I’ve been visiting Tel Aviv for work since 2007 [confusion.cc], and despite the assertion in that first post that my wife would join me, my family has never been. So, in late May when my boss asked me to go again for work I decided to take the family. It was a bit last minute, but we were trying to decide what, if any, travel to do in the June school holidays. After more than two years of not traveling everyone in my family was itching to get out of Singapore. We travel a lot, Singapore is such a small place that you have to show your passport to go more then 20 kilometers in any direction from 0ur house. The last travel we did was in March 2020, we were two days in Bali [confusion.cc] during the spring school holidays when Singapore decided to shut the border so we had to rush back in the madness of early COVID.
So everyone was eager to get out and see some things, eat some different food, breath some different air. Israel has amazing beaches so I booked a place on the beach in southern Tel Aviv, not too far north of Jaffa. Expensive at that height of the summer, a side effect of the amazing Mediterranean beaches, and I didn’t even realize we book the week of Pride, so their is also that. I would have been an experience to watch the parade from our balcony, but for the first time ever the parade was not along the boardwalk. Any other year we would have been in an amazing space to watch the parade but this year they moved it due to construction or something. Oh well. We did try to get to the parade but the public transport was crazy and we were late so we eventually gave up.
Anyway, we didn’t go to see those sights. We hit key required first time in the Holy Land sights. We spent a day in Jerusalem, seeing the old city; the Western Wall and Church of the Holy Sepelchre, shopping in the markets of old Jerusalem. We even made the trip across town to Yad Veshem.
I have to say, Yad Veshem was not as interesting experience as I thought it would be. I think the impact of the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC was much deeper, as a non-Jew I found it much more moving. Yad Veshem came across as too sterile a history lesson, no the personal story that the Holocaust Museum felt like. Also, they would not let my younger daughter go to the museum, they don’t allow kids under 10 to enter, which I must have missed when I booked the tickets. She was 1 month short of her tenth birthday. They wouldn’t budge, so she and my wife had to sit out while my older daughter and I went through the main exhibit. So, maybe I was just not in the mood, I was a bit pissed, both my daughters have been to Anne Frank House, and I don’t see why this sort of history should be off limits to people of any age when accompanied by a parent. This is history, they may not comprehend it but history, good or bad, is not some Hollywood movie that should be hidden behind age restrictions and ratings.
We did the required dip in the dead sea. Mud bath that bobbing up and down for a while then getting the hell out of the heat. It was 35°C in the shade. We opted not to go to Masada where the forecast high was close to 50°C.
So we spent most of the rest of the week swimming in the ocean. My kids have been to the ocean in Bali and in Phuket before but the sand and surf in Israel is on another level, closer to Surfers Paradise in Australia —another place they have been but they were 4 years old and 6 months old so they don’t really remember, (mental note to self time to go back). The beach in Singapore is not worth visiting for swimming, if there were ever great beaches in Singapore they were sacrificed to the gods of commerce in the name of progress long ago. The sand is imported from Indonesia and Malaysia and is corse and dirty due to the flotilla of commercial shipping vessels constantly mored off the coast of Singapore. East Coast park is good for a BBQ or a bike ride but the beach is not something to write home about. A pity, we live less than 2 kilometers from a beach, in the tropics, but… C’est la vie.
All, in all, the kids enjoyed the trip. They enjoyed it so much they said, “lets go every June!”. I’ll have to work on my boss about that one.
One last note, I will get flack about the title and featured image of this post; “Israel/Palestine” will please no one and irritate some. But until there is a mutual peace between the people who call it one and the people who call it the other I’ll stick to calling it both.
You can see the full Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Dead Sea, Israel and Palestine, June 2022 [flickr.com] photoset on Flickr.