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Blogging from Tel Aviv — The Pursuit of the Normal

We went swimming yesterday surrounded by local families jamming the beach on shabbat. By the way, in case you didn't know it, I am a bad (and impatient) Jew. I am on the 21st floor of our hotel and will not use the sabbath elevator that stops on every floor so you don't have to disobey the injunction against work and push a button. I use the regular elevator and push away. If this means I will pay for this in the afterlife, so be it. You will note, however, I didn't blog on the sabbath.

Speaking of the noonday sun, we did walk around a bit in it yesterday with the Rubins, who have been most gracious, having a look at the art deco White City, Rothschild Boulevard, the arts complex that now houses the old Habima Theatre, and then finally Kikar Rabin, Rabin Square, where the prime minister was assassinated by a Jewish extremist at the height of Oslo hopes.

They have a low-key, therefore quite moving, memorial to the tragedy on the actual site of the murder -- a nondescript concrete stairway -- that gives the exact locations of the killer and Rabin's bodyguards when the event occurred. Though no one can be sure, I am not one of those who thinks we would have had peace had he lived. I remain unconvinced the Palestinians want a two-state solution. And I don't think any one man could change that, certainly no one on the Israeli side. But Rabin was clearly a remarkable human being. You feel his loss acutely at the place of his death.

(Thumbnail on PJM homepage assembled from multiple Shutterstock.com images.)