Courtesy of Jamai Aruri

No direct road leads from the Mount of Olives to Bethlehem, but even with a few detours, the drive should take about 15 minutes. Yet Moein Kanaan, a geneticist at the University of Bethlehem, leaves his home on the Western slope of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem by 5:30 in the morning. He usually gets to his lab at Bethlehem University by 9:00.

It takes Kanaan such a long time because, like 8 million other people in Israel and the Palestinian territories, he lives under constant threat of violence. Bethlehem lies over the 1967 border, and Kanaan must pass through as many as half a dozen roadblocks every morning. He usually doesn't have any trouble getting through them, but the delays can be enormous as Israeli soldiers search cars they consider suspicious. The soldiers are looking for bombs and for members of terrorist organizations, not...

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