My trip didn’t start off too well… I arrived at Athens airport, flying EL AL and I am second in line when some big Israeli guy with gold chains and shirt open to waist, steps in front of me and stands in line. I said “this is a line” and he turned and told me to F –OFF! Called me “stupid woman” and all I could think was this is why I haven’t been back to Israel in 30 years. If you read the first chapter of my book, it describes what happened in 1987, when I was strip searched for a 15 dollar US parking ticket!
The Security which was half Greek and half Israeli were very good, as I went through all the security procedures they all apologized and I ended up in business Class! I arrived in Tel Aviv and had to take a train for about an hour; when I went to buy my ticket they told me my Visa was no good in Israel. I paid cash for my ticket and got on my train only to discover my Blackberry wasn’t working!! I couldn’t call my friend Timna, who was supposed to be picking me up at the train station. People on train were very helpful with calls etc. and guess who was sitting in the same train car as me of course, my friend from airport but he proceeded to move on! I arrived and my Blackberry came back on and my Visa worked and Timna was there waiting, so all was well in the world!! I had met Timna in India a few years ago and I had told her I would never visit Israel again; yet here I am… Timna lives in Zichron Ya’akov on the Carmel Mountain in a most beautiful part of Israel! She lives in what I would call a compound with her 3 children in one house, her brother Ohad in another and her parents Hiam and Ofra in another! The family business is the running of a shop and factory for the Tut-Neyar Paper Mill which they own; this factory makes the most beautiful Japanese Paper, as they were all trained in Japan. Their factory also produces all kinds of products such as lampshades, stationery and murals etc. which are all very lovely.
The rest of my trip was amazing! This family was not religious but traditional. Friday night dinner was just great food, good conversation (heated sometimes) and everyone getting together on a Friday night. I forgot to mention the Pope was also in Israel this same weekend, so that added another dimension to the dinner table chat. What impressed me the most was the relationship between Timna and her 3 children (all in their twenties). They all really like being together, and if we were going somewhere every one would just jump into the car. I visited an amazing Kibbutz that had a large greenhouse, with water and biology projects happening. It was one of the oldest in Israel and it also had a first class acrobatic studio, where Timna’s daughter took lessons. I visited BK center with Sister Gabi (small but lovely by the sea). We went to Tel Aviv for few hours where I stayed in Timna’s parents beautiful apartment in the center of the city. I had to get up at 2 am to go to the airport for my flight back to Athens. What I will take away from this trip is all the beautiful flowers, trees, the fresh fruit and vegetables which were awesome and that the family all loved to cook!! All in all just a great 4 day adventure!! It was wonderful to visit such a gentle Family and a gentle part of Israel. Thank you, Timna!! My last blog from Athens will happen next week, when I can tell you about all the very cool stuff I have been doing here, before my June 12th re entry to Canada.