a different side of Israel

Tag: Tourism

New: The Port at Night

All Tel Avivians know how pleasant the port is at night. A beautiful waterfront view with great restaurants and shopping. Well, this nightlife is about to spice up a little more. From now on there will be live television broadcasts and advertisements on the buildings.

According to Ynet, NIS 30 million (roughly $8 million) has been invested in the project that was spearheaded by the Atarim company.

Aratim develops Tel Aviv’s tourist sites and is co-owned by the Tel Aviv Municipality as well as the Tourism Ministry.

According to reports, the company will be setting up a night film screening and culture complex in the northern part of the port.

Itamar Shimoni, CEO of Atarim told Yedioth Ahronoth’s economic supplement, Mamon:

“The investment in the entire compound is estimated at NIS 100 million ($26 million), while the film screening complex will cost some NIS 30 million. The first stage of the works will begin in November…The complex is currently being tiled with a wood deck on which the port will hold concerts and multimedia events…This will be one of the biggest recreation centers in Israel. The plan is to hold cultural events, rock concerts, art exhibitions, video-art, etc….We want to turn the complex into a recreation, culture and leisure complex for the entire family. We are interested in bringing more people in the morning and afternoon, and not just as a night compound.”

Tourism in the Jewish State

If not because of a de facto war with Hamas, then due to the economic crisis, 2009 saw a considerable lull in tourism; while 2008 welcomed 3 million visitors to the Jewish State’s shining shore. Proudly, Israel’s tourism minister, Stas Misezhnikov, announced that Israel received 3.45 million tourists in 2010. A recent record!

According to Misezhnikov, one-fifth of the tourists came from the United States, followed by visitors from France, Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany. More than two-thirds were Christian and a shocking 3 percent were Jewish.

Meanwhile, entrepreneur and former chief operating officer of EasyJet, Edward Winter, plans to launch a new airline, “Jet Israel,” offering low-cost flights to the Holy Land.

Winter, who recently met with Israeli aviation officials and Stas Misezhenikov, claims he can jump start an aviation revolution in Israel, comparable to EasyJet’s success in Europe.

Winter, as part of negotiations, requested that Israel provide the airline with a safety net. He insists on a financial compensation should the company book occupancies between 70% and 90%. Occupancy above the latter percentage, will not reward him an compensation.

The Israeli Tourism Ministry has already drafted financial models for the new airline and consulted officials of the Finance Ministry concerning the safety net, estimated to reach approximately NIS 100 million (about $28 million).

Winter’s other baby, EasyJet, Europe’s largest low-cost airline, operates flights to Israel from London, Geneva and Basel. It has not managed, however, to offer cheap tickets at the target price. EasyJet will operate flights from Tel Aviv to Basel 3 times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; flights from Tel Aviv depart at 1:40 pm and arrive in Basel at 5:20 pm; flights from Basel depart at 7:55 am and arrive in Tel Aviv at 12:55 p.m. The starting fares from Tel Aviv to Basel are 39.99 euros (roughly $53) and from Basel to Tel Aviv 42 euros ($56).

During a press conference to bid farewell to 2010, Misezhenikov told the press:

“EasyJet is not a low-cost company. Instead of pulling the prices of all the other airlines down, it pushed them up…We need a real low-cost company with truly cheap prices. We are formulating ideas to operate low-cost companies that fly directly to Israel and are examining the subject with Israeli and foreign airline companies…”

Misezhnikov added that he would like to expand the marketing of Israel to destinations such as India and South Korea, both bearing large Evangelical Christians populations.

Email from Berlin


We are well and thank you for the recommendation…

Berlin is a beautiful and edgy city. There is lots to see here. We went to 4 museums so far and today we went for a walk in their Tiergarten park, sort of like central park, beautiful and bigger actually.
The city is huge, its 900 sq. kilometers and has 3.6 million citizens. It also gets 9 million tourists a year…

We took the bus city tour pass, like we always do, and we got a feel for the city. Of course we also got the 3 day museum pass so we can go to as many museums as we want in 3 days. It’s amazing to see how Hitler and the Nazi party fucked this city up in every aspect possible. The city zoo, one of the biggest collection with over 4500 species was cut down to 70. The national museums were all but destroyed and the works of arts they had collected were taken by the allied forces or destroyed. In the center of the city there is a church which was bombed and they intentionally leave it like that, the roof and towers are in pieces and they keep it that way to remember. And of course, the huge mark of shame – the Berlin Wall, that cut this city in half and is still noticeable today.

The city is young but you see older people who have a good life. They go out to restaurants and enjoy the city.

The weather is beautiful, fall and changing colors. Yesterday was sunny and you see the locals all run out and sit along the Spree river and enjoy the last days of sun before the winter. The park was all orange and yellow and it was beautiful.

Yesterday, we went to a shopping areas called Hackensack Market in the Mitte district, what once was East Berlin, and it was great. You walk around between residential buildings in courtyards and each with little boutiques and specialty stores. The area is an East Berlin revamped suburb, young and edgy. We finished the evening in a good Thai restaurant..

We are staying in the Charlottenberg district, right off the Kurfustedam. West Berlin’s very high end street. Sort of the 5th avenue or Madison Avenue of Berlin. We are staying in a very modern hotel called XXX hotel and on the corner of our street is Cartier. The street is 3.5 KM and you can find every major fashion designer and brand on this street. XXX was very busy and visited them all 🙂

We enjoy a great breakfast every morning, salmon, cold meats and cheese, fresh bread and eggs and bacon. We have Wireless Internet everywhere in the hotel and its really great. When you walk into the corridor the lights turn on to conserve energy and the room looks on to a green treed courtyard (since we are here for a week they upgraded our room).

The first place we went to was the Jewish Museum, interesting place and the 3rd most popular museum in the city.. Its a significant part of the Museum trail here. German kids were there and they are all taken there to see and learn. Some don’t want to be there but at least they are taken there. Berlin had 180,000 Jews when the war started. Today there are 14,000 Jews… when you go to the museum and you see some of the pictures and stories of Jews in the city, you start to recognize the names of the streets they mention.. It’s eery..

You come across the effects of the war and that period of shame all the time. We went to the Helmut Newton exhibition, It’s Berlin’s photography museum. He was a Berliner Jew who left to Australia and became one of the best known photographers in the world. He lived in Paris, Monte Carlo and LA but not Berlin. His mother got him out of the country after things got dangerous in Berlin when he was young… Must really burn their ass..

Everything in Berlin is under construction! I mean everything.. They are building all the time and everywhere. It is once again the Capital of Germany and the Bundestag is the parliament. It’s also the festival of lights this week so they light up the main buildings at night and its beautiful. One thing that was a little creepy was the Brandenburg Gate. The gate with the 4 horses at the top and what once had the Nazi emblem. I saw a photo of it in 1945 right at the end of the war, it was completely destroyed and what’s interesting is that the Berlin wall was a few hundred yards from it so it was also in no mans land for 40 years..

When you walk through the areas where the Berlin wall ran, there is a double cobble stone belt in the road to show you the imaginary line of the wall. It’s a permanent scar across the city’s face, like someone slashed it and left the mark. Again, the result of Nazi regime and past mistakes.

All this makes Berlin an interesting city to visit. Food is great and its not very expensive. There are also lots of Israelis and a few times when we spoke, Germans asked if we were Israelis and recognized the lingo.

Yep.. The Jews are back motherfuckers ….

Love you,

Coming Soon: Hittin’ The Links in the Holy Land

How will Israeli work to further entice worldwide tourists, to come over and play? How about warming up to the world of golfers!

The Tourism Ministry and the Israel Land Administration are planning an NIS 760 million grant, for the building of 16 golf courses across the country, over the next 15 years.

The golf courses could see a 20% increase in hotel occupancy and the average amount of money being spent by tourists may double from $1,000 to $2,000. Sounds like a pretty worthwhile investment.

Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov says that encouraging golf tourism will encourage both local and foreign investments. The goal is to get golf aficionados to visit the Jewish Country, every year – helping it to compete with other Mediterranean Basin nations.

The Tourism Ministry and the Israel Land Administration will begin scouting for sites to build courses. So far proposed initial sites are at Eilat, the Dead Sea, Tiberias, Hatzor HaGilit, Savyon and Rishon Lezion.

Well kids…It looks like it’s time to polish the clubs and work the kinks out of that swing.

Virtually Masada

Passover is a a great time for traveling and trips in Israel and the weather is ideal. If you are however like me, sitting in front of a computer this is a pretty good way to checkout Masada virtually!!
Masada Virtual Tour

This is what the Israeli Tourism Board thinks of us

Do you think that’s an honest depiction?

Think Israel from Israel on Vimeo.

Turkish Elections & Israeli Tourism

Turkish Elections The Turkish elections were watched here and there was some concern over the massive victory of the Islamic party. After all with Iran next door and the Islamic fundamentalism taking over regimes and countries all over – we wanted Turkey to remain the fun country its been.

Israelis travel to Turkey often and despite the strong Muslim presence, there are good relations and a great deal of tolerance for the Israeli tourists. Any one that knows Israeli tourists would understand how significant that statement is…

The Turkish Ambassador to Israel said that “Turkey will continue to be a popular destination for Israeli tourists of course, we are honored to host them in our country”. Moshik seems to think so as well 🙂

Discover Israel, Please

Israel Tourism
Not so long ago, people around the world believed Israelis ride camels to work. Nowadays, in the globalization era we seem to be living in, you have TV and satellite broadcasts from all over the world, or even Google Earth to tell you exactly how every desolate place on the face of the earth looks like.

The only problem is that for so many people Israel is still in the context of CNN’s “Breaking News: Middle East burning” (so soothing to see absolutely nothing about Israel on their front page these days!). And though Israel is in a sense “where the grass is green and the girls are pretty” and has progressed tremendously and gained very good reputation in the technological and medical fields, the immediate association with Israel is not tranquility and tourism – it is rather hostility and terrorism…

This week the Minister of Tourism Yitzhak Hertzog is calling for an urgent meeting regarding the crisis in the local tourism market, with an alarming 40% decrease of incoming tourists in 2006, mainly due to the recent war. The plan is to run an intense 3-year campaign (at the cost of NIS 50 million per year), targeting mainly North America and Western Europe.

A lot of money-related issues are involved here, of course: whether the campaign really needs that much money, whether the state of Israel shouldn’t try to first heal itself and only then invite tourists in, and whether the real problem is actually the high costs of flights and accommodation…

But tell me something, is New York, for example, less expensive or less dangerous? It’s all about reputation. And thinking of the globalization era again, I sometimes just wish that some day people in other countries will go to a store and the seller will be convincing them by saying: “take this product, trust me, it was made in Israel!”

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