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Thanksgiving in Tel Aviv at Mikes Place

Holiday celebrations at Mike's Place, located next door to the U.S. Embassy makes this the favorite spot for Americans. The place is footsteps from the beautiful beaches of the Mediteranean which makes it an even more popular restaurant and night club for Americans and westerners traveling or living in Tel Aviv who want to be near the sea.

This past Thanksgiving was more festive as usual for where but Mike's could you find for only 100 shekels or about $22 U.S. the best turkey dinner in town.

Thanksgiving at Mike's is complete with an American turkey dinner resplendent with all the extras, including cranberries, stuffing, mashed potatoes even pecan pie, plus all the wine you could ever possibly wish for. It was not too long ago on April 30th, 2003 that Mike's Place was the target of 2 Muslim fanatical suicide bombers. Fortunately the security guard detected the bomb strapped around the waist of the first suicide bomber with his metal detector and pushed the terrorist attacker back about ten feet outside the restaurant entrance as the bomb detonated.

Three Israelis were killed in the explosion which left several wounded all who have since recovered including the heroic, security guard, Avi Tabib. Avi has since had extensive reconstructive facial surgery and he has recently married. The three Israelis killed were: Ran Baron, Dominique Hass and Yanay Weiss who were all members of the band that was playing that night.

The musicians were killed just as they decided to take a short break from their last set that evening and stepped outside for some fresh air to become the victims of yet another senseless tragedy in the name of Holy Jihad. There is a tribute to them hanging outside on the wall the pub shares with the American Embassy. The tribute displays their names, when the tragedy occurred and it shows a guitar with broken strings befitting the murdered musicians.

According to Arie Ganzman the father of the owner, Gol, who helps manage the place, ''that night, there were two suicide bombers, both Pakistanis with British passports. After the first suicide bomber killed himself the second terrorist had a change of heart and tried to run away. Scores of Israelis who heard the explosion (which blew out most of the windows in the restaurant) ran after that suicide bomber as he then tried to run away towards the ocean (located not more than 100 yards away). He then unbelted his bomb belt and tossed it on the beach and he tried to swim into the ocean, where he was still being chased and where later they found his drowned body.'' It seems both the Pakistani's were in their 30's, educated family men with wives and children both professionals one being an engineer back in England.

They were allegedly recruited at a local mosque by Muslim extremists who convinced the two men that they had a duty to become martyrs; kill innocent bystanders, and perhaps the allure of many celestial virgins awaiting them in the after life if they would accept this mission convinced them to become suicide bombers. It seems all this was more important to them than their wives, children and the lives they left behind. This was a well planned attack since the suicide bombers had obtained British passports which they used to travel and enter Israel with instead of their regular Pakistani passports which would have tipped off Israeli customs officials of their true motives and intentions were it not for their new British passports.

On this and most day's Mike's Place is as festive and as lively whether almost everyone there is watching an American football game or other sports event on the big screen or just listenning to another band performing at Mike's Place. Life goes on.

The author was invited on 'World News Tonight' with Peter Jennings . He is a writer and journalist. He has a Hampton beach estate where he has mini vacations for writers and others to 'unblock.' To read more stories by Mark go to and type in ''Mark P. Greenstein''

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