Fifty with white hair, Oded came from Egypt for Israel.
It arrived shortly after the founding of the Zionist nation. It helped, in fact, to defend it from the total enemy encirclement, in the Six Day War, and to consolidate it from kibbutz pioneers.
Dissatisfied, always a challenger, this Jew mizhraim irascible speeds up to scare pedestrians crossing the road outside the traffic lights. It also pisses us off with frequent sarcastic tirades about those it considers the country's rotten people.
"Me for me, we ran with them all!" roars when he finds one bunch of ultra-Orthodox Jews protesting against who knows what. “Bunch of privileged people who do nothing and are supported by everyone else”. Or he expresses his obvious disdain for President Benjamin Netanyahu, who accuses him of a thousand and one rascals.
When the salad arrives at the table we share, we are amazed at the tiny pieces in which the vegetables come. Oded rejoices: “I know that you in Iberia make them very well with the same ingredients as us. But no one cuts them as small as in Israel and Lebanon! Now they grind them mechanically, but before that, the restaurants only had women taking care of that.”
Conversation starts, Oded begins to despair. The light had long since ended. He wanted his free time undisguisedly.
Delivered to the Frantic Night of Tel Aviv
Jaim shows up late. It ends, immediately, with the anguish of the compatriot who sends us away as soon as possible. "Ready. Here is your host for the night. He knows everything and something else. Have fun!"
The newcomer fulfills his promise. Regular customer, he gets us into his favorite nightclubs at a glance and lets us investigate the different atmospheres.
Later, we move to a “disk” phase of the output. We explore several of these sophisticated venues, equipped with strategically located and popular drink stalls where thousands of ecstatic patrons refill their alcohol with patient eagerness.
There is almost no escaping it: most young couples in Tel Aviv, ready to dance and have fun until exhaustion, meet in this fascinating techno-trance interaction. The most stable and lasting relationships end in marriages celebrated in neighboring Jaffa.
The Relationship of Secular Jaffa with the Younger Good of Tel Aviv
Jaffa, in turn, lives in de facto union with Tel Aviv.
During the nearly 4.000 years that Tel Aviv was nothing more than Mediterranean dunes, Jaffa remained one of the main ports of the Mediterranean.
It was Phoenician, Jewish, Roman, Arab frequent target of Cruzadas. After Ottoman, surrounded and taken by Napoleon, again Ottoman, British and disputed land.
Until the Jews intensified their Zionist efforts and, after a long period of conflict and diplomatic polemics, managed to incorporate it first into Israel, then in Tel Aviv municipality.
Over time, the Muslim population of Jaffa dwindled substantially, just 16.000 inhabitants against 30.000 Jews. Despite the fact that, from 1990 onwards, several Islamic monuments have been recovered, the Arabs continue to accuse the Israeli authorities of Judaizing the old city.
Certain sections of Jaffa remain degraded and problematic. Others have been restored and embellished. They gave way to theatres, restaurants, souvenir shops, bars, cafes and artists' studios lost in alleys and winding staircases that, at intervals, overlook the sea and the small port, both at the foot of the pastel houses.
The Biblical and Historical Nooks of Jaffa
The day after the Tel Aviv night raid, Oded leads us to the most convenient entrance to this domain.
Departing from the Clock Tower in New Jaffa, we enter a kind of open-air bazaar, occupied by antique shops and assorted Arab shops and, finally, by the local flea market.
We cross the HaPisgah gardens and advance to the front of the monastery of St. Peter, close to the house of Simon the Leather Tanner, where, according to the Bible, the apostle lodged after having resurrected Tabitha.
A colorful figure of Napoleon marks the monastery, later transformed into a Christian hostel, as a historical site. We noticed the warning. And in Jaim, who, already recovered from the evening, explains to a group of foreigners the general's overwhelming visit to those places and many other encyclopedic curiosities or not so much.
The guide is in the middle of a long dissertation. Unable to interrupt, he just waved and winked at us. We went down to the oldest section of Jaffa.
We pass street painters, countless stray brown cats and tourists who follow itineraries marked on their maps.
In Matchmaker Mode Through the Alleys and Alleys of Jaffa
But it's the weekend. Love and commitment took over that place. The vision that assaults us the most is that of grooms, brides and other parties involved in weddings starring in pompous photographic productions.
We come across a couple kissing in front of a millenary wall and looking at two telephoto lenses with which a pair of photographers frame them from the top of a wall. We also pass friends and family jumping as high as they can on either side of a stunning Jewish bride.
The photogenic streets are disputed by different pre-wedding sessions. Another bride has to abandon the pose that is asked of her, over and over again, because of the intrusion of visitors and despair.
When they finally seem to have the alley to themselves, we're the ones who step into the picture. Without us noticing it immediately, in the same image, we capture it. And, in the background, to another betrothed couple further away.
Two friends in tight, airy pink and purple dresses notice and call attention to her lush beauty: “What about us? It also took us hours to get ready.
We're amazing aren't we?” they ask without embarrassment, in a very good mood, under a sign that refers to the studio "aloofs”, subsidiary of a highly regarded homonymous doctor, Ph.D. in Behavioral Sciences.
From this last narrow alley, with the help of handcrafted signs, we take a zigzag descent to the seafront that we find at the bottom of a covered staircase.
End of the Day on Jaffa's Marginal Elegante
Despite a surprising coastal fog, we glimpse the cement and stone jetty. And, out to sea, a Israeli flag flying erected on rocks that exhibit the jurisdiction of the Star of David over those waters.
After numerous ups and downs, we needed to rest. Bars and restaurants abounded along the dock. We sat on a terrace. We appreciate its rustic yet refined atmosphere.
A huge roar inside the decked warehouse that served the tables outside catches our attention. We peek through the half-open door and unravel a drunken matchmaking hubbub still in incubation.
The atmosphere could hardly be compared to that of the clubs from the night before, but we believe that it didn't take long to get there.
The inhabitants of Tel Aviv can even be content with the inevitable maturation.
In Jaffa, like everywhere else, his debut at marital nights is supposed to honor the best singles binges.