How I ended up in the Holy Land. And stayed…Part 10

Continuing on with my tale of woe and joy of how I ended up in Israel…tales of a non-Jewish potential Kibbutz volunteer who falls in love with Tel Aviv, dodges Scud missiles, lives and works illegally for years on end, gets besotted by one Israeli girl despite the best attempts of a legendary Jewish mother, but ends up marrying and divorcing another… and then marrying yet another to join suburbia and the hi-tech revolution, while becoming the seemingly respectable owner of an English school.

In case you missed them; Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

Part 10: The return of Ofira!

So the summer of 1993 had been quite a winner. I’d met a ton of people, had a good few beers, got in some quality beach time, and was free as a bird. At least I thought I was…

A few lovely ladies had passed through my summer…the lovely Vanessa, the exotic Helen and the ever gorgeous Talia (an Israeli girl) to name but a few. But there was nothing serious about any of these brief encounters; they all soon moved on to other countries or understood that it was all about the moment and not a lot more.

Nothing like the connection I’d had with Ofira over the previous 2 or 3 years. I hadn’t seen her in weeks and she’d almost been eradicated from my heart, when one afternoon Peter sat down with me and put me straight.

Like a hammer blow, his news about what Ofira’s mother had been up to hit me hard. It seemed her mother had been in contact with Peter’s Israeli wife almost every week. In fact, every time Peter and I had gone out for an innocent beer (over many, many weeks) Ofira’s mother had been on the blower, planting the seeds of distrust and jealousy in to his wife’s mind. Our casual beery afternoons had apparently become sordid little adventures of lust, and we were obviously on the prowl for as many women as we could get our hands on.

Oh dear. A very clear example of the cultural differences between Brits and Israelis.

We may well have chatted with women here and flirted with waitresses there, but there wasn’t anything more than that. But no, we were were the epitome of evil in Ofira’s mother’s eyes and her hate that she had kept mostly well-hidden from me was obviously bubbling over into the calls she had with Peter’s wife. It seems that these calls were the main reason for Peter’s rocky marriage that later fell apart. Peter’s wife had even sent her brother and father to follow us on a number of occasions, without us knowing.

Peter was only telling me now, in the prime of my summer adventure, because he’d had a big fight with his wife and all the sordid little details from the last couple of years had come flooding out…

Well, I was livid. I knew what my mate Peter had been going through the last few weeks at home, so the thought that Ofira’s mother was partly behind it all drove me mad! My shock quickly turned into rage and I stormed off to the nearest phone box, ready to give her mother a right rollicking…

But, of course, Ofira answered me. And all that rage in me quickly vanished as Ofira swore she knew nothing of what her mother had been up to. And I believed her. She was even angrier at her mother than I was, so it all seemed genuine. Before long we were catching up on old times…

…and another few weeks later had decided to rent our first place together. I’m still not sure how and why it happened, but it seemed we were destined to live together, at least for the time being. We were both very much anti-Ofira’s mother, and looking back, I can see that the idea of living together was probably Ofira’s way of getting back at her mum, rather than a full-on desire to actually live with me.

But rent a place we did, in the very rundown neighborhood of Neve Sha’anan, next to the new Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv. Rent was dirt cheap, and the apartment was probably one of the worst I’d ever come across, but a quick lick of paint and a bit of a wash and the place could almost be called “home”.

Home it became, and with plenty of visits from friends, including Mandy and Haim (the British girl who got married to Israeli Haim and took him to England) from my Purple House days, suburban bliss was hitting home. I was back to the gardening, a bus ride away, while Ofira took the daily bus to Petah Tikva where she’d been working since completing her army service.

And 1993 slowly moved into 1994. The great love affair with Ofira wasn’t really the great passion-fest it should have been, maybe because of a certain maternal figure pulling some strings in the background, who knows…but 1994 was about to be another very interesting year. And I was just about to leap out of the frying pan into the fire…

Next up: Mixing it with the Israeli underworld!

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