On Good Friday, which is unnoticed in Tel Aviv, I spend the day with Nathan, who has been away for two weeks. We meet at the Habima and walk slowly along Rothschild, the the most civilised street in the city, exchanging stories. We have much to tell each other.
We wait thirty minutes for a table at Rothschild 12, where he’s never been. Artfully scruffy, decidedly cool, always busy, it’s a place where you feel like something is happening. It is the middle of Pesach and I crave bread. I’ve been oddly prim about not eating it this week. I have no religious feelings, yet I’ve kept on with matzohs, their tiring, dull, crunch, not even a croissant. Even I find this odd. In London I wouldn’t think twice about eating bread. Nathan goes to synagogue every Friday night and Saturday morning, he never eats pork or shellfish. Still, he has a burger in a bun and I have the Niçoise salad, avoiding the croutons. It reminds me, somehow, of Portnoy’s Complaint. Doesn’t Portnoy’s behaviour change when he’s in Israel? He’s no longer able to do the things he’s always done?
We continue through Neve Tzedek, then back along the boardwalk. There were a lot of Muslims in the park around Manta Ray. They were dressed differently from Jewish Israelis, the womens’ headscarves stand out. Nathan is reminded of Frankfurt. He thinks there are too many Muslims in Germany. I try not to say anything, least said, soonest mended, but I don’t like it, his anti-Muslim sentiment. It’s the only thing we disagree on, really.
Walking northwards, I notice a couple on a third floor balcony of the Royal Beach having sex. We watch the distant, bobbing figures for a while.
They’ve had more sex in the last five minutes, I say, than I’ve had in the last five months.
Nearly six, he corrects me, helpfully. I wave at the couple, but they’re too occupied to wave back, and we move on.
We hug at the odd sculpture of a monkey on a giant cocoa pod, it’s where I turn inland, two blocks to home, but I go for a glass of rosé with ice at the Olive Korner first, and watch handsome, shirtless joggers run along Bograshov. I check my Twitter, load some Instagram, then head back to another matzoh brei and a film.
Today’s word: chootz – outside – חוץ