Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is a place where everything is possible! When asked about how is it, my answer is simple: it’s a sort of Rio de Janeiro meets New York. Its beaches are spectacular: green and hot water and sand. As I see it, they’re even prettier than Europe’s.

Let me tell you some general info on Israel: it has 8 million inhabitants, out of which 2 million are Arabic, among them Muslims and Catholics, and the rest are Jewish (6 million). Its diversity characterizes the city. There are Ethiopian Jews, those descending from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. In 1991, 14,500 Ethiopian Jews arrived at Israel in a covert military operation called “Operation Solomon”.

Most international enterprises are in Tel Aviv, Israel’s economic center. It shouldn’t go unnoticed that Israel is the country with most start-ups per capita: they get a lot of aid from the government.

Tel Aviv is a multi-cultural city, people from every corner of the world can be found here: French, American, Argentinian, Brazilian, Uruguayan, Polish, Russians, etc.

Fun fact: Israeli born Jews are called “sabra” (slang term) due to a typical national fruit by that name.

One of the most common scenes of Tel Aviv is watching cats wandering around. It is said that they were brought in many years ago to fight off a rat invasion. Thing is that later they reproduced, and nowadays they’re an unmistakable feature of the city.

The nightlife is amazing. The bars on the shore bring the magic to this city of 400,000 inhabitants, second only to Jerusalem, the country’s largest with 800,000.

The Rothschild Boulevard is the meeting point and center of the city. Every tourist passes through it.

In Israel, and particularly in Tel Aviv, when people no longer have use for something, they “tzedakah”, which means charity. They give it away: mostly to organizations, but sometimes they just leave it on the street. Hence, it is very common to find clothes, kitchen pans, furniture, mattresses, electronic artifacts, and books, among other things, just laying there. I’ve particularly renovated my closet with a couple of pullovers, and I’ve also found some interesting books.

Getting lost in the streets of Neve Tzedek, their bohemian neighborhood, is an amazing experience. It’s the artists residency, which you can appreciate right away in every façade, which has a distinctive touch that makes it unique.

One thing I particularly loved was that all their streets are named with Jewish last names, but what makes it even more interesting is that the University and the Tel Aviv campus are on Einstein street; crazy, huh?

The “Shuk HaCarmel” market is one of the main attractions and is attended both by tourists and residents, since there you can find almost everything, from fruits and vegetables, to souvenirs, purses and bathroom items.

What’s great about this city is that you can see hundred-year-old and five-year-old buildings on the very same street; the old coexists with the new.

Visiting Jaffa, the Arabic part of town, is a must. Tasting the classic Arabic cuisine, like hummus, falafel and shawarma, will make you fall in love with this city. You can tour Jaffa with the Free Tour of Sandeman. Every day at 11 and 14 hours, setting off from Jaffa’s Clock Tower.

There are many museums and theaters. “Habima” is the National Theater of Israel, located in Habima Square, in the center of Tel Aviv.

In 1995, Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s Prime Minister, was assassinated during a rally in favor of peace, in front of a crowd of over 100,000 people, at the now called Rabin plaza in Tel Aviv. The tragic landmark is now visited every day by tourists.

In Israel everyone speaks English and many French and Spanish, so communication isn’t an issue.

You can visit Tel Aviv in summer or winter, and you’ll always find entertainment and history. A city that never sleeps!

You can read Where to go in Israel (written by an Argentinian that lived there)