Thursday, July 08, 2010

A Biblical Scholar's First Impressions of Israel I: Tel Aviv

I have always wanted to travel to Israel, of course. Until recently, I have had neither time nor opportunity to do it, to say nothing of the cost. But this summer, a family friend's bat mitzvah in Tel Aviv gave us the long-awaited opportunity to make the journey. We had ten days and decided to split the stay into three parts. We began, naturally, in Tel Aviv, staying in a so-so apartment, a kind of "work in progress" in Dizengoff St, a slightly scruffy area in the centre of the city, with cats everywhere, but in a convenient location, just a short walk from the shops, the restaurants, the beach.

For the Biblical scholar in Tel Aviv, the pressure is off. No Biblical sites to see, no piles of stones to stare at and wonder over. So it is a chance to enjoy some of the other things the city offers. As well as the previously mentioned bat mitzvah, a real highlight was an evening on the beach watching the footy. You see, everyone in Israel loves their football.  Even the small bars selling falafel have their TV screens showing the World Cup.  Apparently business would be terrible if they did not.  And on the Saturday evening, after a relaxing day at the beach, which had soft sand and some spectacular waves, we settled down in the comfortable seaside bar,  and we drank Goldstar beer (Israel's own, dark lager beer, easy-drinking and quite acceptable), ate hummus and tahini, and watched the game (Ghana v. USA) on the specially erected big screens, as the waves lapped up just behind them, with our bare feet still in the sand.

Tel Aviv, though, is really a fine hub for touring Israel, a great jumping off point for getting to other locations, and of course we did not stay put there the whole time.  I'll comment next time on Jaffa.


Bob MacDonald said...

Lovely - thanks for this brief - I look forward to the rest. My wife and I will be in Israel for the first time in October where the excuse is that our daughter-in-law is dancing (RWB tour). I hope we can find slightly scruffy areas to stay in too.

Robert R. Cargill said...

i am very, very jealous.