Sunday, February 12, 2017

Getting the Most of Tel Aviv in a Short Visit

Winter (January) sunset on the Tel Aviv promonade (walk along the Medeterennian) - © 2017 D-A Vider
When coming to Tel Aviv on a business or family visit, take an extra day to experience something special. Israel is one of the most misunderstood place on earth. I remember an American Ivy League professor visiting Tel Aviv. She was so afraid to leave the hotel for security reasons. Told of horrific violent acts by Israeli Defense Forces soldiers (IDF) and the Apartheid treatment of Israeli Arabs, she chose to avoid street life and stay in her hotel. A friend asked me to simply take her on a walk along the beach so she can see the city. After an hour of seeing bathers, from bikinis to burkas, she wondered what the city really felt like. In two hours her preconceived notion of the horrific stories told in the US diapered (some was obviously mass media impressions). A friend (Sam the man, from previous blog posts) just reminded me of a very similar story. One of his old friends came to see why Sam was living here after having a perfectly great upper-middle class life in Ohio. My advice? If you are in Tel Aviv and can add a day to your trip, see the city for yourself. If you have seen Jerusalem or came for business outside the city, don't let this opportunity pass you by. 
No matter how many people tell you this is a wonderful city. Regardless of the other places you see in Israel. Tel Aviv is different. It's the cultural and secular center of Israel. Unlike other central cities, Tel Aviv is unique. Jerusalem and Haifa are not "smaller, older" versions. To some Israelis the central region is the only one which truly represents our modern lifestyle. My recommendation is to see something you like (shopping, dining, culture, business) and something else that you just want to see for yourself. If you are interested in your profession, contact someone on Linked-In or an organization. A lawyer and a physician visited the local court house and hospital and both had a change of mind. Neither thought Israel was not a modern society, but both gained meaningful understanding of what Israelis have done in the last few years. If you want to see how the commercial sector here compares to your home town, get in touch with a local businessman. Two realtors one from the US and another from France made such contacts and learned about the opportunities and working life here. Simply seeing the city life from shops to buildings to museums to restaurants will also give you an idea how Israel lives and works. Most of all, have fun!

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