Noa’s mum is a smiling, generous soul, and we spend two well-fed nights at her family house. The house is in a suburb of Tel Aviv, with a green garden and a dog brimming with affection. Pictures of siblings line the walls. One is of a sister doing a silly face with a rifle in her hands.
We’ve missed Passover by a day (Noa shows us photos of laughing cousins with kippa’d crowns) but there’s still chocolate and exotic fruit to feast on. A holiday atmosphere hangs in the air. In a bunker-club in town, a hip hop night is happening; we join the crowd in the smoky darkness to hear Hebrew rappers dance their words over old school beats, full of hype and passion. It’s done well. Noa, the perfect host, translates some snatches of lyrics for us; they speak of equality and defiance.
In the morning, we drive to the Dead Sea, sluggish endless hours in holiday traffic, and passing Jerusalem we glimpse a high grey wall, snaking around a corner. The separation wall? Yes. It’s just in passing. We spend hours floating and smearing Dead Sea mud on ourselves, smarting from the salt. Returning to Tel Aviv, night and sleep come easy.