a different side of Israel

Not Jewish?! What are you doing here? (Part 16)

Jill CartwrightPart One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight, Part Nine, Part Ten, Part Eleven, Part Twelve, Part Thirteen, Part Fourteen, Part Fifteen

The text message flashed onto my phone a few hours later as I lay rigidly under my covers in a futile attempt to make up for too much alcohol and a terrible night’s sleep. “Nice handwriting,” it said. I pulled the covers over my head and ignored it.

A few hours later still, as Tanya and I were driving back from Noa’s parents’ home where we had all shared our Friday night dinner, while in the middle of telling her that of course nothing had happened and nothing was going to happen, because it’s just ridiculous because I’m leaving in a couple of weeks and have only just split up with Boaz, I texted him back, “Well, I’m a very inventive Taurus.”

The call came almost immediately, and I ignored it.

Another call came about an hour later. I answered it.

“What are you doing tonight?”

I am staying in, I thought, I’m knackered and feel terrible and just want to go to bed.


“Do you want to meet me in a bar, or a coffee shop, or something?”

No, no, no, no. I am going to sleep; this shouldn’t be happening. I am staying in and then I am going to pack and am going to start thinking about my flight back home.


“So I’ll call you later.”


Oh I was getting into deep water. I knew it. But I couldn’t help myself.

I met him that night and all the next day and the night after that and pretty much every night after that, and on one of those nights as I softly said that “I think I came to Israel for the wrong man,” I knew before he’d said “Then why don’t you stay for the right one” that I wouldn’t be leaving Tel Aviv, that I wouldn’t be flying back to England, and that – oh my God – my mother was going to kill me…

She didn’t kill me, of course, but I think I took a few years off her life when I called her up to tell her that in the two weeks since I had last spoken to her, I had seemed to have fallen in love with yet another Israeli – a half Yemen, half Egyptian singer/actor Israeli at that. So I wouldn’t be needing my room cleared out after all because I was going to stay in Israel. “Oh,” she said in the tone of a mother who has already given up expecting to hear anything rational coming from the mouth of her daughter. “Oh.”

A couple of days after that I called up David Landau, my boss at Haaretz, too, and made an appointment to see him.

I sat in his office trying not to come across as a love-struck teenager who would quit and unquit in the flutter of a heartbeat and asked if I could have my job back. While naturally taking the opportunity to remind me of the absolute necessity that I do much better and that my only saving grace as a goya unversed in the complexities of Judaism and the Land of Israel being that I had a “reasonable grasp of the English language,” he actually seemed quite pleased to have me back – in fact at one point I’m sure he even betrayed a half smile.

Boaz, on the other hand, was livid – angry, hurt, shockingly betrayed, humiliated, bitter photo-rippingly livid. I understood him and was almost shamed into heeding his enraged shouts down the phone at me one day at work to “get out the country and go back to my own country, because this was his country,” were I not so ridiculously, glowingly, weight-sheddingly happy with Sa’ar.


  1. Good luck with your new love and welcome!

  2. “weight-sheddingly happy” I’ve been happy, even joyous beyond words, but you’ve got one on me there 🙂

    Hope Boaz has gotten a grip since then. Photo-rippingly livid sounds pretty severe.

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