Mike’s Place – 10 yrs After Tragedy

If you ever go to Tel Aviv, there is a pub on the beach called Mike’s Place. It is well-known and really popular with ex-pats and tourists although locals go there as well. On a Saturday you will find 100-200 Europeans in there watching any one of a half-dozen football (soccer to you Yanks) matches and on Sundays you can join 100-200 Yanks yelling at the NFL games. Bands play there all the time and with the ocean just a few yards away, it really is tough to beat the atmosphere. The food is good and you’ll meet others looking to have fun.

Am I thinking of Mike’s Place because I was wanting to give a travel tip? No. See, 10 years ago today tragedy struck Mike’s Place. Two suicide bombers walked into it. Fortunately only one bomb went off. The second malfunctioned and they later found the bomber floating face first down at the port. One bomb was enough though. Three people were killed and several more severely wounded including the security guard Avi who miraculously survived somehow. He kept it from being worse.

There will be a memorial service down at Mike’s Place today. Someone sent me an invite on my Facebook. It has me thinking. One of the people killed was a French waitress with a big smile named Dominique. I only met her a couple of times but she gave me some good advice, did me a favor, and was always friendly. I think of her often. She was only in her 20’s. I actually have written about her a couple times. She made that kind of impression on me the few times our paths crossed. She just had one of those personalities.

Actually, I was lucky I wasn’t there that night as the table I normally sat at was right next to where the bomber detonated. My odds would not have been good if I had been there. I actually had a closer escape at another place at a different time. Knock on wood.

I harbor my own ill-will against those would take the life of someone like Dominique but I keep it to myself as much as possible. I’ve never figured out how you think blowing up a barmaid is going to further your political aspirations. It certainly won’t bring you freedom. I’ve seen my fair share from all sides. I once had an Israeli soldier stick his M-16 to my mouth and threaten to pull the trigger. It isn’t so much the side or the cause as it is the person and often the desperation involved. You target a pub because you’re too weak to take on a military target. A soldier lashes out at a civilian because he has nothing else to strike back at. Yeah, desperation. The unseen factor you won’t hear discussed at the press conference.

There is a movie Blues By The Beach. It is a documentary that was being filmed at Mike’s Place when the bomb went off. I watched it again this evening just as a reminder of those days and because I can’t go to the memorial service. Life moves on. That is the way it is designed. Look up in the sky. A lot of those stars are dead but you are still seeing the brightness. Like I said, that is the way life is designed. Mike’s has moved on. It is bigger and better than it was 10 years ago and certainly more popular. The only thing it is missing is a couple musicians and a French waitress with a big smile.   

Categories: Entertainment, Everyday Life, France, history, israel, movies, Politics, religion, travel, writing | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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