(This article was first published in September 2013. It is being republished in response to the current rockets attacks on Tel Aviv from Gaza.)
I was born and raised in America and am a total patriot through and through. Often I am asked why I left a life of convenience in America and moved to Tel Aviv, where for the past week I’ve kept a gas mask with me just in case the war in Syria transcends the border into Israel. Schlepping a gas mask around the city is anything but convenient. The truth is there isn’t really an answer, it’s more like a gut feeling. It’s like trying to express to your friends why you’re in love with your boyfriend, some things you just can’t explain. That is precisely why I love Tel Aviv; in my gut I know that we’re soul mates.
I could tell you that on every street corner you can find a man with the freshest of fruits ready to squeeze you some juice next to a jewelry stand where an up-and-coming designer will create a piece just for you. The beach is always in walking distance and so is a gym. Even on those lazy days when you don’t feel like walking there are buses, trains and taxis so owning a car is a completely obsolete concept. At any given time there are simultaneous concerts, plays and comedy shows taking place, many of which are free in Rabin Square or a park. The city is ideal for students and young professionals alike. The people are so warm and accepting that you can’t help but fall in love with the society’s charm. Tel Aviv is amongst the most liberal cities in the world. In preparation for Gay Pride Week even the crosswalks are re-painted in rainbow colors.
Tel Aviv is the ultimate party place. Bars and clubs line all the major streets of the city and often the street itself becomes a party. Imagine Miami’s Lincoln Road shutting down for the day, taken over by DJs, bands, food stands, vendors and LOTS of people coming together just to have a good time and celebrate the sunshine! It’s always city sponsored and it’s always a different street. My two favorites were the Rothschild Street Party and the time that the city opened all of the art museums free of charge with DJs and a full bar. In short Tel Aviv has everything you need from farmers markets to art fairs alongside the huge skyscrapers. Known as the “Silicon Valley” of the Middle East for all of the very successful startups that now dominate on Wall Street, its no wonder that a book was even written on Tel Aviv’s awesomeness when it comes to innovation. (Read Start Up Nation) Amongst the bustle, busy streets and countless coffee shops there is an element of magic in the air.
So why did I leave Florida for Tel Aviv…I don’t know, why do you love your boyfriend?