Chess board
A 'hayal' moves across the board. Photo by Yuval Tebol
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Perhaps because olive-uniformed, rifle-toting young men and women are such a common sight in the Holy Land, many tourists who know only a few words in Hebrew quickly pick up that hayalim (pron. kha-ya-LEEM) are soldiers. But what they may not know is that hayalim are also children’s play. You know those pieces in board games like Trouble and Sorry! that each player moves around the board? You might not have thought of each color as signifying a separate army and each piece as representing a soldier of that army, but that is precisely the concept implicit in the Hebrew word for those pieces, which Israeli kids call “hayalim.”