Sunday, July 11, 2010
The Scout by Steven Plaut
Steven Plautt is 49 years old living in Israel as a professor and a computer person. His world changes when he is diagnosed with Cancer and has to have a kidney removed. While he is is the hospital h he meets the person next to him named Salim Saadiya. Salim Saaadiya is known as the "Scout". Hailing from the Bedouin Tribe of Saadiya from Saudi Arabia, a tribe that was known for looking after Muhammed, Salim was exposed to warfare at an early age. The Saadiya tribe served as scouts for Muhammed's army. They had enclaves in Syria, Israel/Palestine and even inn North Africa.
Salim you could say had a tough life. At age 9 his mother had passed away and his father married another woman. This woman was not to good with the kids and Salim had many confrontations with her. Now Salim's father had a job as a scout or tracker with a German Templar community in the Jordan Valley. He was scout tracker. If someone stole cattle from them he would track the missing cattle. Salim's Uncle helped with the cattle breeding. The father got Salim a job at the colony. Salim's first job was to milk cows. After he stayed there for four years he ended up being a foreman in charge of worker who were older than he was. Many of the workers did not like this. Salim was also sent to errands in Tel Aviv.
The first Arab Jewish war changed things for Salim. His village was taken over by Fauzi Kaukjis forces. Since Salim was working with the Jews he was considered a wanted man. Upon entering his village he captured and imprisoned. They had plans to take him to Syria and execute him. But luckily an ally on the inside helped him escape. Later he was able to return to normal life after the war was over. His first job as a scout involved killing a hyena that was eating the cattle of a Moshav. He killed it. Later on the Israelis would just about force him to work for their police department. His tracking ability became legendary.
The Bedouin have a history of working with the Jews of Israel/Palestine. The Al Heib tribe always had good relations with the Jews of Rosh Pina. They were later inducted inot the Palmach and formed a unit called the PalHeib.They fought valiantly against the Syrians when they fought against the Zionists. Amos Yarkoni, a bedouin helped set up the tracker of Israel.
Around the Middle East the Bedouin are infamous for their tracking ability. They can find a coin buried in a desert three days ago. From a footprint they can tell if you are male, female, injured or well. They can even track on concrete.
Over all good book. One weakness if the author kept getting off track with anecdotes that had nothing to do with the story or Israel's relationship with the Bedouin. Perhaps a more comprehensive book about the bedouin should be written.
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