The last two days of my travels were spent in Tel Aviv, the closest major city to Ben Gurion airport. Tel Aviv is really a beach city with great quality of life for its inhabitants. It’s filled with little coffee shops, friendly and outgoing people and absolutely wonderful falafel and shoarma places.
Tel Aviv. Beach city.
Tel Aviv. Town hall. The duck was placed there as a sign of protest against Tel Aviv’s architectural style.
Tel Aviv’ians are some of the most moderate Israelis around. Many of them are mostly interested in establishing good quality of life for their family and themselves. Unfortunately, in a conflict this deep in society, pain transcends everywhere.
An Israeli friend made me aware of this sign, which states in Hebrew “Never stop dancing”. It’s placed in front of what used to be the Dolphin disco, a beach-side place very popular with the Tel Aviv youth. June 1st, 2001, a suicide bomer walked into it, carrying on him a small explosive device filled with screws and nails to make it a highly lethal tool.
While it was never fully clear who was behind the bombing, Israel accused Jamal Mansour, a Hamas political leader who originated from Nablus. He was killed on July 31st of that same year when an IDF helicopter fired on the building of his research organization.
It’s clear that the conflict brings much grief on both parts of the population. While there are ways to deal with territorial conflicts, the narrative on both ends in Israel has become so charged that it’s almost impossible to navigate the requirements on both sides and get to a solution.
In Tel Aviv, I actually got shouted at for the first time in many years, by a couple of Americans on so-called “birtright” trips. Essentially these are trips in which foreign Jews are invited to visit their ancestrial homeland, and see whether they wish to take up their birthright to live in Israel.
While I’ll greatly miss the many fantastic Israelis and Palestinians I’ve met during my stay in the country, I will not miss the opinion that precludes in some areas in which Genesis 13:15 is given more importance than a UN resolution or the human bond of an agreement.