A normal weekend in Tel Aviv

After almost 5 months of war, you just have to switch off. A visit to our son in Tel Aviv was a good opportunity to finally experience some normality again.

By Dov Eilon | | Topics: Israel
Finally back in Tel Aviv. Photo: Dov Eilon
Finally back in Tel Aviv. Photo: Dov Eilon

A new week begins again. I’m always amazed at how quickly time flies. We live from weekend to weekend, it feels like we’re moving in place. Do you know that movie where the main character wakes up every morning on the same day and then has to experience everything all over again? Somehow our current situation reminds me of that. Today, a new week begins again, the stories of the fallen soldiers are being told on the radio and we are reminded that there are still 134 hostages in the hands of the Hamas terrorists. And there is also talk about a possible hostage deal, just like last week and the week before that and the week before that. It’s as if time has stood still since October 7th, we’re in a loop from which we can’t find a way out. Week after week, weekend after weekend, one Shabbat after another, day after day.

In order to escape this rut, we decided to finally visit our son in Tel Aviv again. Until now he had always come to us with his wife and their two dogs. Now it was time to change something, to return to normality. I realized that I hadn’t been to Tel Aviv since September 30th. Back then, we spent a lovely day on the beach in Tel Aviv with our three children, exactly a week before October 7th, when everything changed. On October 7th, our normal everyday life came to a standstill. And only now do we seem to be trying to get back to our old selves.

It was nice to go to Tel Aviv again. While we were on the road, my son gave me instructions on which parking lots I should try first. You may remember that a free parking space in Tel Aviv is something very rare. It took us almost 50 minutes to get to Tel Aviv, even though I took the so-called “express lane.” Without it, our journey would have taken at least another half hour. This is also normal. When we finally reached the first parking area on my son’s list, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw an empty spot. We were lucky. And that made me happy, really. Finding a free parking space in Tel Aviv on Friday afternoon gives me an enormous feeling of satisfaction. It’s crazy, I know.

I was happy to have found a parking space. Photo: Dov Eilon

After a short walk, we reached our son’s apartment. He was waiting for us at the entrance with one of the two dogs. We haven’t been to his home in ages. First he showed us the public shelter, which is conveniently located directly opposite in a park. In Tel Aviv, most apartments do not have their own bomb shelter because the houses in the center of the city are old. Only since the 1990s has it been mandatory to build apartments each with their own shelter. There have been countless rocket alerts in Tel Aviv since October 7th. And every time they had to run into the shelter opposite the building, together with two dogs who didn’t like the shrill sound of the sirens at all. Things have finally become quiet.

After lunch we all went for a walk together. It was really strange after not being in Tel Aviv for so long. As we walked through the streets, I told our son that I now understood why he was drawn back to Tel Aviv after a short time in his own apartment in Modiin. The city is alive and has a very special atmosphere. There are small cafes on every corner, the streets are full, there are an enormous number of people walking their dogs. Tel Aviv is considered one of the most dog-friendly cities in the world. And you can feel that. A dog also seems to be a wonderful way to start conversations with other people. Who knows, maybe that’s one of the reasons why there are so many dogs there.

We were on Ben Gurion Boulevard, one of the most beautiful streets in my opinion, with a great vibe. And then we also met David Ben-Gurion and his wife in front of his house.

The statues are relatively new. The pigeons were the main attraction because from a distance they look like they are real. Photo: Dov Eilon

We then continued to the beach where we saw a beautiful sunset. I remembered earlier days when I was in Tel Aviv for the first time with my mother and sister. We spent our first night in a hotel on Nordau Boulevard, right across from the so-called “Gan HaAtzmaut,” Independence Park. I could never have imagined that my son would live in this exact area in the future. But just four years after that first night in Tel Aviv, I moved to Israel for good, and the rest is history.

Sunset in Tel Aviv. Photo: Dov Eilon

We strolled through the streets for a whole three hours. Then it was time to say goodbye. It was a great day and I’m sure it won’t be another five months until our next visit to Tel Aviv. As I drove out of the parking lot, I received a text message telling me how much it cost me to park. A whopping 80 shekels, welcome to Tel Aviv.

After a little more than half an hour we reached our quiet Modiin again. Just as I like the action in Tel Aviv, I love the peace and quiet in Modiin, which was disrupted last night by a demonstration in front of the Justice Minister’s house. Yes, here too they seem to be trying to return to normality, which is a shame. Because the last thing we need is a new internal dispute. Division won’t help us win the war.

I wish you and us a happy new week.

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