The following is an interview I conducted with Mr. David Shankbone. David is truly a multitalented person – he is an amazing photographer and writer, as well as a major figure in Wikipedia.
David has met with and interviewed many world leaders, artists and other interesting and important figures from all walks of life. He travels a lot getting information first hand which reflects in his opinions and unique viewpoint.
David Shankbone, in my eyes, is a kind of person who lives life to the fullest and I am honored to have this interview with him. If you want to learn more about Mr. Shankbone’s work and view some of his awesome photographs please visit his blog:
Shalom David and thank you for having this interview.
1. The photos you took in Israel are amazing. As an artist, what inspired you the most while visiting the country?
How the reality of Israel messed with my notions gleaned from the mainstream media. I was inspired by the Israeli people, and what they have accomplished in building a diverse—and liberal—country that mirrors those found in Europe and North America. I was inspired by the selfless work of people like solar engineer David Faiman; by musicians like Ivri Lider and Offer Nissim; by the quality and affordability of the art found in the markets; by the children playing in the streets of Nazareth; and by the incredibly hot men and women I saw on the beaches and in the clubs.
2. Did your perception of Israel change after you visited there for the first time? What do you think of it now?
Yes, of course. For anyone who has not seen Israel, the reality does
not match the perceptions we receive from the media narratives created
about it. Even though religion is important to the country and its
history, religiosity does not dominate the culture (after all, the
country recognizes same-sex marriages and relationships, and gives gays
and lesbians adoption rights).
The physical beauty of the Israeli people and landscape is in stark contrast to the images of conflict that are endlessly shown in any Israeli story that the rest of the world reads. I like when I am reminded that just because I think I know things because I read about them does not mean that I actually know those things. My 2007 trip was a whirlwind introduction to the country’s ingenuity and geography. It was only with my trip this year that I felt I soaked it in; absorbed it. I feel like Israel is a second home, and I’m not even Jewish.
3. During your Israel visit you got to meet with and interview the president Mr. Shimon Peres. Mr. Peres is obviously a wise person and a very experienced international figure. In terms of perspective on life - What did you get out of meeting him?
His humanity. That he is a person. It is easy to forget that news media icons like Peres (or Barack Obama, or Madonna, or Bono), who have inhabited my one-dimensional newspapers and magazines since I first started to read them, are made of flesh, blood and feelings. Peres is funny!
4. Did you enjoy the food in Israel? What was your favorite dish or restaurant?
The food in Israel is some of the freshest I have ever tasted. The restaurant at Hotel Montefiorre was amazing, as befits its reputation, but where I really felt I explored new worlds of cuisine was at The Salon on Ma’Avar Yabok Street. The chef explores tomatoes with an abandon I have yet to comprehend. Everything the chef does—I recommend his tasting menu—is rich and delicate.
5. If you were to recommend someone to visit this country what would you tell him/her?
First and foremost, you have no cause to fear for your safety. Be
prepared to encounter a very sexy, friendly people who love a wild
nightlife. Get out of the cities and explore the dessert and
countryside. Ensure you get some time on the Mediterranean beaches.
And most importantly, talk to the people – enlightening and lively
conversationalists exist everywhere, and no subject was ever off limits.
The only way to discover truth is to see for yourself.
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