Tel Aviv Diary August 15, 2003 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - from August 15, 2003 Karen Alkalay-Gut

Sunday morning we go up north for a few days - just so's you don't get worried. yes - up north where the hisbullah have been partying.

And now to Tel Aviv, where the next explosion awaits us

August 16, 2003

Thought nobody's be eating Hummous on Saturday. People eat hummous during the week, we said, and then on Shabbat they eat real food. We even met Sharon on the way and he thought hummous places wouldn't even bother to open on Shabbat. But the one we went to, on Pincas and Bograshov, was crowded. Now hummous places have always been popular - a bowl of hummous with pita may be one of the better meals in israel - and it is both native to the jews of arab origin and the arabs as well. But since the recession hummous meals is becoming even more popular than ever. hummous, techina, mesabcha - followed perhaps by watermelon and/or mint tea or coffee with cardamon - food you can't go wrong with.

And they are very informal - plastic chairs, come as you are, a dog or two, lots of eye contact and easy conversation. And pretty cheap too - the three of us left a 100 shekel there - what is that $22?

If I didn't have to work most of the time i'd spend hours in cafes and hummous restaurants.

Now I don't want to disappoint you but i'm not going to be around for a few days. I think that - considering the level of my political commentary this summer - you will not find my absence leaves a gap in your knowledge of the middle east. but i hope to be back by the weekend with renewed vision and perspective. And who knows - maybe by the time i get back things will have improved, although knowing the middle east, i somehow doubt it.

i mean we're going around accusing the palestinians of totally ignoring the road map - just because they've been saying that a few million palestinians in lebanon should move back to israel.

both of us, in other words, have gotten drunk on ceasefire and we're having visions.

And those chimeras - so typical of the summer heat - always get us into trouble.

Oh, come on, people change, says George when i say things like that. The Palestinians today are not the Arabs of the Peel Report. I don't know - we all seem to be improve for a while - but look at the Jews - we're still indistinguishable from the Hebrews in the Bible. A little wise, a little kind, a little crazy, a little forgetful, a little jealous...

Oh, all right, I'll try to write again before we take off. After all I haven't been on a trip in Israel since the kids were small, and I'll probably return a different person.

Dafna caught an old ionterview with me on the radio the other day and was surprised to hear the description of me as 'a born orphan.' Now that was what Ben Zion Tomer used to call me - unconnected to any culture, unclaimed by any people. We used to talk of this often - that he was a child of the shadows (as his famous play was called) but he was connected by virtue of the fact that he was one of the children of tehran, who had literally walked to israel from the holocaust.

For him, like for me, travelling, touring, has always been something of a trauma. what if i go away and home disappears?

back to hummous

it turns out there are major food critics who specialize in hummous in tel aviv - humusologists - they have special advice about not eating hummous after one in the afternoon (because otherwise it congeals in your stomach) and making sure the room is well-aired. There is even a map of tel aviv hummous places in yesterday's Ha'ir - with reviews of most of them. so i guess it really is in.

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