Israel was all about family and friends. Between Boaz’s 8 uncles and aunts and my uncle and extended family, ‘travelling’ took the backseat as we drove around the country feasting on the hospitality of our nearest and dearest. (Sorry to all those family members who didn’t make the blog, the photographer had too much sun and didn’t take enough photos!!)
My very talented cousin, Moran, is on the right!
Most of our time was spent in Tel Aviv, enjoying the beach, cafes, bars, music, markets and the amazing food. Making sure to visit our trusted favourite cafes as well as discovering delicious new ones. The city was alive, gearing up for summer and around every corner there was a piano set up so that anyone who passed by could sit down and play. LOVE the impromptu performances by some very talented performers… only in Tel Aviv in summer where it is guaranteed not to rain for at least 4 months!!
We did manage to have some adventures around the country… Continuing the family roots theme that began in Morocco, we joined Ann and Yehudah in Jerusalem where Yehudah showed us some of the places where he grew up (including Mea Shearim – see the sign below!) and where he served during the 1967 war. We also managed to squeeze in a visit to Machane Yehudah (the food market) to sample some of the mouth-watering treats!
We spent a beautiful night in a lush hotel in Rosh Pina (thanks aunty Suzie-Sara!) that had an amazing vegetarian buffet and in the lobby, a wide range of fresh herbs grown on the property to make tea with anytime.
One of the highlights of our time in Israel was seeing one of my favourite Israeli musicians, Idan Reichel, perform at a huge outdoor amphitheatre set at the base of Massada. He hadn’t performed in Israel in a while, the audience were all belting out the words to his emotionally provocative songs. The atmosphere was electric. It was a very special night.
Heading even further down south into the desert, we spent a night at Kibbutz Sde Boker to visit some old friends (can’t believe it has been 15 years!!). I love going back there, a place where there is just soo much open space. Time slows down, the big sky opens up and the landscape stretches out for kilometers all around in the surrounding desert.
It is almost impossible to be in Israel and not be consumed by the politics that permeate the country. Following the tent protests last summer which were mainly about the cost of living (housing prices) and also social justice issues, we joined the first of this summer’s protests that continued on that theme. It is always heartwarming to see first hand that there are people who care deeply about human rights issues and are doing something about it, especially because as much as I love visiting Israel, I also feel conflicted due to the terrible injustices that also happen here. What I do strongly believe is that the vast majority of people want to live a peaceful life where they can go to work, send their kids to school and enjoy their family and friends. I hope that in this unique part of the world that will be the reality here too one day for everyone.
Some of the fun, gruesome and quirky graffiti around town…