No, we mostly talked about writing. Why he is (frequently) published, and why I’m not. The general advice, the same as it ever was: persevere. Oh, joy! Just let me adjust the hose between exhaust and window…
As I travelled through Haifa, trying to find the exit to Tel-Aviv while my mind desperately pushed thoughts of perpetual poverty and unfulfilment into a cold dark recess at its rear, I noticed something strange: Haifa itself.
Tel-Aviv-Yafo‘s supposedly one city, but in truth the two are as separate as Tel-Aviv and Beirut. Sure you get a few Arabs shopping in Tel-Aviv’s malls and markets, and barbecuing in Charles Clor park on Fridays. And sure Jews head to the (gentrified) northern Jaffa to shop at the flea market and fetch themselves authentic humus. But for the most part the Jewish city and the Arab city do not mingle.
So it was a shock to see that in Haifa, they do. Many, if not most, street signs are in both Hebrew and Arabic (apparently the country’s second official language… no, really), and the nicest street I saw, full of coffee shops and quirky stores, had a mixed clientele that you simply don’t see in the country’s centre.
Of course, this could just be my eyes seeing things that aren’t there. Though “Red Haifa” is renowned as the most integrated of Israel’s cities, community relations in the country aren’t exactly… ahem… at their warmest. But still, I have to head back some time and explore more deeply. After all, it’s worthwhile seeing whether the impression I got is more than a fleeting feeling…