Monday, August 27, 2012

Uniquely Israeli moments

If you ever thought portions in the U.S. were oversized (aka 'Supersize me') then you haven't seen portions in Israel. I am not exaggerating when I say the average sandwich can feed three or four. Today, at lunch with my nephews, sister and brother-in-law, I ordered a watermelon and feta salad and was literally served half a watermelon. The six of us couldn't make quick work of it. We've been going since 8:30 in the morning (it's nearly 5 pm here now) so maybe we need all that sustenance. We started the day at the Palmach museum, an interactive history of the first Israeli resistance movement that got its start in the early 40s. The British recruited Jewish volunteers to fight off Nazis who were marching toward the middle east; when the Germans failed, the Brits tried to break up the force, and it went underground, becoming the roots of the modern Israeli Defense Force. It's so interesting to hear the tale of the rise of this nation--essentially, several thousand soldiers were holding off more established forces from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Yemen and Jordan. Gives you a notion of the do-or-die mentality that characterizes so many Israelis. And about the Israeli character, so often described as pushy, money grubbing, arrogant: Yes, we've seen some arrogance, but mostly we've seen warmth, eagerness to help and happiness that we've come to their country, despite trouble brewing with Iran. Kind of like misapprehensions about New Yorkers.

Below, downing fresh mango juice on trendy Shenken street and a mysterious scene from the meat section of Tel Aviv's Carmel market. I have no idea what he is doing: sterilizing the meat? Cooking it? You're guess is as good as mine.

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