The first time I swam in Herzliya, the translator of the only one of my books ever to appear in Hebrew warned me to be careful. ‘This is where Istvan Kertesz drowned, in April 1973,’ she said. ‘I was here. I saw it from the beach.’
Herzliya is subject to rip-tides. The only safe places to swim are beneath the eye of a lifeguard.
Kertesz was 43 when he died. The former principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, he was regarded as maestro in waiting for the next Big Five US orchestra to fall vacant. He had an open-ended contract with Decca and left, among other legacies, a set of Dvorak symphonies that has never been matched. I never visit this place without thinking of him.