Simon's Diary

Israel 2004

Day 5



Eddie and Taz. Eddie's the one on the left. I'm not sure which one's more hairy. Anyway Taz is one of those pets that one tries to befriend from the outset mainly due to fear. The worst thing is that when Eddie's son, Jonathan, and I start play fighting Taz decides to bound in and start growling. Neither Jonathan or I are sure which one of us he's going to defend so both of us suddenly stop and pretend nothing is happening. Taz looks a bit confused and normally walks off. As soon as the coast is clear we both start fighting again, this time a bit more quietly. Of course within seconds Taz is back like a rather pissed off teacher.


One of my more pretentious arty pictures

This morning we make an early start, which is a bit of a killer as I went to bed at 4 am.
We're going to Eddie and Miri's shop which is in the Hiatt hotel next to the Dead Sea.
The shot above is taken from the approach road, which is quite steep.
The hills in the background are in Jordan. The Dead Sea is the lowest body of exposed water in the world.
This are has been and remains a source of salt.
When Salt was an expensive commodity it was fought over and guarded fiercely.


Seeing camels, shepherds and people riding donkeys is a bit of a surreal experience when you live in London.
But for Eddie and Miri it's what they see most days as they commute to work

One of those shots that exist only to prove that I was really here. As if anyone else really cares.
I mean so far no one has asked for evidence after I've told them about my travels.


Miri and I read over the latest Diary pages. The dolls in the background are made by Miri and Eddie.
Their shop is one of the main attractions of the hotel.
When they opened up this morning loads of people came in and said they'd been waiting for days for it to open.
The other day I'd watched a program which included an item about a company who made life size hyper realistic "adult" dolls.
I wonder if a shop full of those would be as popular..... OK maybe I should stop before I incriminate myself any further.
If you want to see Miri or Eddie's site go to


At one point a child came in and hovered next to a shelf full of toys for about 5 minutes, just staring at them.
I was sitting next to him and he mumbled something to me in Hebrew. I called Eddie over to translate. Eddie told the kid he could have a toy for free. The child's eyes grey wide as he inspected the toys for a further few minutes. Then in extreme slow motion he picked one up and walked out of the shop. Eddie watched him, and as soon as the boy thought he was out of our sight he made a run for it, just in case Eddie might change his mind maybe. A few minutes later the boy came back and said he wanted to swap it for another of the toys on the shelf. Once again we went through another slow motion sequence. The next time he returned was in a fit of tears while being dragged in by his elder brother, who at the request of his mother was returning the toy. Eddie explained the situation and they both went off only return a few minutes later, this time accompanied by their mother. By this point we were closing up and the boy who didn't want to leave the shop had to be dragged out by his older brother and mother. I tried talking to his Mother, but as she's a "religious" woman she's not allowed to talk to strange men. Next time you're being chatted up by someone you're not interested in try the line "I'm sorry I can't speak to you I'm religious". It's a bit like when someone telephones you to sell you double glazed windows or kitchen units. Just tell them you live in a council flat, they'll put the phone down before you say good-bye.


Eddie pointed this van out to me. It belongs to a charitable organisation that clear up the aftermath of a bomb attack.
In Israel the daily killings have permeated everyone's consciousness. It's very hard for Israelis to
understand why we condemn them for their harsh treatment of the Palestinians. On several occasions I have had it put to me that the British would be just as bad if a group of people were killing their citizens on a daily basis.
No doubt the Palestinians feel the same way.

Eddie's car windows were so dirty that my camera couldn't focus beyond the glass.
Well you know what they say. "If you can't beat them join them"


After leaving the shop we make our way to a Kibbutz which is next to a large Arab town.
My father remembers when this consisted of a couple of huts.


Arab and Jewish towns have a very different feel to them.

Remember Miri's dolls, well this isn't one.
It's one of my other cousin's newest additions.
My cousin annd his wife live in, and are deeply connected to the desert.
They've named him Sinai after the Sinai desert.

Ohad, Sinai, and Miri - with an evil look on her face - .

Osnat pretends to read while Sinai smashes her glasses. Meanwhile Miri looks on and laughs

This is just included because Eddie asked me to put it in because he thinks he looks good in it.
Hey I need to keep in his good books.

After this family meeting I return to the hotel in Tel Aviv


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