HOW I GOT THE SHOT: Sabra is the Hebrew name given to a native-born Israeli Jew and also the prickly pear cactus, which grows abundantly throughout Israel, although, ironically, it is not a native species. The dual meaning of the term is meant to imply that Israelis, like their flowering namesake, feature a thorny and abrasive exterior that conceals a sweeter, gentler interior. Whether true or not about our native population, this photograph reveals the contrasting personality traits of the Sabra plant by juxtaposing the "softer" flowering side against the "harder" thorny spines. It would be impossible, I think, to depict in a photograph the plant's inner sweetness, so portraying it as it flowers is the best approximation. Over the years, I have become addicted to using back light – light which shines from the rear of the subject toward the camera – because of how beautifully it enhances the color and texture of flower petals. I brought this image home following a mid-August hike last summer near Beit Shemesh. I was very surprised to find anything flowering in the parched, brown hills amid the summer heat, but cactus thrives in the desert as well as the country's greener areas under some very difficult conditions. Not unlike Israelis, whether born on native soil or not.