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a different side of Israel

Category: Travel (page 2 of 7)

Travel and tourism to Israel, photos and personal experiences when touring Israel, places and people to see.

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

Waltz in Gaza

This video was made by Yoni Goodman, one of the animators that worked on Waltz with Bashir:

Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement calls on the State of Israel to fully open Gaza’s crossings and to allow the real victims of the closure – 1.5 million human beings – the freedom of movement necessary to realize their dreams and aspirations.

Northern Exposure

We’re finally having some serious rain here in Israel. It won’t last long, but it’s nice to have a bit of real winter before the dawn of April.

If you like skiing, then this is the perfect time of year to go north to Mt. Hermon.

While winter travels are usually being done in the southern Negev desert, it’s about time to rediscover the beautiful north.

A Prelude to the Purim Carnival

Brazil is celebrating its renowned Rio Carnival this week. It’s a gigantic festival of dance, costumes, and music, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors from all around the world. At the same time, just across the Western border, Bolivia is also celebrating its very own Carnaval de Oruro. Two South American nations are competing for attention, but my friends, the true carnival is yet to come….

Mark your calendars: The Purim Carnival (“Had Lo Yada”) in Holon is happening in less than two weeks from now, on Tuesday, March 10, starting at twelve o’clock in the noon.

4,000 performers will take on the main streets of Holon, accompanied by large and colorful displays of animals and politicians, including US President Barack Obama, and Israeli President Shimon Peres! It is the biggest Purim celebration in Israel, and one that has become a favorite tradition. So prepare your costumes, dress up your family and friends, and go out to celebrate this Purim in the sunny streets of Holon.

Klone Yourself in Tel Aviv

I’ve been seeing it all over town. A brownish alien-like creature, with green eyes, a long snout, and sharp teeth. Sometimes it’s just a head; sometimes the head is connected to a larger body — which may be male, female, human, or animal. I find it in different locations, in different postures, but there’s always a signature at the bottom of the graffiti. It reads “Klone“.

If you’ve been to Tel Aviv in the past year, you’ve probably seen this creature, even if you can’t recall it at the moment. It blends with the urban landscape like a shadow that barely escapes our conscious mind.

Photo by Whistling in the Dark via Flickr

Photos by Whistling in the Dark via Flickr

Who is Klone? What is he trying to say through these grotesque-style creatures?

The Face of KloneAccording to Wiki-TLV, Klone is a 25 year-old artist who currently works in Tel Aviv, and came to Israel from Ukraine at the age of 11. The City Mouse magazine interviewed the guy over a year ago. In that interview, he revealed he has a love / hate relationship with the city. Personally, I think this state of emotion echoes well in his graffiti works.

Other prominent street artists Klone often collaborates with include Know Hope and Zero Cents.

For a collection of his works, check out this Flickr gallery. It’s interesting to note how his creatures have apparently morphed with time, from the cute white imps, to the more somber wolf-human buffoons.

Tel Aviv’s Obsessed with Sushi

As the thunders of war echo from the South, residents of Tel Aviv continue their daily routine.

Two unrelated anecdotes:

  1. I happened to hear a 90 y/o woman speaks a week ago. She currently lives in Tel Aviv, and still volunteers in the Civil Guard. She had experienced the horrors of war in Poland back in 1939, and then lived to see all of Israel’s wars throughout its 60 years of existence. During this fascinating story of hers, she was telling us how she had escaped with her family to Tel Aviv during the War of Independence in 1948. They had been coming from some other town (I don’t recall which one) and when they arrived at Tel Aviv, they were surprised to see people singing and dancing in coffee shops. “Don’t you know there’s a war going on?”, they has asked people around them. Well, apparently not much has changed in this context in the past 60 years. Dear Tel Aviv residents, you’re in good company.
  2. Israeli far-right-wing politician Avigdor Lieberman was caught saying last week Do to Hamas what the US did to Japan. I believe he was talking about a nuclear holocaust, but let’s not forget yet another serious effect the American involvement in Japan has caused. I’m talking about Sushi of course. Thanks to America’s warm embrace of the Japanese cuisine, this seaweed/rice/salmon delicacy has spread the world. As a resident of Tel-Aviv myself, there isn’t a single day that goes by without my mailbox being infiltrated by a colorful throwaway that notifies me of — yet another — Sushi restaurant that opens in town.

Concerning four rockets does the Torah speak

כנגד ארבעה בנים דיברה התורה: הסקאד, הקטיושה, הקסאם, והגראד.

Concerning four rockets does the Torah speak: Scud, Katyusha, Qassam, and Grad.

Today we can pretty much divide the state of Israel to geographical districts according to the type of missiles that fall there.

Here’s a crude illustration:

Map of Israel divided by Missile type

Gaza – The Information War

The war in Gaza and its surrounding Israeli cities is waging still, with no clear end in sight. Yet in this age of abundant technology and streaming information, there is also a propaganda war simultaneously going on via television networks, personal blogs, and YouTube videos. One enthusiastic even programmed a simple video game to demonstrate the war tactics, as he sees it.

This is a brief collection of home-made videos, news briefings, and the aforementioned notorious game.

Danny Gillerman, Israel’s former ambassador to the UN speaks about the war, 12/28/08:

“Raid Gaza” Flash Game – Gain Extra Points for Bombing a Hospital:

Annie Lennox on the Humanitarian perspective:

Qassams on Europe, a fictional cartoon:

2 Qassams are launched while CNN’s Paula Hancocks reports from the border:

When the alarm goes off, people in Sderot have 15 seconds to find cover:

Taglit – Birthright in Financial Hardships

Taglit – Birthright is the famous project that brings diaspora Jews to Israel for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to get to know and love Israel. This free trip is free of charge, and any Jew is entitled to join this initiative once in his / her life.

However, the global economic crisis has affected the Taglit project, and its future is now vague and unclear.

Life in Beer Sheva

It’s a terrifying sound. I remember hearing it during the first Gulf War. You close yourself in a room, and pray the alarm ends without a shocking boom. Complete helplessness.

The Missiles Are Not Sophisticated, Israel is Simply Miniscule

For the first time ever, Palestinian rockets have reached the city of Be’er-Sheva. Until today, Be’er-Sheva was never being regarded as a “border town”. If you look at the map of Israel, it sits right at the center of the map. It is also the seventh largest city in Israel.

Beer Sheva

But the truth is Be’er Sheva is less than 40 KM (25 Miles) away from the Gaza Strip (situated to the left of the map, by the sea). That’s all: 40 KM. In a country so small, the “home front” is merely a tiny bubble — one that is liable to burst anytime.

On the other side: if Israel is only a tiny line on the global map, well, Gaza is an invisible dot, where there is no “home front” at all.

When 2 hostile nations are packed together inside a tiny patch of land, the conflict affects everyone, anywhere.

Qassam Range by the Home Front Command

Qassam Range by the Home Front Command

Coming to Israel? Want to experience the land? Excavate!

There are many exciting Archeological excavations across Israel that are scheduled for 2009.

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs is inviting volunteers from around the world to join these exciting expeditions.

The work is physical, and it is done mostly outdoors in locations in the desert or near the sea. The nearest excavation is set to begin next week in Ein Gedi, and all other planned excavations will take place in the Spring and Summer of 2009.

For more information, visit this website.
Notice the page says the following: Some expeditions offer credit courses from sponsoring institutions.

Ein Gedi

Qassam Rockets — Until When?

These numbers don’t include statistics from December 2008 (this month).

Can you imagine the US, France, or India being hit by several hundred rockets a year? Can you imagine them being hit by even a single one?!

I’m not saying I have a solution for this situation. I’m just saying it’s unthinkable.

House of Conflict, House of Peace

News reports in the English language refer to is as the “disputed house” (Ynet), the “Hebron house” (Jerusalem Post), or “house of Contention” (Ha’aretz).

We each have our own point of view; an adopted narrative. Who’s right and who’s wrong? Who started it all? Who’s trying to capitalize the course of events?

The truth is I haven’t got a clue. The Hebrew language is fighting itself. Is it the “House of Conflict” or the “House of Peace”? From where I stand, all I see is conflict in Hebron, no peace in sight.

Acco Festival Returns in Hanukkah

After being canceled earlier this year, the Acco Festival of Alternative Israeli Theatre is back in business. Originally meant to run during Succot, it is now scheduled for Hanukkah, during December 22 – 25.

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