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Tel Aviv
"Postcards from Israel - Postcards from America" ^ | July 30, 2010 | Ari Bussel

Posted on 07/30/2010 9:50:09 AM PDT by Ari Bussel

Tel Aviv by Ari Bussel

The second capital of Israel is Tel Aviv. For diplomats, Jerusalem is not recognized as Israel’s capital, or they would be stationed there. The USA State Department lists Jerusalem without a country affiliation, alone among all nations.

Tel Aviv was just ranked ninth among the best beach-cities in the world. Tripoli, Lebanon, was also a beach destination until the Christians were driven out. Gaza could also be, but its inhabitants do not want any semblance of normalcy or success. All three are along the Eastern shores of the Mediterranean, a relatively short distance from one another.

Tel Aviv symbolizes modern, Western Israel. It is alive around the clock and full of culture for every taste. It was spared the missiles from Hizbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, but it is promised a very special treatment next time. The missiles are all more advanced, longer range and of greater accuracy.

So let us see what is there to safeguard in Tel Aviv and what would need to be rebuilt if there were another major coordinated attack against Israel.

More than thirty years ago there was only one high rise in Tel Aviv, the Shalom Department Store.

Then, twenty years ago, I worked at what was then considered the tallest building in the Middle East. I spent this afternoon walking from one side of Tel Aviv to the other. This may be an astonishing fit for those living in Tel Aviv, but anyone coming from the United States realizes the true dimensions and how small everything is in Israel.

I concentrated on the new high-rise buildings, both residential and commercial. In the former, there are condominiums costing upwards of five million dollars (Israel’s Minister of Defense lives in one, prompting many to wonder how a former Chief of Staff affords such luxury). Among the latter, the most recognizable would be the Azrieli Towers. They are comprised of three buildings leaving the following footprints: a rectangle, a triangle and a circle. Once, this was a dumpster, today it is worth billions.

Once there was a central bus station (the “old station”), full of passengers arriving in the center from throughout Israel. It is now an empty lot awaiting a building. A short walking distance (to Americans) from there is another huge empty surface lot that was once the Wholesale Produce Market. For those who are looking for investment opportunity, it is time to invest in Tel Aviv.

Old buildings are torn down and huge, beautiful high-rise buildings are being constructed where they once stood. A new skyline is being formed, from nothing to one that will be an international destination. Indeed, there will be slight hiccups, including missile attacks, but Israel and Tel Aviv are resilient.

It was just shy of a century ago that my father’s great uncle came to then Palestine. He sold his factories and wanted to invest and was shown the sands of Tel Aviv, then empty, like most of Israel. When he heard about the Kibbutzim way of life, he, as a capitalist, decided against investing his money. He returned instead to what would become the ovens of the Holocaust.

It is the same Tel Aviv that has now become an amazing international destination and is now changing its character to a cosmopolitan city. Come and visit, and if you can afford, invest.

As I walked, I compared the buildings of the city’s pioneers with those we once considered large and beautiful. They now pale in comparison to 21st Century construction. Cranes and more cranes, beginnings of new projects can be seen everywhere. The buildings are impressive, reflecting architectural creativity that has translated and transformed reality.

It is very expensive to live in Tel Aviv. It is prohibitively costly to buy a unit there, but people, it seems, have money. Otherwise, how would everything be full and the demand for more unsatisfied?

In Tel Aviv, young people share units, two, three and four in an apartment. However, there is a definitely a sector of Israeli society that can well afford the high-priced new construction and is looking for more.

Then there is the section of society that is usually invisible. They build, they serve, they clean and they take care. They do all the jobs we do not like to do. As I continued my walk I was suddenly facing Asians walking toward me. I took out the camera and started taking pictures. There were Africans, foreign workers and refugees from Sudan and elsewhere. I passed stores, the likes of which I have never seen in Israel, but are common elsewhere around the world.

A group seated at a “café” mid-street started shouting at me, “why are you taking pictures?” I quickly hastened my pace, my heart pounding. There is poverty mixed with people who are very hard working, but do not belong to Israeli society. There are also destitute people and prostitutes, drug addicts and drug dealers. A paramedic was returning to his ambulance and told me, “This is light, tomorrow morning you won’t be able to walk here, through Neve Shaanan.”

Tel Aviv is a city of culture and nightlife, a wonderful beach and European cafes. It is a city of bicycles and pedestrians, of old people of Tel Aviv of distant memory, a generation disappearing, and young people who thrive and enjoy living in this miracle along the shores of the Mediterranean.

It is no wonder Israel and Tel Aviv were both ranked very high during the last few days by different polls. Remember, it is the very same Israel that also has holy, Biblical places. It is the one country that is home for Intel and Cisco. It is a tiny land, a homeland to Jewish People throughout the world and surrounded by those who want it eliminated. Instead, they should come to visit, get acquainted with the Israelis and the world of visitors drawn into its midst. They will find Israelis are good people and may even discover peace is much more beneficial than hatred and war.

Come visit Tel Aviv, but do not forget to venture to Israel’s true and other capital—Jerusalem.

[Pictures associated with the above story are available at]

### In the series “Postcards from Israel—Postcards from America,” Ari Bussel and Norma Zager invite readers to view and experience an Israel and her politics through their eyes, an Israel visitors rarely discover.

This point—and often—counter-point presentation is sprinkled with humor and sadness and attempts to tackle serious and relevant issues of the day. The series began in 2008, appears both in print in the USA and on numerous websites and is followed regularly by readership from around the world.

© “Postcards from Israel—Postcards from America,” July, 2010 Contact:

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Israel; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: constructionboom; foreignworkforce; israel; jerusalem; telaviv

1 posted on 07/30/2010 9:50:12 AM PDT by Ari Bussel
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To: Ari Bussel

Thanks for the post, Ari. Shalom.

2 posted on 07/30/2010 7:19:38 PM PDT by TopQuark
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