MONDAY, JUNE 2: After Anna and Carli explored the Carmel Market, the three of us walked to Jaffa and Old Jaffa to check out their flea market and shuk. It’s starting to get quite hot out.
TUESDAY, JUNE 3: Anna, Carli and I walked for a few hours along the beach promenade up to the Tel Aviv Port, then ventured back to the Carmel Market (shuk) which was packed, because Tuesday evening would begin the holiday of Shavuot. We got separated in the throngs of people, so I finished my grocery shopping while Carli and Anna attempted to bargain for a bag Carli really wanted.
That evening Carli had to leave to return to New Zealand for the summer. Anna and I sat on the beach and talked. Being so close to the beach is one of the things I will miss most about Israel. Especially spending relaxing evenings watching the sunset.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 4: I met Tzipi on the beach early in the morning, then returned to the apartment because it was getting unbearable hot and humid. We spent most of the day in the apartment and ventured to the beach in the early evening. It felt wonderful to walk in the sea to cool off. The beach wasn’t very crowded and I even attempted this popular paddle ball beach game with Anna.
THURSDAY, JUNE 5: Not as hot today so Anna and I walked for over over 5 hours exploring areas we had not yet seen, especially beautiful Rothschild Blvd. which is lined with lovely apartments and many of the famous Bauhaus architecture that gives Tel Aviv the name of the “White City”.
“It is perhaps ironic that Tel Aviv houses the largest number of buildings designed in an architectural style that developed in pre-Nazi Germany, a style that came to an abrupt end in Germany, with the Nazi’s rise to power. This architectural style is so prevalent in Tel Aviv that it almost seems as though it were a local style, but it is not.” Quote taken from the Jewish Virtual Library.
We took in a visit to the Hagana Museum. The Haganah was a paramilitary organization when Palestine was under the British Mandate, but later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.
We had lunch at a famous, and very crowded restaurant known as Benedict’s and continued our walk to Rabin Square, where there is a memorial to the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin who was assassinated in 1995.
We explored a bit of Dizengoff street, which is crowded with stores, cafes, and LOTS of people, then headed back to the apartment with a brief stop in the Carmel Market where we found that coming late in the day, rather than early in the morning, seems to afford one better prices !!
FRIDAY, JUNE 6: Went to the Nahalat Binyamin Arts & Crafts Fair near the Carmel shuk. There were some lovely items, especially jewelry. We also stopped to hear a famous Israeli folksinger – Miri Aloni, – who performs there every Friday.
Her most popular hit from the late 1960s, “Shir La’Shalom,” suddenly became a reminder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination and the deep social rift that continues to plague Israeli society. Even now, over 14 years later, the memory of that night brings tears to her bright blue eyes.
“I was invited to sing ‘Shir La’Shalom’ at the ‘Yes to peace, no to violence’ peace rally, which was itself very successful. None of the 150,000 people who came to support Rabin’s way of making peace knew what was going to happen afterward,” she explained. “It was not the first time I shared a stage with Rabin, but it was the first time I succeeded in getting him to join me, because he was shy, and singing was not his forte.” The applause of the crowd as they heard Rabin’s voice was deafening. In the euphoria, the normally stoic Rabin even gave Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres a warm embrace.
Aloni remembers shaking hands with Lea Rabin after the performance and asking her to take good care of Yitzhak for the Israeli people. “‘I’m doing the best I can,’ she answered.” Shortly after the rally ended, Aloni and her family heard the shots. Her husband, a former commander in the first IDF parachute unit, knew they were real and ordered Aloni and their two sons to hide behind a car. “I get choked up when I talk about it, but I was so naïve to think that it was not real shots. I thought someone made a joke and shot from a toy gun,” she said. A copy of the song’s lyrics was later found in Rabin’s jacket pocket, soaked with blood.
Anna and I then shoved our way thru the shuk, which is crazy on Fridays, to buy the few groceries we needed.
Friday night we took a long stroll along the beach to the Port of Tel Aviv where we had dinner at another lovely outdoor café overlooking the water. A pleasure I will truly miss.
SATURDAY JUNE 7: Anna, myself and 5 million other people went to the beach. Being Shabbat, the beach was packed. The surfers were out in force because of the high waves. A beautiful sight. We managed about two hours in the hot sun, among the crowds, before we went back to the apartment for a Shabbat rest.
At night, friend Tzipi joined us as we returned to the beach to watch another lovely sunset. While there are still a lot of people there in the evening, it is much less crowded and noisy.
Tzipi then walked with us to Bialik street to see the lovely home of the late “Father of Hebrew Poetry”, Chaim Nachman Bialik. The home, which is now a museum, was built in 1927 and is just lovely. Check out photos of The Bialik House, Tel Aviv, on the internet. At the end of Bialik street is the first City Hall, all white and lit up in the evening sky. Exquisite architecture.
Bialik Street also includes the Rubin Museum !!!
Anna and I finished the evening at a great pasta restaurant in an alley near the shuk where one finds lots of great little eateries.