The search for Yossi Kushner began when his Section Head, Omri, called Ori Zohar into his office. The man’s name was not really Omri, but all of the Section Heads were called after kings of Judah and Israel. Real names were grudgingly used, even in informal conversation.
“Look Zohar,” Omri began, running his brown hand over his gleaming bald head. His little gray eyes never moved a great deal. They were set like two immobile stones in the heart of his face. “We have agents who speak every language since Babel: Dutch, Arabic, German, Persian, French, English, but we’re having the devil’s own time finding someone with experience who speaks Yiddish…”
Ori Zohar then knew why Omri had called him into the office, to find little Yossi Kushner. He realized this even before the Kushner file was handed to him across Omri’s desk, along with a new identity card, assorted papers and documents, an outline of a Zohar’s newly minted identity. His knowledge of Yiddish had placed him to the fore, despite the obvious reservations his superiors had regarding his abilities.
The Section generated a blizzard of paperwork, and once, when plowing through reports, Zohar found a memo from his confidential personnel file between two non-related documents. It had been placed there purposefully, either by a friend to warn Zohar that the ceiling of his intelligence career was even lower than he presumed, or by an enemy, to rattle his cage.
The memo outlined his past history: the early death of both his secular parents, his upbringing by his “zealously” religious grandfather, his failure to truly fit in at the kibbutz in the Jezreel Valley where he had spent much of his teen years. His personality was deemed “volatile and unpredictable,” and he was pronounced too “isolationist in his outlook” to make an effective field agent. Therefore his overall qualities and loyalties were “suspect” and it was recommended he not receive high profile assignments.
But that had changed now, Zohar contemplated with some measure of glib satisfaction. His Yiddish had propelled him up several rungs of the chain of bureaucratic Being. They were sending him to find Yossi Kushner.
So that night Zohar threw his razor in the trash can, and his beard and side-locks began to grow back with such rapidity it was as if he had never shaved them.