A few days ago, I accidentally sent my Tel Aviv September newsletter a second time to my subscribers. Wow, I was so pissed off. Especially at myself, because I obviously triggered the dispatch myself. I just can’t get on with the handling of my new newsletter tool. Nor with the fact that I’m back in Germany. If there’s such a thing as post-Israel syndrome, then I’m suffering from it. I’ve been back for three weeks, but I still haven’t arrived. And although Hamburg welcomes me with mild temperatures and sunshine, I’m irritable and find a lot of things really stupid.
What exactly is it that makes me love Israel, and Tel Aviv in particular, so much? According to an analysis by the British ECONOMIST, Tel Aviv is now the most expensive city in the world. A gin tonic can cost 30€. The standard of the flats is on the level of the Eastern Bloc – even in good neighbourhoods: Cables hang from the ceiling, boilers drip, hallway windows are smashed. And the rent for a two-room flat in a comparable location to mine, which by the way is no bargain either, costs more than twice as much. And then this constant noise. Horrible! So where does this longing come from?
Obviously, I resonate with the life energy of the Israelis, which is life-affirming despite the permanent threat. Because in every shopping mall, in every museum and at every train station there are security guards scanning your bag and always bringing you back down to earth: the omnipresence of terror. And yet Israelis live their lives passionately, with a lot of heart and full of devotion. And invite strangers like me into their Inner Circle for the Jewish New Year.
I remember a moment when I moved to Hamburg in 1999. I was working at an advertising film production company and we were standing around the counter together in the morning having coffee. A colleague threw a party and most of the staff was invited. I wasn’t. I found that very heartless. Maybe that’s what Israel makes me feel: I am welcome with all my heart.