already remarried. (She drifts off for a moment) But, yes -
      Grandma Fatima was one tough cookie. (Turns to Yossi) My father says i
      got her genes. (Laughs)

      YOSSI: What happened to her?

      KAMILA: Well, they lost everything - the cows, the goats, the orchards
      - either stolen or destroyed . But she managed to raise my father, on
      her own. She never
      remarried. And she never saw her husband again. Things got a little
      better here after martial law was lifted in the 60ís. She found a
      job as a seamstress. Learned Hebrew. Became an Israeli citizen. She
      always called herself an Ďinvisibleí Israeli - back then Arabs had
      (she gestures) NO rights, no opportunities, nothing. Just ID cards to
      leave the country, if you could afford it.

      YOSSI: Itís not much better today, is it? (Kamila frowns and shrugs
      her shoulders) Is she still alive?

      KAMILA: No. I think all the stress and heartache must have caught up
      with her. She died when I was 6. My mother says that on her deathbed
      she would not stop asking when the family was coming home.

      YOSSI: Shall I show you a short clip?

      KAMILA: Oh, sure. Iím sorry, we got carried away.

      YOSSI: Please. I love your familyís story. Itís Palestineís
      story. And it must be told. (Yossi leans forward and gives Kamila a
      sweet kiss across the table. Then rolls the video)

      KAMILA: Thatís much better!

      KURT: (Clip begins) Are you excited about visiting Israel?

      HASSAN: Very much. Itís a first. It feels like leaving prison when
      we are out of this camp and out of Lebanon. Thereís nothing for us
      here. No work. No school. No future.

      KURT: And do you see a future in Israel for you now, given Prime
      Minister Eretzí co-called peace blitz?

      ALI: We hope so. Weíre grateful to the new Prime Minister to make
      this peace plan - opening up the border for some divided families is a
      good start. A good humanitarian move.

      HASSAN: And we want to thank him personally for this. (Shows Kurt a
      gift- wrapped box.) We even have a gift for him. (Laughs) And we hope
      that our cousin, Kamila, who works in the Karlston hotel in Nahariya,
      will help us meet the Prime Minister and thank him personally while he
      stays there.

      YOSSI: And NOW you know why I wanted you to see some clips.

      KAMILA: (Looking stunned) Wow. Thatís amazing. How did they know
      about Eretz staying at the Karlston?

      YOSSI: (Guiltily) We told them. I hope you donít mind? We said you
      were really excited about Eretzís visit.

      KAMILA: Well, i think hooking them up is a great idea. Donít you?

      YOSSI: Iím sure Eretz will love it. Heís coming up to Nahariya to
      win Arab hearts & minds, right?

      KAMILA: (Affected) And of course heís staying at the classy, 4-star
      Grand Karlston Hotel when heís there! (Laughs) You know they put me
      in charge of his stay?

      YOSSI: No, I didnít. Thatís great, Kamila! (Leans over and kisses
      her again)

      KAMILA: I donít know what Iím more nervous about. My cousins
      arriving, or taking care of the Israeli Prime Minister.

      YOSSI: (To the waiter) The steak was delicious, sir. Toda raba. And
      Iíll definitely have the fish next time we come. (All Laugh)

      WAITER: I look forward to it. Can I get you anything else?

      KAMILA: I think just a coffee for me.

      YOSSI: Two coffees, please. And the check.

      The waiter nods, smiles, and backs off into the darkness.

      KAMILA: I wanted to say, ĎNo thank you - Iím having desert in my
      hotel roomí, but I bit my tongue.

      Yossi smiles and caresses the top of Kamilaís thigh under the table.

      YOSSI: Youíre having desert in MY hotel room…

      KAMILA: 114 again?

      YOSSI: Where else?

      KAMILA: You should be paying property tax.

      YOSSI: Ha! (Long pause) How did an average Jewish kid from Petah
      Tikhva end up with an Arab beauty like you?

      Two Arabic coffees arrive with the check. The waiter thanks them, in
      Arabic and Hebrew.

      WAITER: Shoukran. Toda raba. Please come again soon!

      YOSSI: Iíll get this. Youíll need all your spare cash for Hassan
      and Ali, Iím sure.

      KAMILA: Shoukran habibi. (Sips coffee) You know, weíre not so
      different, you and I.

      YOSSI: Really?

      KAMILA: (Leans in, starts ticking off points on her fingers) First of
      all, weíre both Semitic.

      YOSSI: True. Thatís really boring. But true. KAMILA: Weíre both

      YOSSI: Better.

      KAMILA: Thirty-something?

      YOSSI: Yes.

      KAMILA: VERY mature professionals.

      YOSSI: Speak for yourself. (Laughs) Ok, Iíll give you that one.

      KAMILA: And were both only children. Introspective.

      YOSSI: Moody.

      KAMILA: Self-starters.

      YOSSI: True again. You win the prize! An all-expenses-paid walk along
      Acreís Crusader ramparts! Shall we?

      KAMILA: Yes! Letís go!

      END OF SCENE 1

      SCENE 2:
      On the Rosh Hanikra border between Israel and Lebanon

      Sirhan Said - Kamilaís father - and his younger brother Ahmad - both
      middle aged - are standing on either side of a chain link fence
      starkly lit by large spot lights. Ahmad is in Lebanon; Sirhan is in no
      manís land between the Lebanese and Israeli border checkpoints. They
      are meeting at night for a final review before Ahmadís sons, Hassan
      and Ali, travel early the next day to Sirhanís house in Tarshiha, in
      Upper Galilee.

      SIRHAN: Salam Aleikhum, Ahmad. (They touch fingers through an opening
      in the fence.)

      AHMAD: Aleikhum salam, brother. All is well. The boys have packed what
      they could for the summer months. (Rolls up some papers and passes
      them through the fence) Here are their travel documents. The 3-month
      tourist visas are inside, and can be renewed if they stay out of
      trouble. Itís better if you keep them somewhere safe, brother. You
      know my boys.

      SIRHAN: Good idea. How are they feeling?

      AHMAD: Well, an American reporter came by today.

      SIRHAN: I think Kamila had something to do with that.

      AHMAD: Ah, ok. I wondered how they had found us. Anyway I stayed out
      of the way, just listened in when I could. And they said all the right

      SIRHAN: Like?

      AHMAD: Like, how excited they are to be visiting their long-lost
      family in Israel.

      SHRINE: Yeah?

      AHMAD: And how grateful they are to Eretz for the opportunity to get
      out of the camp. Their words, not mine.

      SIRHAN: Thatís encouraging. Do you think they mean it?

      AHMAD: I think so.

      SIRHAN: You hope so. They better not be armed.

      AHMAD: No, Iíve accounted for all the guns. Theyíre just taking in
      a gift for Eretz, in case they meet the Prime Minister.

      SIRHAN: A gift? What kind of gift?

      AHMAD: I donít know. It in a box, about so big (outlines the size of
      a cigar box). They gift wrapped it themselves. I felt it. Itís very

      SIRHAN: Whatís inside?

      AHMAD: They wouldnít say. Too embarrassed, I think.

      SIRHAN: You know, explosives are very light, my brother.

      AHMAD: Shhhhsh. Not so loud. (Glances again at the border guards)
      Theyíll think weíre jihadis plotting something. Look, Hassan and
      Ali are not sick, ok? They want what all young Palestinians want - to
      get out of the camp and earn a decent living. They are grown men, not
      crazy militants, Sirhan. I wouldnít allow it.

      SIRHAN: They are ANGRY grown men, brother. And we both know why.

      AHMED: Yes. Jeddati Mohammed.

      SIRHAN: Our father has poisoned their lives with his stale ideas.

      AHMED: I want to see how angry they still are 3 months from now. A lot
      could change, Sirhan. (Smilies) Can you imagine Fatherís face if he
      learns that his 2 favorites have gone AWOL with the enemy?

      SIRHAN: (Smiles) Well, Kamila will be their shining light. She canít
      wait to embrace them both.

      AHMED: Donít be too harsh on them, Sirhan. This is their first burst
      of freedom, ever.

      SIRHAN: When is your Ďburst of freedomí coming, brother?

      AHMED: Soon, in shaíallah. If Eretz survives!

      SIRHAN: (Speaking more softly now) What about that Ďprotestí you
      mentioned, once they get inside Israel? You said theyíd been talking
      among themselves about doing something. Is tható

      AHMED: Well, thatís what I wanted to tell you. (Both glance over at
      the Lebanese border guards, within shouting range. Ahmed speaks much
      more softly) It doesnít look like itís going to happen now.

      SIRHAN: (Loudly) Thatís great!

      AHMAD: (Still softly) Shhhhsh! I think they got smart and realized it
      was fruitless to try something silly when everyone now is talking
      about Chaim Eretz and
      peace. You never know - but at least theyíre not obsessing or
      praying about it anymore. Not openly, anyhow.

      SIRHAN: Well, Iím relieved, Ahmad. Imagine after theyíre invited
      into my country that they try something - anything - like that!
      Theyíd be thrown into jail in a heartbeat - or back into the camp -
      or shot - and we Israeli Arabs would pay a price - me, Yasmine and
      Kamila - it would reflect on us, their own blood.

      An Israeli border guard approaches them.

      OFIR: Iím sorry, Sirhan, the bosses are getting nervous. Better
      break it up now.

      Sirhan pulls out a few 10 Lebanese pound bills and hands it to the
      border guard.

      SIRHAN: Understood. Weíre just saying goodbye.

      OFIR: Thanks as always. And see you tomorrow?

      SIRHAN: Bright and early. Iíll be here just before dawn. What do you
      need, Ofir?

      OFIR: Another box of Marlboros, please?

      SIRHAN: Youíve got it.

      AHMED: Ma salama, Sirhan. See you around 8am at the camp?

      SIRHAN: Yes, in shaíallah. Give my best to your boys.

      Sirhan enters his nondescript, mud-stained, minivan and heads back to

      END OF SCENE 2

[end of extract]