Our Own Private Germany

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, a group of squatters from East and West set out to build their own unified Germany. And, despite endless parties, questionable hygiene, and neo-Nazi turf wars, they pulled it off.

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Draw a straight line between Tel Aviv and Hebron, it's 68.5 kilometres long

That’s about the same as the distance between Berlin and Templin, or London and Brighton, or halfway from Manhattan to the Hamptons. Getting to Hebron from Tel Aviv by public transport takes about two hours via two stops, Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and costs roughly 40 shekels, or 8 Euros. No passport controls are involved. You use the same currency and the same mobile operators.

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This is Youssef

His mother is deaf and a terrific cook. His father smuggles alcohol into Hebron and fills the backyard with things he finds in the street, with the vague idea of selling them at some point. Mostly they get stolen. 

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The first thing I noticed when I arrived at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport on Wednesday were the balloons

Everyone waiting at the arrivals gate seemed to have them. They were attached to prams and backpacks, tied around toddlers’ arms, and clustering on the ceiling. The usual atmosphere at airport arrival gates is hurried, impersonal, a sense of people very impatient to get away. At Ben Gurion, the arrivals gate felt like a big family gathering, as if every single person here had come to pick up much-loved relative who’d come to Israel for a wedding.

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