32: King of the Hill

From the top of Tell El-Ful, an abandoned hilltop in East Jerusalem, you can see all the way from Amman to Tel Aviv, from Jerusalem to Ramallah. And you can also travel back and forth in time.

Imagine an abandoned White House, covered with graffiti, open to the winds, full of trash, broken bottles and condom wrappers. Now go a step further and picture it against the background of the most beautiful Middle Eastern panorama you can conjure up. Ever since we learned about the existence of a deserted Hashemite palace perched atop the mound, we’ve been on a mission to uncover its past. Like many other tells in the region it has a biblical past (perhaps), an archeological past (probably) and a historical one (most definitely). But more than almost anywhere else, this litter-strewn hill is a metaphor for life in these parts: It has seen tears and blood, dreams and hopes. It has been home to kings and shepherds, soldiers and tribesmen. And it has brought together lovers and enemies; Arabs and Jews; Jordanians, Israelis and Palestinians.

The original music in this episode was composed and performed by Ari Wenig, with help from Yochai Maital. The final song, “Wen Ya Galub,” is by Dudu Tassa and the Kuwaitis.

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