Tel Aviv is known as a "bubble" in the middle of Israel. Only a 10 minute drive on the highway you'll find yourself within the range of the Palestinian rockets. Another 20 minutes will take you to the center of Gaza -- within range of Israeli rockets.
Quite a lot of rockets around.
Not in Tel-Aviv though; here the only rocket you'll see is a pocket-rocket. Sitting at my neighborhood's café, I couldn't believe what a beautiful sunny winter morning we have here in the city. An outside observer will see the children playing in the garden; the young girls strolling around the shops, busy cafés with happy people drinking coffee.
A more skilled observer can zoom in and see who is sitting at the different tables.
Here is a short guide to the various characters you will find in the Tel Aviv bubble these days:
The News Junky -- The news junky is no longer a person, and now functions as a news agency. He's been watching the news for 400 hours straight; he knows the names of the fighting regions as well as names of the officers in charge; he compares what Al-Jazeera correspondent said with the analysis of the one from CNN. He even looks for news updates on the shopping channel. He gives a full report to anyone who is willing to listen starting with rocket attacks and ending with the weather.
Motto: This war is hell. The fear, the mess, the stink. And that's only in my living room.
The Escapist -- The escapist is very worried. He fears for the life of his Tivo. He is not sure if the device would be able to record Desperate Housewives with all the breaking news in the middle. For years he has trained his hands for this exact moment - his index finger can, faster then the speed of light, flip the channel whenever a news update is aired. His thumb and middle finger are trained to gently pull the art section from the morning paper and his pinkies will automatically seal his ears whenever there is a call up order for military reserve duty.
Motto: Don't ask, don't tell.
The Potential PM --The potential PM has very solid opinions, at least two opinions on each subject. He doesn't have the slightest doubt that he could solve this mess in ten minutes, if only he was given the chance. And he could do it from his living-room couch.
He knows exactly how to talk to the Arabs; he has a complete speech ready based on his familiarity with them (and by that he means the Arab greengrocer - the only Arab he actually knows). Incidentally, he can also solve the problems in the education system, the health system and above all - the dire problem of the Israeli soccer league.
Motto: Ask not what you can do for your country; ask what I can do for your country.
The Insider -- The Insider doesn't need the media for news. He has his own news sources. He has a cousin, well not really a cousin, a cousin twice removed, that lives next to the nephew of someone who used to be a big shot in the army on the Six Day War. So he knows all the top secrets. He lowers his voice when he shares them with you because you can never know who's listening. He always makes a dramatic pause before proceeding to give you... last week's headlines.
Motto: I'm married to "Deep Throat."
The Conspiracy Theory guy -- The ideological brother of "The Insider," only he doesn't need any sources. He has his own logic and an extra dose of common sense. He always starts by saying, "Actually it's quite simple" and then keeps things about as simple as Quantum mechanics -- "The military operation is actually part of the Palestinians' big plan. They are behind this operation... soon Iran will take over partnering with the aliens from the Roswell UFO incident who are just waiting for this exact moment to come back to life and make us all their slaves."
Motto: The truth is out there. Way out there.
Mr. Right Wing -- Although Mr. Right Wing never served in the army because of a health issue (he was released due to a severe dandruff problem) he cannot stand the thought of not going inside the center of Gaza. Israel must bomb, nuke, hunt and kill each and every one of the Palestinians - because they are a bunch of irrational extremists. He would have loved to join the war effort but unfortunately he has previous engagements.
Motto: I love the smell of NAPALM in the morning.
Mr. Left Wing -- Mr. Left Wing is furious these days. He can't understand why Israel is preventing the Palestinians from expressing themselves. So what if their way of expressing themselves is by firing rockets - it's a different culture and we should be tolerant towards it. We should embrace those gifts from the sky; we should open our hearts and ceilings to them. We should change our approach and think: what would John Lennon have said? "Give peace a chance," or maybe his famous last words, "please don't shoot."
Motto: Let's hug it out.