The author on a hill in the West Bank overlooking Jerusalem.(Photos by the author)

For the three weeks before this one, I was in Israel, on-duty for The Roll. What follows are some snapshots from my iPhone. Why? Partly because it’s 4pm the day before the Fourth of July. And partly because one thing I learned is that American Jews who care about Israel don’t have nearly enough contact with Israel in any real way. Not that my photos are particularly a “real way,” but hopefully they are a bit more visceral than a dash more of pontification.

This was a good 50 yards from where I slept in the southern kibbutz of Sde Boker.

Any city (this is Jerusalem) that names places after Isaiah Berlin is good by me:

In case you can’t see, this large poster in downtown Bethlehem declares, in English, “Return is our Right and our Destiny.”

This reminded me of one of those balconies in the French Quarter of New Orleans. In fact, it’s in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Yes, they also just have Big Macs. This McDonald’s was in Dimona.

Fizzy bubbelah! Disco disco! (Knesset in the background.)

I’m told that there was a rat problem, so they brought in cats. Now, there is a cat problem. Sheinkin Street, Tel Aviv.

At a Steimatzky bookstore in the Baka neighborhood of Jerusalem. No further comment.

In the Abu Tor neighborhood of East Jerusalem, south of the Old City.

Best meal I had in Israel? Lunch at “Syrian Guy Hummus” (seriously, I asked a bystander, “Hoomoos shel al suri?“) near the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv. This has ful, which are essentially fava beans, mixed in.

Finally: say what you want about Zionism, I think it’s Herzl’s dream fulfilled that there is a country where the dogs speak Hebrew. This was taken after I told this kibbutznik to “shev!”