Dan Perry
"I don't mind a reasonable amount of trouble"

SCENES OF UNIMPORTANCE: Love letter to a home by the sea

Hope springs eternal (Dan Perry photo)

Journalistic shorthand has its uses: attention spans are short so brevity is well advised. But it can also beget lazy foolishness. So it is with the tired cliché about supposedly “tiny Israel.”

San Marino is tiny. Liechtenstein and Luxembourg, Gibraltar and Vatican City — these are tiny. Israel is a territory that approaches 500 kilometers north-to-south housing 10 million people (excluding yet millions more it is confused about).

A few weeks ago, on Israel’s 73rd Independence Day, I wrote that the country is, while prosperous and strong, committing suicide on several fronts — and that it seems unable, like some other democracies, to correct course. That is a curse of our tormented time.

But as long as it does survive, we are talking about a place that boasts among the most diverse humanity, culture and topography on the face of the earth. That may be best demonstrated with pictures, not words.

Consider the visual medium now, in 2021: On one hand, internet user data shows beyond question that images drive engagement; but photography has also been cheapened by total democratization.

Everyone has a camera on their phone and can publish to the world. Mostly what we get is food porn, pouty selfies, and cute pet photos. If scarcity has value, then one might conclude that photos no longer do.

And yet I beg to differ. One must simply pay attention, take a little bit of care, and look at the world with the eyes of an innocent. Cynicism is overrated, and I suspect it always was.

In the late 1970s, my parents offered me a gift that proved enduring: a single-lens reflex Pentax K1000. You could adjust the aperture and the shutter speed, accounting for light and movement and achieving little effects. No one living then could have imagined an Instagram filter.

A few years later Genesis released a song that stands to this day as an emblem of popular music that has not only melody and drive but lyrics worth more than a nanosecond’s contemplation:

Images of sorrow, pictures of delight, things that go to make up a life / Endless days of summer, longer nights of gloom, waiting for the morning light / Scenes of unimportance, photos in a frame, things that go to make up a life / As we relive our lives in what we tell you.

It was called “Home By The Sea.”

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher attracts all kinds (Dan Perry photo)
The Old City of Jerusalem (Dan Perry photo)
The New City of Tel Aviv (Dan Perry photo)
You can never go wrong with Ceausescu on the wall (Dan Perry photo)
Packing heat on a hot day for baseball (Dan Perry photo)
Ex-commando in dive bar is not to be trifled with (Dan Perry photo)
Younger than the mountains, growing like a breeze: the Hermon (Dan Perry photo)
Everything divides into three, even on the Red Sea (Dan Perry photo)
The world’s biggest “box canyon,” Negev (Dan Perry photo)
The world’s baddest Balkan Beat Box, Barby Club (Dan Perry photo)
Yom Kippur (Dan Perry photo)
Suspicious fish guard senior citizen (Dan Perry photo)
Fruits of the season, Galilee (Dan Perry photo)
A very Galilean sea (Dan Perry photo)
A little romance, Tel Aviv boardwalk (Dan Perry photo)
A big romance, Hadera (Dan Perry photo)
An antisocial club, Rothschild Boulevard (Dan Perry photo)
A Holocaust remembrance (Dan Perry photo)
Beach life need not be elegant at all times (Dan Perry photo)
A city with a Western beach sunset is surprisingly rare (Dan Perry photo)
Contemplative bird, rendered in silhouette, Tel Aviv port (Dan Perry photo)
About the Author
Dan Perry is the former Cairo-based Middle East editor and London-based Europe/Africa editor of the Associated Press, served as chairman of the Foreign Press Association in Jerusalem, and authored two books about Israel. A technologist by education, he is the Chief Business Development Officer of the adtech company Engageya and Managing Partner of the award-winning communications firm Thunder11. His Substack, Ask Questions Later, is available for subscribers at Also follow him at;;;; and
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