When It Gets Hot, Go to the Beach

The End of The Tel Aviv Bubble?

Togetherness: Attacks on Tel Aviv have not broken the city, rather they have brought its citizens together.
Getty Images
Togetherness: Attacks on Tel Aviv have not broken the city, rather they have brought its citizens together.

By Assaf Gavron

Published November 23, 2012, issue of November 30, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Did the bubble burst when the rockets started falling on Tel Aviv on November 15? I think it didn’t.

If “the bubble” means pretending to be New York or London — well, they also suffer from terror once in a while. And if it means the possibility to disengage yourself from the news and do whatever you choose to — then that possibility is still here. The bars and clubs are open, the cafes full of espresso drinkers, the streets brimming with bicycle riders and the beaches with swimmers, since, even in November, it is still 80 degrees.

Okay, there are 90-second intervals once in a while — when a rocket is on its way, we hear a siren and then need to take shelter for 90 seconds, until it either falls or is intercepted midair — but they don’t seem to hamper the excitement and togetherness of Tel Avivis. If anything, they have an opposite effect.

There is something about the sirens that feels almost like a party: Everyone is called outside, people are required to get together in shelters, connections are forged. Apart from that, there is the tension of the 90-second wait — a kind of adrenalin rush I suspect Russian roulette players or skydivers feel — and then the release when the time is up and you seem to have stayed alive, which makes people even more excited and friendly.

Unlike in the days of suicide bombings, the attacks bring a togetherness. Everyone is included, merely by hearing the siren and acting on it. And there is another dimension to this collectiveness: On Facebook and Twitter, the anger, black humor and complaints are shared quickly and widely. It is scary — seeing the amount of hatred, blindness and hopelessness of so many of your people — but also reassuring, because you warm up to the feeling of community that the people on “your side” create with their wisdom and humor.

Granted, this is no fun — not for Tel Avivis, who experience undeniable moments of fear; not for the residents of the south of Israel, who suffer a relentless and unbearable rocket attack, and definitely not for Gazans, who are counting their dead and wounded and suffer heavy wreckage. But I guess the mind plays a game on you — pushing dread to the back and pulling up the best it can, under the circumstances. Which is, I guess, the embodiment of “the bubble.”

Assaf Gavron is the author of “Almost Dead,” (2010) a dark comic novel about the era of suicide bombings in Israel.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.