Tel Aviv and Jerusalem

by on April 17, 2008 at 12:00 pm

I have been coming to Israel since 1970 and most of us who are Vatik (veteran) Israel visitors are well aware of the Tel Aviv/Jerusalem divide within Israel. In a sense each represents a different vision of the values of the State of Israel?kind of like how we environmentally aware/self-actualizing selves in Northern California view our water-wasting, materialistic brethren in Southern California :-).

Tel Aviv is a secular, Western, fashionable urban center striving to be hip, cool, thoroughly modern and global. Jerusalem is a religious matrix for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It is a magnet for tourists who seek spiritual connection. Yet, the city’s citizens, both Arab and Ultra- Orthodox, are becoming poorer, more strife-riven, and divided.

My experience this visit in Tel Aviv, where we have spent most of our time, has been very positive. Going through the historic neighborhoods of Neve Zedek and Neve Shalom (areas built before municipal Tel Aviv in the late 1800’s) and the new hip district by the port, I can see that renovation and historic preservation have begun to be taken seriously. Reminds me of SOMA (South of Market ) in San Francisco. Most of the tech development is in Tel Aviv and most of the bloggers, entrepreneurs, and VC’s we have met are based in Tel Aviv.

This time I only had a day in Jerusalem (you can see my blog entries for extended time in Jerusalem in jefffinisrael.wordpress.com

Much of our tour in Jerusalem is beautifully documented by the other bloggers. Jerusalem did its magic for the participants and some were visibly moved. Hopefully, Jerusalem will be able to benefit from transition to peace. But I am not holding my breath.

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