Sunday, February 19, 2012

The only matkot museum in the world


Meet Amnon.  We met him on a stormy Shabbat morning on the side of a steep side road in Neve Tzedek. He was putting away his bicycle after giving up the idea of playing matkot on the beach, something he does on a daily basis and has been doing for at least 50 years. He invited us to see his apartment otherwise known as the Only Matkot Museum in the World.



Amnon was born and bred in Neve Tzedek and is a major figure in the matkot community.


There are some 350 matkot (beach paddles) of every conceivable size and colour in Amnon's matkot museum interspersed with large paintings of the northern European forest scenes so popular among people who live in hot countries. His devotion to the sport is boundless.



Amnon, still sprightly now, thanks to matkot, is surrounded here by photos of him in action in younger days (click to enlarge). Now he and his fellow matkot-obsessed friends play on a concrete strip underneath one of the hotels on Gordon Beach where they have been granted special permission by the mayor to frighten passers-by with the whipshot sound of a squash ball hitting wood at very high velocity.

 
A few trophies from a life and a home devoted to what has been called Israel's national sport.  

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Premonition?


Smoke billowing from a fire near the popular 'Recital' wedding hall  situated at a busy intersection in Tel Aviv's business district. Taken from the 15th floor of an office building. With talk of a war with Iran buzzing in our ears was I the only one thinking that this is wjhat the next war will look like?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Street Party in Denial?


A day after US Secretary of  Defense Leon Panetta was quoted as saying that he believed Israel would attack Iran in the Spring and following a cold and rainy week of grim declarations by Israel's top security brass that time was running out to stop the Iranian nuclear threat, Tel Aviv came out to party.



The clouds cleared, the sun shone and Sderot Rothschild filled with the (mainly) young
and beautiful. There were open air bars, two DJ areas, a  market too, but mainly thousands of people.


 After a break of a year or two, Tel Aviv municipality was reinstating regular Friday afternoon street parties on Rothschild and the word had certainly got out. Apart from studiously ignoring the coming war with Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas, the main activities were nodding to the DJs sets , absorbing the chest-wrenching volume of the bass line, drinking beer and checking people out - the perfect Friday afternoon mix.





Hula hoops, obviously in deep denial, also seem to be making a comeback
Retroed young hipsterit and friend enjoying the scene. Fiddling while Rome burns? Perhaps. But before the leaders decide that the party's over, what else should ordinary people be doing other than trying to enjoy each day at a time.