Hello from the very rainy Holy Land!
El niño has made it’s way here.
I am at an internet cafe in Tel Aviv right now. Today I went to Jaffa
(Yafo in Hebrew), which is a formerly Arab town. It is now mixed with Arabs and
Jews. It was quite an experience to hear the call to prayer in
Arabic for the Moslem population while looking at some of the Jewish
residents in their kippahs selling Jewish ornamental gifts.
Yesterday I went to the Diaspora Museum to learn again about the
Jewish Diaspora after the Roman expulsion.
Besides the time in Jaffa, I haven’t felt at all that this used to be
Arab. Tomorrow, I will as I am traveling to Gaza for three days. When my
parents’ friend asked where I am going, I looked at the floor and
muttered under my breath “Gaza”. Most Israelis have never been there in a capacity other than as soldiers. They don’t want to venture to one of the mostly densely
populated areas on earth.
Being here in this techno Internet cafe, it’s easy to forget why I originally came
to this place- to learn about the political/socio-economic situation
between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
On Sunday, I will probably go to a dinner at the Embassy in honor of
the Secretary of Commerce’s trade mission. I got in because I told them that I work with hi-tech companies in our office in Santa Clara and I could help encourage
these Israeli firms to come to buy their wares in Santa Clara. Let’s see how
well I can fool them with my inferior knowledge of the Silicon Valley
Yesterday, I was reading by the beach and this older guy came to speak
to me. He spoke in Ladino (the Spanish of the Jews who were thrown out
during the Inquisition) and English to me. Quite a fascinating
conversation- politics, love, life, philosophy etc. Ladino is quite
understandable for a Spanish speaker.
Next week, I will be in Jerusalem and Jordan (Petra, Amman). One of
the Palestinians in the consulate said he could take me to Hebron next
What can I say…. have I learned anything yet? No, not much. Maybe I
am in the wrong place.