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Israel diary - 8

7 August 2001
Helen lives in Rehovet just under an hour south of Tel Aviv. It's the home of the Weizmann institute, which was set up in honour of the first Israeli prime minister. It's been set up as a centre of excellence for science in Israel. It's a very impressive site, with bizarrely arranged buildings but with some striking views. There's a few bits and pieces for tourists scattered around the park including a science park with lots of toys to play with. Tip: The best way to see the stuff without paying the extortionate entrance few is to go and have something to eat in the cafe around the back. It overlooks the park, so you have all of the advantages - and still a few sheks left for lunch!

Helen and her companion, Efraim are great people. They're incredibly friendly, and vegetarian, you could say almost fruitarian. We were served the most outstanding array of the fruity stuff whilst we were there - wonderful! We did however have a couple of problems. Well actually, just one problem; me, I got us lost. We ended up walking an extra 1/2 mile or so - which is a big deal with around 20 kilos on your back (I walked straight past her house - I thought that it was no. 51, when it should of been 11 - doh!). Still, Hélène made up for it by forgetting her glasses when we left, so I tramped back to get them. So I reckon that we're about even now!

9 August 2001
South ever south. We're heading steadily down the country, while doing our best to avoid the 'Palagan'. I won't pretend that everything is lovely here, it's not. However, by being sensible, avoiding the troubled areas the risk is really very small. We can see the international news here and so realise just how the situation looks from the outside. The thing is that the vast majority of the incidents are located in specific geographic locations in the country: West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, ... Basically areas where there are Palestinian and Jewish settlements in close proximity to each other. These I have no intention of going anywhere near. The route for the trip south is as far away from these, and other heavily populated areas as it's possible to get! Enough already of the scary stuff, we're staying in Avigdor at the mo' ("moment" pour les personnes qui parlent Francais, parce que je connais que il y a plus de personnes qui parlent Francais qui lir le site que Anglais - peut etre! Bonjour et bisous!) Hélène dit que - je n'ai corrige que la premiere partie de la phrase! with Marianne. Marianne spent a great deal of her formative life in Manchester (but successfully avoided gaining the rather distinctive twang), before moving out to Israel. She now lives within spitting distance of her daughter in the moshav. A moshav is similar to a kibbutz, in that it's similar to a village. The major difference is that there isn't the lack of ownership and complete sharing like there is in a kibbutz. Each family in a moshav has their own house and lives their lives independently and as they please.

We watched Shabbat arrive from the beach. This was a most bizarre experience, as we shared this moment with hundreds of other families all intent on catching the last rays of the sun, before continuing their moonlit bathing. Well, as they say, "if you can't beat them, join them". Today, we went to the swimming pool to top up our tans - at the moment there's a bit of a running competition as to who's the brownest! Then we played with the kittens.

Tomorrow, we continue to head down the country, as far as Be'ersheva to the family of David and Zelda. Be'ersheva is a town on the edge of the desert, with, I understand lots of interesting things to see and do - I'll let you know! I'll be happy as long as it's less humid than here!

The next installment.


Created by Dan Leigh 11 Aug 2001