Growing up and living in Jewish towns in Israel (Haifa, Ra’anana, Tel Aviv, Givatayim and now Bat Yam), my Yom Kippurs were always of the quiet kind. Silent streets, clean air and kids riding bikes.
But on this Kippur, I ventured into Jaffa and saw another world. Maybe the real world?
It was noisy as hell (no pun intended). Cars were speeding, music was blasting, shops were open, families were picnicking on the street and smoking nargilas. At times, it almost seemed like there was a rebellious air to the scene.
As I passed the locals on my bike, I couldn’t help but feel like an intruder. I pedaled down the narrow streets and onto Jerusalem Avenue, one of the main drags, and looked into their faces, imagining to myself what I thought they might have been saying: “The Zionists are here now. Before it was the Brits, and before the Turks. They all thought they would be here forever.”
Of course, that could have been my imagination working overtime.
I pedalled on to my friend’s rooftop house in Jaffa, where we began our Kippur feast of fish and shrimp tacos, enjoying the Arab music blasting from the neighbor across the road.
A few days ago I came across a video on Facebook that seemed to somehow capture what I was feeling during that bike ride.
So many peoples, warlords, kings and tyrants have been through this land. All of them thought they would be here forever.
The brilliant video, made by Nina Paley, is one you should see. A detailed explanation about her art can be read on her personal blog.