Heart of a Nation

Tel Aviv is not a symbol. It is not, as the “lev” (Hebrew for “heart”) sound in Tel Aviv suggests to some, a bubble of the heart. It is a real city. It is a home for so many people, embodying so many stories of the Jewish journey.
 Eli Mohar who wrote some of the finest Israeli lyrics, once wrote how in Tel Aviv a person might sit on a bench on an avenue and feel as though he were simply living a normal urban life. Tel Aviv holds that dream, as the world’s only secular Jewish urban public space. It sometimes works. Even between sirens there are moments of serenity where a person can drink a good cup of coffee not as a Jew and not as a Zionist idealist. It has the sweet taste of normality. 
Don’t mock that wish. Respect it. People who lack that dream of just being a human being on a bench on an avenue are not good partners in building the Jewish state.

Ruth Calderon is head of the culture and education department at the National Library of Israel.

Written by

Ruth Calderon

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