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At the beginning of this trip report, I wrote about Israel’s security needs. Unfortunately, something happened yesterday evening that proved how central this topic is for life in Tel Aviv. An attack in the popular tourist district of Sarona – a colony that was built by German Knights Templar long ago – killed four people and injured many more. We were having dinner in a street café not far away, and ringing cell phones and worried questions from family and friends made us realize what had happened.
We thought the online headlines about ambulances “racing” from all over the city to the site of the attack were a bit sensational. In actuality, however, nothing changed in the street or in the behavior of many people in bars and cafés. People in Tel Aviv seem to have a tragic routine in dealing with such situations.
What the experience taught us, much like the beginning of our journey, is that we cannot, and should not, reduce the country to the topic of violence. So we’re leaving the hotel tomorrow and taking our baggage to the German Embassy, where we will meet Tanja Hutt, Head of the Economic and Commercial Department, before we leave Israel. We got to know her at the opening reception of the TAU Innovation Conference, and she spontaneously invited us to coffee in the Embassy to talk with my colleague, Simone Wicher, and myself about the collaboration between the Uni Potsdam and the Tel Aviv University, as well as our experiences at the conference. We all agreed that the last three days were very exciting, with lots of new and valuable information and contacts. The audience was international, and Israel certainly lived up to its reputation as a start-up nation.
With a fabulous last glance over Tel Aviv looking towards the ocean – the Embassy is on the nineteenth floor of a high-rise building – we say goodbye to this tremendously diverse, cosmopolitan, colorful city, lively even in difficult times, and made our way back to Potsdam.
Text: Wulf Bickenbach
Published online by: Matthias Zimmermann
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