Unlike most of you, I am still in Israel, though not Jerusalem. Though it is difficult to describe, the non-Jerusalem Israel is quite different from Jerusalem. People call Tel Aviv a bubble, but I am inclined to argue that Jerusalem is a bubble itself as well. I am currently staying in a town near Petakh Tikvah. There are some obvious differences between here and Jerusalem, those that always exist between cities and towns. For instance, many more parks and fields (in fact, recently, on a night-time walking excursion, my friend and I ventured into a field, at the beginning of which some people said something to us in Hebrew and my friend waved them off. I asked what they had said, to which she replied, without even glancing back at me, “Oh, they just said that it’s dark now and there are a lot of snakes in this field.” And so, not a care in the world, at least on her end, we kept right on with our little trek).
It is quiet here, seemingly tension-free (or at least concerning tension in relation to the conflict), and lacks the great diversity of Jerusalem. Most English-speakers speak only broken English, and aside from that, Hebrew, and Arabic, I have heard no other language. It is also much less religious. In fact, I have only encountered a few orthodox Jews in the oldest part of town. Other than that, all secular. And I don’t mind it. Though I loved Jerusalem and my experience there (despite the bumps along the way), it is refreshing and soothing to be here, where I can feel a bit more like I am on vacation.