Columns - 2018

    Tapping on the Brex

    JERUSALEM, ISRAEL -- An earthshaking announcement has ensured that the Middle East will never look the same again.

    After years, nay millennia, of intercultural conflict causing countless casualties and anathematic alliteration, the Land of Israel has decided: "no more."

    Not the State of Israel. Not the Palestinians. Not the Christians, Muslims, or Jews. Not the egalitarians, non-egalitarians, or Rotarians. The land itself.

    After looking up helplessly at scores of nations fighting over their long-unsettled scores, the actual soil that comprises the Holy Land came to a consensus that it wants out. If a Middle East conflict continues, it will be without the dirt that's always lurked underfoot.

    Except for certain biblical instances where the land opened up and swallowed people, for centuries the land has been constrained to simply lying there and watching. The mountains and valleys, the deserts and beaches, had to silently observe with no say about what happened on its own turf. No say, that is, until the idea of simply leaving recently started as an underground movement.

    The exact logistics of this Brexodus haven't yet been revealed. Early indications were that it would coincide with Passover, the commemoration of the Israelites' famed pre-enactment of the exodus from Egypt in Cecil B. DeMille's epic film, "The Ten Commandments."

    This was reportedly ruled out, however, partially because of the peak of tourists for Passover as well as for Easter. More to the point, aligning with one or two religions' holidays might seem biased toward that particular people, and that sort of thing is how this mess keeps getting stirred up in the first place.

    "One day we're going to wake up and the entire land of Israel will be floating somewhere in the eastern Mediterranean," said one source who was not authorized to speak on behalf of the ground he was standing on.

    "Hamas has always wanted to drive Israel into the sea," said another source. "Maybe they just needed to be more specific."

    This recent groundswell begs several questions. For example, exactly what borders will define the land that breaks away? The 1948 U.N. partition borders? The borders after the 1967 War? The current borders? What about Gaza, the West Bank, the Sinai peninsula, or even the Golan Heights? All requests for clarification from the newly formed Department for Departing from the Middle East were stonewalled.

    Equally uncertain at this time is what continent will become home to the Holy Land after this continental divide. The current uncertainty will likely result in less confusion than today. After all, depending on who one asks, Israel is in Europe, Asia, or Africa.

    Of theological interest are the geographic implications on religious practice. For example, depending on where the Land of Israel lands, will Jews still face east when they pray?

    Environmentalists are concerned about various ramifications of this move. Tidal shifts and altered weather patterns notwithstanding, what happens to the Dead Sea? Will all that salt spill into the sea? Scientists have no definitive answers yet, though numerous theories have been floated.

    Reactions to the news have been mixed throughout the region. Unofficials in Gaza were concerned that if the Land of Israel were to simply pick up and move away they'd have to put in a lot of extra work to update their underground tunnels. Airlines worry about the changes in flight paths such a move would require. Iranian sources continued to deny they have nuclear weapons aimed at Israel, while complaining that this move would necessitate retargeting them.

    Most significantly, skeptics question whether the move will make any difference. After all, the same people and historic sites will be present after the move. Or is there a plan for that, too?

    At this time, it's unclear where the Land of Israel will end up, much like the Jewish people whose residency goes back thousands of years and yet have wandered much of the world all the while. While the long term is unclear, it's apparent that initially the Land of Israel is planning to take a nice Mediterranean cruise.

    Doug Brook has moved mountains in this column for over twenty years, but never like this. To read past columns, visit For exclusive online content, like

    Copyright Doug Brook. All rights reserved.