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6/26/15 Events Far from Tel Aviv - History

6/26/15 Events Far from Tel Aviv - History

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by Marc Schulman

Today, has been a difficult day worldwide with dozens of civilians dead in attacks in Kuwait, Tunisia, France and Somalia, while an unknown number have been killed by ISIS as they have retaken parts of the town of Kobani. Here in Tel Aviv a city that was under constant missile attack last summer all is quiet, with many of the residents of Tel Aviv just a little hung over after a night of partying.

It was another one of those weeks in Tel Aviv; a week during which the news seemed almost unconnected to daily life. The two stories that dominated the news were the Druze attack on the Golan Heights of an army ambulance carrying Syrian injured in their Civil War and the U.N. Report on the Gaza Conflict charging that both sites may have committed war crimes, but placing special emphasis (and devoting the majority of its report) to the actions of Israel.

The event on the Golan Heights, where Druze attacked an ambulance, killing the two wounded inside was met with disbelief in Tel Aviv. Residents of Israel became aware in the past few weeks of the growing concern exhibited amongst Israeli Druze regarding the plight of their brethren in Syria. Still, the possibility that the Druze would resort to brutally murdering wounded Syrians in an ambulance came as a complete shock to Israelis. The effect of the Druze attack is hard to fully gauge, though it clearly has served as a warning to Israelis to think long and hard about doing anything that would drag us into the morass of the Syrian Civil War. It was always hard trying to separate the ‘good guys’ from the ‘bad guys’ in the Syrian conflict. If anything, the Druze attack in Madjal el Sham and Neve Avivim on the Golan Heights made it that much harder.

As to the latest U.N. Report, Arie Shavit wrote in the Ha’aretz this week: the U.N. report will distance the chance of peace. The reason, unfortunately, is simple. Most Israelis supported Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza based on very straightforward logic – “if rockets are fired at into our country from Gaza, once Israel withdraws, we have the right to ‘carpet bomb’ them”. A slight exaggeration, yet, clearly expresses the general sense in Israel. As long as we and our troops were in Gaza, we could not take strong measures – even if we were being attacked. However, once we were out …

Then came the UN Report, which concluded (based on a legal precedent from the Nuremberg Trials) contending that since Israel had the ability of reoccupying the Gaza strip at any time, Israel holds effective control. Under that logic, Israel will be occupying the West Bank in perpetuity – since in any realistic scenario, Israel will always have the military option of reoccupying the West Bank. Therefore, when the average Israeli hears about the U.N.’s report he says to himself – we pulled out of the Gaza strip, but the U.N. does not recognize any change. According to the U.N., although we did not want a war, and begged Hamas not to start one, still somehow we were responsible. Moreover, the U.N. believes that when we fire at targets inside Gaza that are firing at us, we are “committing war crimes”.

As a result of the U.N. report’s conclusions, the majority of Israelis will ask themselves – what is to be gained from any further withdrawals? Most Israelis who have been in the army (i.e. the majority of the population, ages 18+) know that war is hell and that in war terrible things happen. Israelis also know that occupation is bad – both for the occupier and for the occupied. Nonetheless, when an account like the U.N.’s report comes out, the average Israeli shakes his head and says: “What do they want from us?”

For most in Tel Aviv, by the week’s end, any of these concerns were but a distant memory. Yesterday 2,000 people took part in a conference organized by the A.W.S. division of Amazon to discuss Amazon’s Cloud services. Last night, Tel Aviv celebrated “White Night”. On White Night, much of Tel Aviv stays open throughout the night – with museums and businesses open until the wee hours and a variety of street concerts and performances taking place all over the city until dawn. Tens of thousands of people jammed the streets of our “white city”.

Last night, the city of Tel Aviv celebrated life as if there was not a care in the world. While today, during the time it took me to write this article, there were four major terror attacks by Islamists in nations not very far from here. The people of Tel Aviv know how to enjoy life, even when the world seems “just a little” out of control.

Tel Aviv's Bubbling Startup Scene

A world leader in innovation and Israel's "Startup City" extraordinaire, with the world's highest density of startups - about 800 early-stage startups (and growing), more than 20 percent of Israel's total - and about 1000 hi-tech companies in which around 39,000 people are employed, Metropolitan Tel Aviv's Startup City holds pride of place for technological innovation in a country ranked first in the world for innovative capacity by the IMD Global Competitiveness Yearbook and also first for business expenditure on R&D, cyber security and entrepreneurship second for total expenditure on R&D, scientific research and total expenditure on education, and third for information technology skills.

Research by Startup Genome has pointed to Tel Aviv as having the world's second-best startup ecosystem (just behind Silicon Valley), and former U.S. President Barack Obama once termed Tel Aviv the home of the “future world economy.” Even about 20 years ago, Israeli firms provided the third largest number of initial purchase offerings (IPOs) on Nasdaq in New York - preceded only by the US and Canada - and the second largest number of IPOs on the AIM Alternative Investment Market in London (after the U.K.), and over 70 Israeli companies are listed on NASDAQ now, more than for Europe, Japan, Korea and China combined. With over 3000 centrally located- startups – and the beachfront, sun, culture and nightlife to keep the best of the best from roaming too far – Tel Aviv is a start-up giant!

The Library

When it was constructed in the 1960s, the 34-storey Shalom Tower, rising to a height of 130 meters, was the tallest building in the entire Middle East. Now, dwarfed by any number of hi-rises in the vicinity, it houses the main branch of the Tel Aviv Public Library. However, as fewer and fewer people take advantage of this service in the Internet age, the Municipality has allocated entrepreneurial space within for budding innovators, at a subsidized rate, for a period of up to half a year, to give them the freedom to focus on developing their product.

Open 24/7 and serving as a "mindspace" for its tenants, complete with password-protected internet, a key to the elevator and an environment conducive to brainstorming and networking, the Library is a stop on almost all startup tours available in Tel Aviv, to help understand the phenomenon, including that offered by Tel Aviv Global City, which also includes in the tour, a visit to the offices of an international venture capital fund that has set up shop in the City district. Private tour companies offer half-day and full day hi-tech experiences, and additional startup exploration options as well, as a means of understanding the many facets that comprise Tel Aviv's ecosystem, via a combination of on-site visits, lectures, presentations, brainstorming sessions, videos, etc.

Startup for Tourists

State of Mind," a new entrepreneurial and innovation center that was launched recently in Tel Aviv's City district, on the premises of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, showcases Israeli achievements in innovation and features an exhibition space housing a timeline of startups, product prototypes, informative texts and movies, with a separate auditorium for brainstorming sessions.

In addition, a number of tours are available, for both groups and individuals, for those interested in exploring Tel Aviv's start-up scene, especially in the area around Rothschild Blvd. Some incorporate a visit to the Museum of Banking and Tel Aviv Nostalgia, which portrays the banking, business, cultural and nostalgic life in Tel Aviv and a video about the first days of banking in Israel and around the world, as well as a reconstruction of the first branch of the Israel Discount Bank, a model of a futuristic bank and a 3-D film about the future of banking.

The Bank of Israel's visitors center, at its Tel Aviv offices on Lilienblum St., offers activities and exhibitions designed to familiarize the public with the Bank's main functions and its contribution to Israel's economy. It presents the historical development of money in Israel and the reflection of the nation's and the State's heritage in the design of banknotes and coins, as well as an exhibition of banknotes and coins issued from pre-State days to the present, films, and computer games used to explain the functions of the Bank of Israel, the history of money and the contribution of the central bank to the economy.
For easy access to such tours, there are many hotels in and around Rothschild.

Tel Aviv at a Glance

Tel Aviv at a Glance Tel Aviv – "the City that Never Sleeps" "Miami Beach on the Med" "The Mediterranean Capital of Cool." Whatever it's called, ever since its inception in the late aughts of the 20th century, Tel Aviv has always been about lifestyle. The original founding fathers, families from overcrowded Jaffa (just to the south, and now a part of the Municipality of Tel Aviv-Jaffa) wanted to establish a "Hebrew urban center in a healthy environment, planned according to the rules of aesthetics and modern hygiene," with wide streets and boulevards, street signs, and garden houses with running water.

Expanding from 66 families in 1909, to a population of nearly half a million, on 52 acres of land, a playground and center for more than a million foreign tourists each year, along with millions of Israelis from everywhere else in the country, near and far, Tel Aviv still remains the city in Israel for people to live and experience life at its best. Vogue magazine has highlighted "9 Reasons Tel Aviv Should Be Your Next Mediterranean Getaway". Discover Greater Tel Aviv with us you'll find even more.

Miami Beach on the Med

A City of Youth

Discover Tel Aviv – an exuberant city of youth, and herein, perhaps, lies the key to its growing vitality. For a large number of Israelis in their early 20s, a trip abroad to "clear their head" is a de rigueur rite of passage before embarking on the next phase of life. When they return, many of the brightest, most industrious, most highly motivated of them migrate to Tel Aviv, the big, flashy city, to work or study, or both. People with broadened horizons, they have seen the world and its pleasures, and their frame of reference is not Israel alone. They start to succeed, have disposable income and want to cap an intense day at the job, with nighttime relaxation,
entertainment and fun.

Other Israelis of their generation have seen the world too – studying and apprenticing themselves in major venues, as chefs, fashion designers or musicians, and in all sorts of other fascinating endeavors, before dreaming of making good at home too. At one point, as more and more places developed to satisfy Tel Aviv's leisure-time needs, these young professionals, sharing the same experiences of the young public, turn to entrepreneurship, to develop venues designed to suit and mold the public’s taste, adding to their expertise by frequenting other nightlife and cultural hotspots around the world in search of new concepts, themes and ideas.

A Cosmopolitan City

Tel Aviv, with its culture of youth, vibrant gay scene and trendsetting fashion, new concept hotels and uniquely Israeli fusion cuisine, has also become part of an informal cosmopolitan circuit frequented by clubbers from all over the world – which itself maintains the pressure to always improve, invest more in concept, style and design, be more original in the drinks the bars serve, bring more DJs from abroad, etc. There are thousands of night spots of just about every sort in Tel Aviv it’s a very fashionable city.

Places open and close, become "in" and "out", with dizzying regularity, competition is fierce, and there always is something new to see, be seen at
and experience. All of this has served to create a dynamic nightlife hospitality industry with tens of thousands of workers, all keeping similar hours and growing into a lifestyle that focuses on daytimes out on the beach, in cafés or studying, and activities that begin after sunset.

daytimes out on the beach

A Seaside Resort

Stretching from upmarket Herzliya, north of the city to Bat Yam in the south, Greater Tel Aviv's Mediterranean beachfront sparkles with kilometers of clean, supervised beachfront and a vortex of activity all the year-round, including a range of readily available, water sports like kayaking, kite surfing, windsurfing, snorkeling, standup paddle boarding, water skiing and scuba diving for both beginners and experienced divers. For more experienced divers, the marine life beneath Jaffa Port, where a sunken Israeli navy boat is located, is a major attraction. Yachts, sailing boats, kayaks and windsurfing equipment are available for rent at Jaffa Port and at other seaside

The "Lahat Promenade" (named after late Tel Aviv Mayor Shlomo Lahat, who was instrumental in its development), which extends along the Tel Aviv shoreline, is always alive with strollers, joggers, vendors, musicians and mimes, and lots of fun. Tourists visiting the city on Fridays will enjoy stopping at Banana Beach, known as Drummers’ Beach too due to the amateur drummers that gather there on Friday afternoons at sunset for a weekly jam session to start off the weekend. The fun lasts until sunset, and anyone can take part, and also enjoy al fresco jugglers, dancers, capoeira practitioners, etc. Restaurants and snack bars are ever-present adjacent to the promenade, and the waters of the Mediterranean are shared by swimmers and “dippers,” surfers, windsurfers, boaters and the like. The Tel Aviv Marina can berth 300 sailboats and yachts - with another 800 berths available in Herzliya and 100 in Jaffa.

Energy, nightlife, youth, culture, cuisine, start-up, the sand and the sea - this is the soul of 21st- century Tel Aviv, with its modern, vibrant, cutting-edge art and cultural scene, street action, cosmopolitan commercial activities, neighborhoods, annual events, and much more, day and night.

The City that Never Sleeps
Dinner at 11 PM – don't be surprised if you'll need to reserve, especially on weekends post- prandial cocktails and some hot or funky underground music - after midnight is an excellent time clubbing – some of the trendiest clubs don't even open till after midnight, are half-empty till 2 AM and run till after sunrise breakfast at 4 PM, also no problem at one of the Benedicts chain's 24/7 breakfast restaurants. After all, it's Tel Aviv, brash, in-your- face, stirring tempestuous Tel Aviv, the city that never sleeps. Wherever you are, from Florentin in the South to Tel Aviv Port in the North, there's sure to be a lively nightspot nearby, and more than a few interesting restaurants. Spend an entire week of nights in the city and you'll enjoy a totally different experience each time.

Destination Tel Aviv Calling
Destination Tel Aviv, calling out to you with all its excitement and vibe. Experience Tel Aviv for a City Break weekend, summer respite, or as a base from which to roam, to see Israel's myriad of modern and historical sites and sights. Eclectic enough to embrace and highlight an abundance of pleasures and activities from morning until the small hours of the night, while close enough to just about anywhere else in the country so that travel-wise visitors in search of adventures that are no more than a day trip away can enjoy the city’s plentiful hospitality accommodations and revel in its dining, nightlife and cultural charms. Do Tel Aviv once you won't want to leave, and
we guarantee it – you will want to return!

Full List Of Links To English Employment Websites…

Life is full of surprises! And if one is open to them, they can lead you to places, you would never, in your wildest dreams imagine…

It was exactly one of these glorious life surprises that has lead to me living in thriving, vibrant, never sleeping, full power, delicious and never enough moments in the day to do everything TLV!!

Its very exciting to find oneself living in argueably one of the sexiest cities on the planet?

Tel Aviv is magical. Its incredibly alive & full with outrageousness. Its chic, vibrant, colourful, full on and well… I simply adore it.

I plan to share tel aviv with you…little by little. As I become more intimate with her, as I learn more of her as I discover her, I will share with you her treasures and unique gifts. You will come to know her smells, sounds, talents and energy.

But this takes time, for she is mysterious. She is much much more than you can imagine, so much more that you can discover in one visit or one glance at this blog .

Tel Aviv is addictive. Once is never enough. Tel Aviv will grab you, lure you and entice you and I consider it a great honour to help create your addiction. I look forward to it.

New Satellite Images Reveal More Details About Recent Israeli Strikes On Syria

The satellite images revealed that the Israeli strikes wiped out two warehouses located in the western countryside of Homs, to the east of a former chemical weapons site in Shinshar. The site was attacked by the US, France and the UK in 2018 in response to an allegedly chemical attack.

Previous satellite images revealed that the strikes destroyed much of a large storage facility of the Syrian Arab Army in the same region.

What appears to be additional strike locations west of Homs, #Syria from the reported #IDF airstrike(s) on the 8th June 2021, this location is just East of the Hims Shinshar Chemical Weapons Complex targeted in 2018 by #US led airstrikes.

— Aurora Intel (@AuroraIntel) June 11, 2021

The Israeli strikes claimed the lives of more than seven Syrian service members, including a senior officer in the country’s top military research and development center.

More details about the large-scale strikes will likely surface in the upcoming days. The strikes were not limited to Homs, a number of targets near the capital Damascus were also hit, according to local sources.

The strikes were the most recent in a series of Israeli attacks meant to push Iranian forces out from Syria. So far, Tel Aviv’s military campaign has been a failure.


First Test Of Israeli Airborne Laser System Successfully Completed

Kiev’s Desperate Attempts To Provoke New War In Ukraine: 4 DPR Soldiers Killed Near Donetsk

In Video: U.S. Naval Bombing Exercise Caused Earthquake In Florida

Military Situation In Afghanistan On June 21, 2021 (Map Update)

(Aurora Intel) some of you might have seen what they share and do…they are pro-Zion, most likely they are 3 Zion…more reasons to not be-lieve south front anymore.

Red flag one they say “Bringing you world events as they happen, focusing on the Middle East Region”
Zion 101.

“Dancing Khazars of 9/11” I love it!

I have mentioned the dancing Jews of 9/11 to many. Of course, my fellow Americans think I’m crazy.

One time this guy, thinking me nuts, like the rest do, asked me to prove it. So I showed him the photos, police reports, and the Dancing Jews spinning their lies on Israeli TV. He was not happy, mumbled something about “hate” and “antisemitism,” and has never spoken to me since. Orwell, it seems, missed a slogan the Jews would rely upon when they came to power: “Truth is hate.”

“First they call you nuts, then, when you prove correct, insane.”

Both of you have smart and funny names, also don’t talk to normal people, most likely they don’t care. That where we are now…people don’t care anymore, you see how MSM say BS left and right and people believe it, ofc if they look into the matter they would fight against MSM but again people just don’t care anymore, Americans are some “stupid” people I have to say, no matter what you say they ignore…it is funny Arabs do that as well, but Arabs are more bold-ish type of people so that is understandable from them, I would say.

The strikes were the most recent in a series of Israeli attacks meant to push Iranian forces out from Syria. So far, Tel Aviv’s military campaign has been a failure.

what more needs to be said the strategy is not working.

Israel main role as US proxy is to destabilize region not to defeat Iran

To”push iranian forces out from Syria” is also what Russia wants because Russia doesn’t see Zionist-State as antagonist, simply put it Russia is not anti-Zionist,

Danny know zero—the main problem in Syria is USA, Turkey…Israel=US colony

I am shocked to see South Front regurgitate Israeli “Talking Points” about these air-strikes that murdered at least 7 Syrian Army personnel, probably more.
Where are the S-300 Air Defences supplied to Syria almost 2 yrs ago that appear to have disappeared from the face of the earth? Has Russia prohibited Syria from deploying these S-300 Batteries?
Where are the Iranian personnel supposedly targeted by these IAF ‘strikes? Do they even exist?
Far more worrying is the SF characterization of these air-strikes as targeting what is described as 2 Warehouses situate “to the east of a former chemical weapons site in Shinshar. The site was attacked by the US, France and the UK in 2018 in response to an allegedly chemical attack”
South Front well knows that no such Chemical Weapons site exists at Shinshar. Moreover, South Front well knows that the Air-strikes of April 2018 were conducted in response to what we now know was a “false flag” – unless, of course, South Front is taking the side of the wholly discredited Chemical Weapons Watchdog whose disgraceful behaviour over the course of the past 3 years has been deconstructed by, amongst others, Aaron Mate who addressed the United Nations on this specific issue.
Far better if South Front were to publish the Questions & Statements made by the 2 Irish MEP’s, Mick Wallace and Clare Daly, to the European Parliament, both of whom excoriated the head of the Chemical Weapons watchdog while the remaining 700+ MEP’s kept their heads down.
This is an appallingly lopsided report that might as well have been written by a representative of Mossad or Mi6 of CIA and I suggest that in future, South Front refrain from regurgitating British Foreign Office and US State Department ‘talking points’ and Israeli Propaganda.
When will South Front ask the very pertinent question of what has happened to the S-300 Batteries supplied to Syria by Russia? Now that is something probably worth reading.
I am both disgusted and appalled that South Front editorial bias has degenerated to such an extent in its efforts to keep within the biaises of our crippled mass media in both Europe and N America.

Explainer: How Jerusalem tensions sparked heaviest Israel-Gaza fighting in years

At the core of the violence that has left dozens dead are tensions between Israelis and Palestinians over Jerusalem, which contains sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

As both sides appear to be digging in for more prolonged fighting, here are some of the factors that triggered the escalation.


Since the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in mid-April, Palestinians have faced off nightly with Israeli police in East Jerusalem, who put up barriers to stop evening gatherings at the walled Old City's Damascus Gate.

Palestinians saw the barriers as a restriction on their freedom to assemble. Police said they were there to maintain order.

Tensions have also been high over a long-running legal case that could see multiple Palestinian families evicted from their homes to make way for Israeli settlers who, backed by an Israeli court ruling, want to move in. read more

The violence quickly spread to the Old City compound containing Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest shrine in Islam and the most sensitive site in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hundreds of Palestinians have been injured in fighting with police in the compound and around the Old City in recent days.

Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas and other militant groups in the enclave repeatedly warned Israel that the fighting in Jerusalem was a "red line", and vowed to fire rockets if Israeli police did not stop their raids on the Aqsa compound.

As Israel commemorated its capture of East Jerusalem in a 1967 war with a march on Monday, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad militant group fired rocket barrages towards Jerusalem and its surrounding suburbs.

Israel had "ignited fire in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa and the flames extended to Gaza, therefore, it is responsible for the consequences", Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said.

Within hours, Israeli warplanes began bombing militant targets in Gaza, with the military saying that civilian casualties "cannot be ruled out" in the densely populated coastal territory.

The fighting has since escalated dramatically with militants firing hundreds of rockets towards Tel Aviv and Israel carrying out hundreds of air strikes in Gaza.

Violence has also broken out in mixed Arab-Jewish cities across Israel, with members of Israel's 21% Arab minority angry over the Jerusalem evictions and Gaza violence. read more


The most intensive aerial exchanges between Israel and Hamas since a 2014 war in Gaza have prompted international concern that the situation could spiral out of control.

But Hamas also appeared to see the escalation as an opportunity to marginalise Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and present itself as the guardian of Palestinians in Jerusalem.

Hamas has amassed some 7,000 rockets, as well as 300 anti-tank and 100 anti-aircraft missiles, since the 2014 war, an Israeli military commander said during a briefing in February. Islamic Jihad has amassed 6,000 rockets, the commander said. The groups have neither confirmed nor denied the Israeli estimates.

Some Israeli commentators said Hamas could also see the timing as opportune with Israel in political flux as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's opponents try to form a government that would unseat him after an inconclusive March 23 election.

Other commentators have said that Netanyahu appeared to be distracted by his trial on corruption charges he denies, allowing tensions to surge in Jerusalem and spill over into Gaza.

Gaza has for years had limited access to the outside world because of a blockade led by Israel and supported by Egypt, who both cite security concerns over Hamas for the restrictions.


Politics, history and religion all place Jerusalem at the centre of the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

At the heart of Jerusalem's Old City is the hill known to Jews across the world as Temple Mount - the holiest site in Judaism - and to Muslims internationally as The Noble Sanctuary. It was home to the Jewish temples of antiquity. Two Muslim holy places now stand there, the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Christians also revere the city as the place where they believe that Jesus preached, died and was resurrected.

Israel sees all of Jerusalem as its eternal and indivisible capital, while the Palestinians want the eastern section as a capital of a future state. Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem is unrecognised internationally.

Arrested for stealing water, on the hottest week of the year

Yesterday, my friend Joseph Dana and I went for a visit in the Palestinian village of Sussia, on South Mt. Hebron. For some years now, Joseph and other activists of Taayush have been helping the local community in the area, which suffers from frequent harassments of the local settlers.

It was a very hot day – the last weeks have been the hottest we knew this year – and a local Palestinian farmer told us of his water problem. Israel has constructed water pipes in the area, but they only serve the army and the settlers. The Palestinians are forced to drive to the closest town, and buy their water in tanks over there. They end up paying 10 times the price I pay in Tel Aviv. And the farmers in South mount Hebron are the poorest of the Palestinian population. They live in tents, some even in caves. They used to have water holes in which they stored rain waters, but access to their fields and to many of the holes in them is denied by the army and the settlers.

With no other option, some farmers were forced to use unauthorized connections to the Israeli water system, running just a few meters from their tents. The Israeli media is calling this “stealing water”. As settler from the area complained to Ynet‘s reporter:

“we don’t have water in the morning. Children want to wash their faces before they go to school, and the faucets are empty. Even a cup of coffee becomes a rare commodity”

When I got back home from South Mt. Hebron, I saw this footage, of a Palestinian farmer named Fadel Jaber, arrested for stealing water.

Read also what the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof saw in his recent visit to south Mt. Hebron.

UPDATE: Spokesperson for the border police told Haaretz [Hebrew] that Jaber and another man were arrested for attacking and disturbing the work of the policemen and soldiers that were dealing with the water theft. The spokesperson added that “the [behavior of] the 5 years old son was planned and staged by the Palestinians. Instead of acting responsibly and taking the kid out of the scene, they chose to engage in cheap anti-Israeli propaganda.”

Maybe this remark is in poor taste, but watching the heartbreaking cries of Fadel’s son, I couldn’t help remembering the famous ending minutes Bicycle Thief, Vittorio De Sica’s classic film. Watch here from min 5:30, after the desperate father is caught stealing the bicycle.

Changing Times

The combination of the ever-evolving internet and low-cost flights is transforming the tourism industry worldwide. Israel’s tourism industry must focus its attention on individual travelers in order to thrive in the tourism 2.0 era.

> by Yadin Roman
Photography: israeltourism

Tourism to Israel has been changing profoundly for the past decade. This started in the first years of the twenty-first century and has been gathering momentum from year to year. Organized tourism to the State of Israel started only a decade after the founding of the state. David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister, was against creating a “service” industry, as he called. However, in 1958, Ben-Gurion finally relented and agreed to allow Teddy Kollek, who was the director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office at the time, to open the young state’s first government tourism office. It was called the Department for the Betterment of the Landscape, was part of the Prime Minister’s Office, and was responsible for organizing the events to celebrate Israel’s tenth anniversary.
For the next 10 years, tourism to Israel developed slowly. Until 1967, only about 250,000 tourists entered the country each year and nearly all of them came on a group tour sponsored by a Jewish organization.
The scene changed completely after the Six Day War in June 1967. It was fueled mainly by Christian pilgrims bent on seeing the Holy Land. Eastern Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jericho, and other biblical sites were now under Israeli control and a visit to these places could be combined with a visit to the sites around the Sea of Galilee where Jesus had lived, preached, and ministered to the faithful. This was especially attractive to evangelical communities in the US, who largely saw Israel’s victory in the Six Day War as a divine miracle. Large tour groups of evangelicals began flocking to Israel.

Travelers enjoying the great outdoors during a summertime trek along the Israel Trail.

The tour groups, whether their participants were evangelical Christians from Arkansas or Reform Jews from Ohio, tended to follow a set route, visiting specific areas for specific amounts of time (for example, four days in Jerusalem, one day at Masada and the Dead Sea, and three days in the Galilee). All the participants in a group would visit the same sites and attractions together, stay at the same large hotels, travel together on chartered buses, eat their meals together at the same big restaurants, and even shop together for souvenirs at the same major shops. While some tourists might wander off the route briefly to buy a Coke or an eye-catching knickknack, they tended to contribute little to small businesses and to make very few decisions on their own about where to spend their time and money. Such decisions were left to the discretion of the tour organizers and guides, who often developed ongoing relationships with the hotels, restaurants, bus companies, or souvenir shops they patronized. The tour organizers also generally made reservations far in advance, providing companies with plenty of time to prepare for each group.
Over the years, the number of tourists coming to Israel on organized group tours grew fivefold. By the year 2000, Israel was hosting two million and four hundred thousand tourists a year. The number of tourists dipped in the wake of the second intifada, which began in September 2000 and lasted for four years. In 2005, tourism started to grow again. The number of tourists reached a new high in 2013 of over three million and five hundred thousand. The first half of 2014 also showed a lot of promise, until Operation Protective Edge (Tzuk Eitan) began in July in Gaza, stopping tourism in its tracks. By the first quarter of 2015, the number of tourists arriving in the country seemed to be rebounding.

Until about 2000, tourism to Israel was predominantly groups – and predominantly Christian groups. According to the figures collected by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistic (CBS), Jewish visitors to Israel made up only 20 percent of the total arrivals in the country. When tourism plummeted due to the second intifada, the ratio of Jewish tourists rose to 42%. Since 2006, as the total number of tourists began to grow again, the percent of Jewish visitors has declined again. By 2013, Jewish travelers made up only 26% of all the tourists to Israel. Jewish tourists comprised a large segment of the visitors from France that year (63%) as well as from the US (45%), while they made up only 15% of tourists from Russia and 10% of visitors from Germany and Italy.
The CBS figures also reflect the changing character of the traveler to Israel. Since 2004, the number of visitors traveling on their own and not as part of an organized group has been on the rise. Known in the tourism industry as FITs (Free or Foreign Individual or Independent Travelers), by 2013 their numbers grew to 40% of total travelers to Israel, up from less than 20% in the first decade of the twenty-first century. The ratio of FITs to group travelers continued to rise dramatically in 2014 and 2015.
The CBS statistics on the “purpose” of visits to Israel is also an indicator that the number of FITs is rising. Christian pilgrims, who almost always come in groups, generally state that their visit is for “religious purposes” and the percent of travelers stating that the purpose of their visit is pilgrimage or religious is declining dramatically. From a high of 50% in 2010, it declined to 22% in 2013. During the same period, the number of visitors declaring they are coming to Israel for “a vacation” has risen to 40%. The number of those visiting relatives in Israel has stayed more or less constant, at 20%, while business visitors are on the rise, reaching 10% of the total number in 2013. Another interesting figure is the rise in first-time visitors, which reached 55% in 2013 in contrast to visitors who had visited Israel a number of times. Another noteworthy phenomenon is the rise in the number of visitors to Tel Aviv. While Jerusalem is still the number one destination for the traveler to Israel – with 79% of all travelers spending time there in 2013, according to the CBS – the number of visitors to Tel Aviv has risen dramatically, with 66% of all visitors to Israel in 2013 hitting Tel Aviv.

Israel offers tourists numerous cultural options, from opera at Masada to the Ben-Yehuda Pedestrian Mall in Jerusalem, special events at Masada, festivals in Jerusalem, the Tel Aviv beachfront promenade, and Tel Aviv bars.

Ratings and Reservations in the Internet Age
The most significant of all these recent changes are the rise in the number of FITs, the increasing number and ratio of first-time visitors, and Tel Aviv’s ascent as a tourist destination.
The FITs are nothing like the tourists who participate in group tours. They have different needs, different desires, and spend their money differently, generally patronizing a wide range of small businesses.
Tourists nowadays are more spontaneous in the way they plan their trips, notes Dr. Yaniv Belhassen, a senior lecturer in the Department of Hotel and Tourism Management at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. They do not make hotel reservations in advance thanks to the many apps that enable them to book accommodations at the last minute for a reasonable price. This naturally makes the work of hotel managers much more complicated. In the past, the reception department knew about reservations at least a week in advance and had time to prepare for guests. Today hotel managers only know that many of their guests will book at the last minute.
Another key change is that it is a buyers’ market – the customer has much more power, he adds. The opportunity to write a review on a variety of platforms empowers each individual customer. Plus reviews have a greater impact since more and more decisions are being made by individual tourists who are visiting a place for the first time and not by tour organizers who are familiar with the place and its tourism services.
The internet also is blurring the border between vacation and home, Belhassen notes. Tourists’ connection with home while on vacation already is changing the way people share their travel experiences. They take photographs and share experiences online (via Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, etc.) in real time and receive immediate reactions from people at home, so their vacation also becomes an online experience.
All this is part of the changing scene of world tourism, in which the internet helps make a plethora of new destinations available. Travelers today, who have a lot more free time available, can surf the internet to find interesting new destinations that they had not considered before, build an itinerary and make reservations for everything from hotel rooms to lunch over the internet, and buy low-cost plane tickets online. Then all that is left to do is to hop on the flight and enjoy the new destination.
For travel destinations, this means that learning how to increase visibility on the internet is a vital new art that must be mastered to succeed.
The two main engines generating FIT travel are search engines, such as TripAdvisor, and reservation sites, such as Expedia,, and Much of TripAdvisor’s popularity stems from the reviews that travelers post of places that they have been to, from hotels to restaurants to archaeological parks. While crowd evaluation can be helpful, it also is problematic if, like on TripAdvisor, anybody can enter his or her impressions of a place, whether he visited it or not and whether she is affiliated with it or not. Naturally, if a site has hundreds or thousands of reviews, it is difficult for biased or fictional reviews to sway the results. However, the fewer comments and evaluations of a place there are, the easier it is to do this. TripAdvisor tries to prevent fake reviews, but it still is possible to skew the results.
This may be one reason reviews on reservation sites are becoming such a force as a tourism generator. The main sites only allow people who have actually made a hotel reservation and paid for it via the site to enter a review of a hotel. On the other hand, for flight reservations, there are rarely reviews since the main issue is finding the cheapest and most convenient flight to the desired destination for the desired dates.
“Everyone wants a good deal,” says Alex Treynker, Expedia’s market consultant in Israel.
Expedia owns, which together with its competitor generates the largest number of internet hotel bookings in Israel. Both companies offer hotels an easy-to-use back office system, which feeds directly into the hotel’s reservation system.
“The rise in hotel reservations over the internet has been dramatic in the last two to three years,” Treynker says. “2013 saw a doubling of internet reservations and the first half of 2014 doubled again in comparison to the first half of 2013.”
The move to internet reservations enables new hotels to promote themselves much more rapidly than they could in the past, furthermore, when the basic criteria after location become price, then the only way to decide which hotel to choose is via a reservation site’s rating system.

Tel Aviv’s many outdoor markets, specializing in everything from spices to produce to clothing, reveal the city’s ethnic diversity.

“Hotels strive to raise their rating by offering better service,” Treynker says, adding that the difference between a rating of 8.9 and a rating of 9.0 is dramatic.
“The way in which we consume information today is changing rapidly. In the past, hotel promotion was done with colorful brochures, travel events, and travel agents. This world is being transformed. The internet and the access to it via smart phones are creating a world where the user opens many screens at once. He may be comparing the beds in two different hotels, looking at an offering at different sites, and more,” Treynker remarks. “The demographics of the people who reserve over the internet is also shifting. Of course, the younger generation is internet adept. If you came [to Israel]on Taglit when you were 18, you will use the internet to return or look for the places that interested you before. But the generation that grew up without the internet is also joining in. Today the majority of reservations over the internet are made by the 30s to 50s age group – but this is changing. In addition, even people who will not make a reservation over the internet will surf the net to find the best deal.”
The seemingly infinite number of options available on the internet means that internet promotion and marketing now must deal with inspiration – sparking the potential visitor’s interest in a country, region, event, or hotel.
Another growing trend is taking advantage of the constantly increasing opportunities reservations sites offer to order travel packages. Fly and Drive is a popular option already on Expedia. Throwing in an order for tickets to performances, such as an opera at Masada, appears to be the next step. An all-inclusive package is not there yet, but it is on the way, Treynker says. The day is not far off when each traveler will be able to build his or her own individual tour package on a single site, making reservations for a flight, hotel, restaurants, guided tours, and visits to sites all at once from a single platform and paying for everything in a single online credit card payment.
The dramatic change in internet orders is very clear from the Expedia statistics. The number one destination in Israel for hotel room reservations via Expedia, is by far, Tel Aviv, with Jerusalem in second place, Treynker says. In the first half of 2014, the number of hotel room nights ordered through Expedia totaled 136,000 – 46% more than in the first half of 2013. This represents 50,000 single orders since the average order is for three or four nights. (Some 40% of those booking a hotel room in Israel over Expedia order a four- to eight-night stay, 24% book a one- to three-night stay, and 23% order a 10- to 18-night stay.) Over a third of Expedia orders for a hotel room in Israel come from the US. Since American visitors make up only 20% of the total visitors to Israel, according to the CBS, this indicates American travelers’ preference for internet reservations on Expedia.
Another interesting trend that can be observed when going over the internet statistics and general statistics is that Israel is not seen as a leisure destination – people do not come here to lie on a beach – but as a cultural destination. Tourists come to enjoy the night life in Tel Aviv, culinary diversity, desert landscapes, and old cities.

Old versus new in travel to Israel, from Armenian pilgrims in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Old City of Jerusalem to Segway tours in Jerusalem and from Catholic pilgrims in the traditional Friday procession along the Via Dolorosa in the Old City of Jerusalem to a bar in Tel Aviv.

As Belhassen notes, another trend, which all travel businesses should be aware of and take advantage of, is the last-minute reservation. This is a growing segment in the travel market. People are looking for last-minute deals. The combination of an amazing hotel offering a night at 50% off the regular price and a last-minute, low-cost flight is attracting an increasing number of travelers. If the destination happens to be on a traveler’s bucket list, the last-minute deal is an unexpected opportunity to fulfill a long-held desire to go see that place. Competition is, of course, getting tighter as more and more exotic destinations become more easily accessible.
In Israel, it is Tel Aviv that has adapted the fastest to the change in tourism. Many small boutique hotels, which offer a variety of bespoke services that tend to earn a hotel better ratings, are opening up. Private rooms to rent out via Airbnb are sprouting up all over the city (to the dismay of hoteliers who rightly complain of unfair competition as these rooms do not have to meet the same health, safety, and other regulations as a hotel). The accommodation options and the city’s vibrant culinary and cultural offerings are inspiring many to visit Tel Aviv. Naturally, details about numerous options in Tel Aviv can be found easily online. Hotels and tourism sites in other parts of Israel tend to have less of a presence on the internet or awareness of the need for it.
It also is Tel Aviv that rebounded first, within only a few months, from the fighting in the summer of 2014. Jerusalem is still struggling and the figures on travelers to the city are still problematic. The tourism industry in the south, which was hit the hardest by the Gaza conflict, still is struggling to recover, says Gal Greenberg, a licensed tour guide and advisor on tourism to local authorities in southern Israel.
When looking at the general picture, the internet clearly is the main catalyst for the move from group tourism to FITs. The groups are still responsible for the majority of travelers and the tourism industry still revolves around them. After all, to fill a 500-room hotel every night, night after night, one cannot rely on individual travelers. However, the growing number of individual tourists is giving Israel a new and much-needed boost. If the tourism industry in Israel manages to adapt to these trends, tourism will be able to generate much more than the $4.6 billion of income that travelers added to the Israeli economy in 2013. In the long run, as the world enters the age of tourism 2.0, the last-minute, low-cost, internet-savvy traveler has the potential to spur the Israel tourism industry to new heights that neither Kollek nor Ben-Gurion ever imagined.

2019 First Quarter Review

The road to Tokyo 2020 has seen many twists and turns since Olympic qualification started at the Hohhot Grand 2018 almost a year.

Last month we reviewed the story from 2018 as judo returns home this year for the Worlds and next year for the Olympics. -

What did I miss this year?

In 2019 the IJF has held seven competitions.

Grand Prix – Tel Aviv (Israel), Marrakech (Morocco), Tbilisi (Georgia), Antalya (Turkey)

Grand Slam – Paris (France), (Düsseldorf) Germany, Ekaterinburg (Russia)

The IJF circuit has been relentless this year with seven events in just four months. Countries have a finely turned performance programme with many setting out their full year’s schedule in January.

Some countries tend to stop in the same locations year after year due to various reasons including the degree of the offering of points and to avoid clashes with their domestic calendar.

Japan, hosts of the Worlds this year and a Grand Slam in Osaka, in addition to the Olympics next year, have participated in three Grand Slams the IJF has held in 2019.

The All Japan Judo Federation picked 23 judoka for Paris, 16 for Düsseldorf and 13 for the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam. Judo’s founding nation finished top in France and Germany and fourth in Russia with a much-changed team of young judoka and returning champions.

Let’s look at which nations have topped the medal table at the events so far:

Idalys ORTIZ (CUB) and Christa DEGUCHI (CAN) have starred on the Grand Slam stage with two wins apiece for a colossal points windfall. Sagi MUKI (ISR), HARASAWA Hisayoshi (JPN), Mayra AGUIAR (BRA) and Daria DAVYDOVA (RUS) are next in line and all are tied in second place on the Grand Slam stage with one gold and one silver medal.

Iryna KINDZERSKA (AZE), Anna Maria WAGNER (GER) and Alexandre IDDIR (FRA) have all won two Grand Prix gold medals this year which is the best return on the Grand Prix stage.

Double Olympic champion and 10-time world champion Teddy RINER (FRA) remains absent from the circuit. RINER, who is unbeaten since 2010, has not fought since 2017 and was registered to compete at both the Marrakech Grand Prix and the Antalya Grand Prix but withdrew at late notice on each occasion.

With fans and media understandably growing impatient to see the heavyweight icon in action, his coach Franck Chambilly told the Olympic channel that Teddy is at “50% of his form.”

RINER, 30, who is now ranked number 31 in the world, is expected to make a trip to Japan this month for a training camp and is currently registered to compete at the Baku Grand Slam in May.


World heavyweight champion Guram TUSHISHVILI (GEO) was due to make his anticipated return to competition at his home Grand Prix in Georgia and step out in front of his home fans.

However, it emerged that TUSHISHVILI had participated in another combat sport which is against the IJF rules, and was handed a two-month ban ahead of the Grand Prix.

The heavyweight owner of the red backpatch will be tipped to return this summer.

Japanese starlet ABE Uta, 18, who is the third youngest world champion of all time behind Daria BILODID (UKR) and TANI Ryoko (JPN), has not seen action since November.

The Osaka Grand Slam winner, who is undefeated since 2016, was due to take part in the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam in March but was ruled out through injury. UTA is not registered for any forthcoming events but is expected to return to the IJF circuit in May or June.

Double world champion ARAI won the Osaka Grand Slam in November but is yet to open her 2019 season on the IJF tour.

ARAI, who along with teammate ABE Uta has already been selected for the World Championships, has took control of the weight category since the retirement of Olympic champion TACHIMOTO Haruka.

ARAI is not currently registered for any upcoming IJF events but will expect to compete at least once before going for her third world crown in Tokyo in August.

Which athletes have participated in all seven IJF events this year?

Cuba-born 39-year-old Yahima RAMIREZ (POR) is the only judoka that has participated in all seven IJF events so far this year.

The London 2012 Olympian, who won European bronze 11 years ago in Lisbon, has travelled the world this year is search of Olympic qualification points.

The multiple-time Portuguese champion has won Grand Prix and Grand Slam honours but last stepped onto an IJF medal podium in 2017 with bronze at the Zagreb Grand Prix.

From seven IJF outings in 2019, RAMIREZ has earned three seventh-places with a contest record of five wins and 10 defeats.

Ever-active and always willing to travel, the -78kg competitor is already entered for the Baku Grand Slam next month and the European Games in June.

Which teams are in line for Tokyo 2020?

Japan are directly qualified as the host nation while Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Mongolia, Netherlands, Russia, South Korea, Spain and Ukraine are currently qualified with each country boasting judoka in the world’s top 18 in the -57kg, -70kg, +70kg, -73kg, -90kg and +90kg categories.

Seven countries have filled five of the required six slots and are in contention to qualify. Belgium, Cuba, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Poland, Portugal and Turkey are missing one judoka from a qualified place in the individual World Ranking List.

Click here for more information.

The IJF World Judo Tour returns from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 May with the Baku Grand Slam, the fourth Grand Slam of the year. Over 500 judoka from 50 nations are currently registered to compete.

Olympic champions Teddy RINER (FRA) and Lukas KRPALEK (CZE), current world champions Nikoloz SHERAZADISHVILI (ESP) and Clarisse AGBEGNENOU (FRA), Olympic silver medallist Rustan ORUJOV (AZE) and former world champion Avtandili TCHRIKISHVILI (GEO) and DORJSUREN Sumiya (MGL) are all slated to compete in Azerbaijan.

Holy guacamole: A new restaurant in Tel Aviv entirely dedicated to the blissful avocado

Chef Tal Dadon patiently awaits for avocado season, with a restaurant that serves delicacies based on the purity of the green fruit. Until that happens, we've picked some avocado dishes you can enjoy in Tel Aviv right now, to calm the craze

Around world, avocado restaurants are a legit thing: The Avocado Show in Amsterdam specializes in avocado dishes, including avocado rolls and hamburgers. In the United States there are a ton of avocado-centric restaurants, and in Brooklyn, there's the thriving avocado bar, Avocaderia. But one of the most iconic dishes from the big apple is Café Gitane's avocado toast that includes avocado, lemon juice, olive oil, and chili flakes on a seven-grain toast.

So far, Tel Aviv has lagged behind, but next week it will have a chance to redeem itself with the little help of a new avocado restaurant, which will be helmed by chef Tal Dadon, Chen Shoshan (a graphic designer) and Erez Friedenzon (who managed the Maoz bar). They went on a study tour at New York's Avocaderia, Amsterdam's The Avocado Show, and Berlin's Avocado Club, and then decided to open a café-restaurant in Tel Aviv dedicated entirely to the humble avocado. The large-scale space they rent on Lilienblum Street was designed by the architecture firm This is IT (that also designed Mansura restaurant) with large arches, bright marble surfaces and pink stone that together emphasize the shades of an avocado with chairs and other novelties.

Chef Tal Dadon's menu, who worked in Anastasia, Zakaim and Nanuchka, will (surprsingly!) not be vegan and will offer a selection of dishes such as Japanese avocado pancakes, a variety of avocado gravies, and American ice cream based solely on the avocado.

Watch the video: Ислам Итляшев, Султан Лагучев Сборник лучших песен 2021 (May 2022).