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Some of my excursions are fascinating for opening a new place to explore. Others are no less interesting purely because I get to interact with people who aren't grad students in the hard sciences at the Institute. Good folks here, but it can be very insular. This weekend was of the latter type.

Thursday was Lynn's birthday, and since she's befriended us Americans adrift in the dorm, the pack of us tromped up to Herzliyya to attend the celebrations. She was staying with a childhood friend of hers (she discovered, many years after the fact) in what used to be the small town where she grew up, and which is now a quaint northern suburb of Tel Aviv.

There were adventures on mass transit. There was multilingual chatting over pizza, which I followed to varying degrees. There was serial delegation of the music selection, chased by serial mocking of each attendee's musical tastes. And since Lynn got her degree and cute accent in the UK, there was scotch, tea, and Irish cream, not intended for simultaneous consumption.

A lovely time was had by all, until we crashed en masse in the spare room, the floor of which had been completely tesselated with those foam mattresses you had naptime on in kindergarten.

[Update: Edited to use what is evidently the accepted transliteration of Herzliyya. I still think "Hertziliya" better reflects how it is pronounced.]

Lynn's friend lives in a delightfully rambling house, along with his older sister who runs a daycare out of the back yard, various acquaintances who rent rooms, and a golden retriever large and active enough to count as an inhabitant and a half. The daycare was gracious enough to provide numerous kid-sized mattresses, which seems to come in handy for sleepovers. The dog was gracious enough not to burst in and trample us all in our sleep, or beat us to death with his tail. And since the coast was in easy walking distance, it was declared that breakfast would be taken on the beach. The Mediterranean is still pretty chilly, but the sandstone cliffs are fairly made of perfect skipping stones. Rough life, these kids have.

"Here, you just want a normal life, everyone feels he has to fight for every little thing. ... It's not the Arabs. It is between us," said Tom(?) while giving us a lift to the train station. Among at least some of the younger Israelis, there is a gnawing feeling that Israel can't last as it is. The Palestianians aren't seen as likely to ever get their act together enough to be a threat. The problem is Israelis. Too contentious; the place won't hold together. Every young Israeli I've talked to agrees on one thing -- they all want out.

There's a selection effect at work here. There aren't a whole lot of hilltop youth or ultra-Orthodox types in my immediate circle. Clearly, they would take a divergent view.

Back in Rehovot now. We ate Shabbat dinner up on the roof, and I briefly waxed pedagogical as the stars came out. Some of you would recognize bits of my standard public night shpiel.

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Sounds like the bifrication between red and blue states is a force that is purhaps also at work in Isreal. Ironically those ultra-orthodox and hilltop types wouldn't last five minutes as a country without their more liberal educated brethern.

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This page contains a single entry by Milligan published on April 16, 2005 1:22 AM.

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