The English Teacher

The English Teacher by Yiftach Reicher Atir Read Free Book Online

Book: The English Teacher by Yiftach Reicher Atir Read Free Book Online
Authors: Yiftach Reicher Atir
give in entrance exams. That isn’t what we’re looking for,and you know that as well as I do. No one volunteers to go through what a solitary operative goes through only because he’s a Zionist. In this country there are millions of Zionists, many among them are multilingual, but someone who’s prepared to volunteer is exceptional. There’s something special in him besides the ability to assume another persona and undertake operations. He needs us. That’s the point. He needs us the way we need him. Sometimes he doesn’t even know he’s looking for us, and how well suited he is to us. Such people have difficulty identifying what it is they’re looking for, they only know there’s another reality that they can belong to, that it’s possible to go to distant places and do what’s forbidden to others, things you only dream about. There’s something intoxicating in our work; suddenly it’s permissible to lie, you can put on an act, and everything is sanctioned by the state. The operative is licensed to commit crimes. He steals, sometimes he even kills, and instead of going to prison he gets a commendation.
    â€œAnd something else. Many of them aren’t content with their lives, and they’re ready for a change, and this is what happened with Rachel. We diverted her from a path that was leading her nowhere, and gave her a new world. She trusted us, trusted the respect that we felt for her, the faith we invested in her, and I daresay she saw in us an extended family. From her point of view she was an only child, as in the family she left behind. And for this reason she had a terrible crisis when it all came to an end and she was cut off all at once. In hindsight, I realize she was really just a child and we let her play some very dangerous games. We did something that wasn’t right, Joe, we didn’t succeed in rehabilitating her after she came back from there, and something in her life was fucked up. This is what we need to clarify.”
    â€œYou’re exaggerating,” said Joe, and Ehud felt rebuked when he heard what was to follow: “You’re giving me a lecture on operativesas if I hadn’t been there when you still knew almost nothing about what goes on inside the Mossad.”
    â€œI feel this is important, to start from the beginning. To understand from where—”
    But Joe interrupted him: “Okay, okay, I agree it’s necessary to go back and retrace her steps.” He chewed his food slowly. His hand trembled and he tried to control it. “But it seems to me you’re taking this too personally. As if you’re still the case officer and she’s your operative. What happened to her after she left is not your problem.” Ehud listened and didn’t dare tell him how he felt. “The secrets that she has tucked away inside her are the problem.” Joe’s face was grim, and despite the years that had passed they both knew who was in charge. “You heard them in the Office just as I did. This can’t be allowed to happen. These secrets, which even we are not privy to, must not be allowed to fall into their hands.”
    â€œBut—” Ehud began, and wanted to say that for him it was all about Rachel, but Joe didn’t let him interrupt.
    â€œWe need to find her and bring her back before there’s any damage. This isn’t the time to indulge in a guilt trip, and we won’t win any bonus points if we admit that she meant the world to us all the time she was with us and afterwards we forgot her.”
    A waitress in black passed between the tables and asked if they were enjoying their meal. Her jeans were too tight, her T-shirt too short to cover a white and endearing midriff. Ehud’s eyes wandered in that direction, and she noticed and pulled the hem of the T-shirt down with a bashful hand. “She’s younger than my son,” said Ehud, blushing, when he realized

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