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“My” Yonatan

Hila tells about Yonatan

Hila Amir

Everyone has his own Yonatan … me too.

22 years ago, I was a new tour guide. I was looking for a local tour guide in Paris for a tour with an Israeli group in the Loire Valley. I got Yehoshua Spector’s phone number.

I called. A man with a pleasant voice answered. I asked in French to speak to Yehoshua (at that time he was not yet called Shuki). I asked if it was possible to switch to English, and the man replied: “It is also possible in Hebrew”. This was my first conversation with Yonatan Karmon. We talked some more. Years later, Shuki told me that Yonatan had said to him: “She sounds nice and you will help her!”

I actually met Yonatan through Shuki. Yonatan became a friend of mine as well. Whenever I finished guiding a a tour in Paris, I would remain for two or three extra days with Shuki and Yonatan at their home. Shuki worked all day and I would stay with Yonatan.

Yonatan would go down to the Boulangerie, buy a baguette and prepare breakfast for me. But first, he would serve me coffee in bed. We used to stroll the streets of Paris and visit the shops that I loved. Once, we even went looking for a dress for my son’s bar mitzvah. We had coffee at every possible place and he always told me stories about the many people that he knew.

He used to cook special meals for me and pamper me every time I came to Paris. But not only in Paris …

When Yonatan was in Tel Aviv and Shuki was in Paris, I would meet him on Fridays at noon at various cafés on Dizengoff Street. Whenever a florist would pass by, Yonatan would buy me a bouquet and say, “you should have flowers for Shabbat.”

Yonatan told me many stories about people, some more famous than others. It was never gossip. He always included biographical details that allowed me to get to know another side of their personality.

Whenever I asked him how he was, the answer was always the same: “What shall I tell you?  All is perfect”.

A hopeless optimist, who sees only the good in everyone, does not argue with anyone and accepts everyone as they are without trying to change them.

He was always interested in the well-being of my family and I could always consult with him about anything. If he asked for something, it was impossible to refuse.

I think that during the twenty-two years that I knew him, I learned more about the history of Israel as well as that of Paris, than you could learn from any history book. Because through Yonatan, the story would take on color and shape, taste and smell and most importantly, soul.



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