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Rothschild Boulevard

Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv is named after the famous Jewish philanthropist, Baron Edmond James de Rothschild who generously contributed to Israel in the early days of the country's establishment. Sderot Rothschild was established just over 100 years ago and runs from the Neve Tzedek neighborhood in the southwest to its northern point of Habima Square and theatre. The boulevard is famed for its up-market stores, trendy restaurants, and beauty. Rothschild Boulevard has a distinctly French feel with its wide central tree-lined pedestrian strip with bike lanes, benches, and public art. During the day the bustling boulevard is frequented by professionals from the adjacent financial district; locals enjoying brunch; people taking their dogs for a walk; pensioners relaxing under the trees or playing petanque and people browsing the books in the outdoor street library. At night Rothschild turns into a lively nightlife area with many top pubs, dining venues, and clubs.Rothschild Boulevard's Outstanding ArchitectureRothschild Boulevard is a great place to see some of Tel Aviv's renowned UNESCO-listed Bauhaus architecture. On the corner of Herzl Street and Rothschild Boulevard is a house built in 1909 by one of Tel Aviv's 60 founding families, the Eliavson family. At the corner of Allenby and Rothschild, you can see a large ceramic mural on the side of Lederberg House, built in 1925. The mural was designed by Ze'ev Raban, a member of the Bezalel art movement. The building was restored in 2007 when it was purchased by the French Institute. On the corner of Rothschild and Herzl Street, you can see a restored historic kiosk where you can buy a drink or snack. The Russian Embassy building, constructed in 1924 is one of the boulevard's architectural highlights.Points of Interest along Rothschild BoulevardPerhaps the top historic attraction along the boulevard is Independence Hall, the site of the signing of Israel's Declaration of Independence in 1948. Today it is a museum where you can learn about this historic event. In front of Independence Hall are a large fountain and an equestrian statue of Meir Dizengoff, the first mayor of Tel Aviv. You can visit the Hagana Museum at no.23 Rothschild to learn about Israel's defense force history. Rothschild Boulevard is part of Tel Aviv's art district and home to several important galleries including the Sommer Contemporary Art Gallery and the Alon Segev Gallery. The thing that attracts many locals to Rothschild is the tree-lined pedestrian area that runs down the middle of the Boulevard. Here you can often see groups of pensioners enjoying the sun, hipsters sipping their coffee, and young locals hanging out. Take a stroll down Rothschild Boulevard to soak up the atmosphere or if you'd like to really explore this charming area join a tour of Tel Aviv.Want to stroll the streets of Tel Aviv? join a Tel Aviv Private Tour and explore the city.

Seven Top Attractions in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv isn’t one of Israel’s top tourist attractions for nothing - it really does have something for everyone - whether you’re looking for a beach holiday, arriving with kids, wanting to explore the nightlife with your friends or visiting to check out the incredible food scene.Like many other Mediterranean cities, many of the top attractions in Tel Aviv are outside, and because the weather is so good most of the year (from May to November you’ll be hard-pressed to see a drop of rain) you won’t have to pack a sweater and umbrella when you leave your hotel in the morning.Kid-Friendly, Gay-Friendly and a Foodie ParadiseFurthermore, Tel Aviv is a city that welcomes kids, which means you won’t necessarily feel limited if you’ve arrived with young ones in two. For those in the LGBTQ community, it’s a fine city to visit because it’s so open and friendly, with a wide array of gay bars and a phenomenal PrideAnd finally, some of the top tourist attractions in Tel Aviv are actually free, which really makes them even more alluring for anyone travelling to Israel on a budget!Want to know where to go, what to do and how to see as much as you can in the City that Never Sleeps? Here are ten ideas for things to do when you arrive in Israel.1. Enjoy some Beach TimeTel Aviv has a fabulous stretch of beaches, all with white sand, clear blue sea, free workout stations and paths along which you can bike, jog or amble. And because the weather is so pleasant for much of the year, you can be sure of grabbing plenty of vitamin D, whether you rent a chair and umbrella or bring your own towel.There are beaches that surfers flock to, where dog lovers bring their pooches, where young Israelis drum in Shabbat (!) and where locals gather every Saturday morning to dance traditional Israeli folk dances. The beaches all have endless amenities, including toilets, showers, cafes and bars, and whether you want to swim in the Mediterranean or just admire it, it’s fabulous and it’s free.Tel Aviv beach stretch. Photo by Daniel Klein on Unsplash2. Laze in Park HayarkonThis ‘green lung of Tel Aviv’ lies in the northern part of the city, close to the Namal Port, and is the perfect place to spend a few hours, whether you feel like a leisurely stroll, are into running, or love cycling along the river that runs through it.Park Hayarkon also boasts a bird sanctuary, mini-golf, the Meymadion water park (perfect for a day out with the kids in the summer) and ‘Sportek’ which includes tennis courts, a climbing wall, baseball courts and a soccer area. You can also rent boats - motor, paddle or rowing - and float down the river, drinking in the view.HaYarkon Park, Tel Aviv3. Spend a Day in JaffaJaffa is one of the oldest ports in the world and is the perfect place to spend a day since it’s a lovely 40-minute walk (or a quick bus ride) from Dizengoff Street (the heart of Tel Aviv).Stroll around the port and enjoy a fish lunch, explore the Artists Quarter, with its charming narrow streets and cobblestones, step inside the beautiful Franciscan church of St, Peter and then head to the famous Jaffa flea market (‘shuk hapishpishim’) where you can hunt out bargains, then sit in one of the many trendy bars in the neighbourhood, drinking an iced coffee or a local craft beer.Old Jaffa Port4. Visit SaronaSarona today is a newly developed complex, popular with locals and tourists alike, full of trendy bars, upscale restaurants and plenty of gourmet food stores, selling all kinds of artisan products. Ten minutes walk north from Tel Aviv’s famous Rothschild Boulevard, It’s a popular place to hang out either by day or at night.Sarona also has an interesting history - it was once the area where the Templars lived, in what was known as the ‘German Colony’. Established in 1871, it was one of the earliest modern villages to appear in Ottoman Palestine - what’s nice is that the buildings there have all been restored and renovated, in line with traditional architecture.Sarona Neighborhood Tel Aviv.Photo by Marsel van Oosten on Sarona5. Explore the Bauhaus SceneNot everyone knows that Tel Aviv is the world UNESCO ‘Bauhaus Capital’ with more than 4,000 of these buildings erected between 1920-1940, by German Jewish architects had fled the Nazis. Today, many of them have been restored and they are absolutely stunning.You can explore them just by walking around Tel Aviv yourself (you’ll see examples of them all around Dizengoff Centre, Bialik and Ahad Ha’am streets and on Rothschild Boulevard). You can also take a Bauhaus tour, where a very informed tour guide will show you the beauty of these buildings - abstract, functional, geometric and with lovely curves. Wow!6. Wander the Carmel MarketThe Carmel Market (‘Shuk ha Carmel’ in Hebrew) is the beating heart of Tel Aviv in many ways - it’s a place you can shop for anything and everything (fruit and vegetables, herbs & spices, beach attire, souvenirs from Israel) and it’s also a place to grab amazing Israeli street food and enjoy a slice of local life whilst sipping at a fresh juice or lemonade with mint!The Shuk ha Carmel lies at the intersection of King Geroge, Allenby and Sheinkin Streets, close to the Yemenite Quarter (’the Kerem’), and is open six days a week. This is the place you should go if you want to get a feel for the Levant and anyone with any interest in cooking should think about taking a Carmel Market Food Tour here.7. Stroll in Neve TzedekNeve Tsedek is, arguably, one of Tel Aviv’s most charming and picturesque neighbourhoods, filled with boutique stores, small cafes, excellent restaurants and the Suzanne Dellal Centre, which is the home of modern dance and the city’s famous ‘Bat Sheva’ dance troupe.It also has a wonderful history - it was the first Jewish neighbourhood to be constructed outside the ancient walls of Jaffa…years ago it was poor and run-down but the tiny houses have been painstakingly restored and today it’s achingly fashionable.Whether you want to grab a pastry at Dallal Bakery, eat some fabulous food at the vegan restaurant Meshek Barzilay, grab an ice cream at the Anita Parlour, or wander down to the Nahum Gutman museum or ‘HaTachana’ (the lively ‘Old Railway Station’ development) it’s all yours for the taking.If you’re thinking of visiting Israel, why not take advantage of our organised tour and day trip service - we offer group and private trips from Jerusalem and the Dead Sea/Masada to northern Israel, where you can explore the Galilee and Golan Heights, and plenty more beside. Feel free to contact us by email or telephone for more information.
By Sarah Mann
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The Great Israeli Breakfast

Whether you’re sunning yourself on a pristine beach all day, exploring ancient Roman ruins, visiting one of Israel’s wonderful museums or hiking in national parks, you’re going to have an appetite at the end of it all, which is why we’re often asked by our clients for dinner recommendations.Shakshuka - an integral part of Israeli breakfast. Photo bySara DubleronUnsplashFair enough. But what about breakfast recommendations? One thing you’ve got to know when you’re visiting Israel is that the locals take their first meal of the day very seriously, particularly over the weekend (Friday and Saturday are the country’s ‘Shabbat’). And the ‘great Israeli breakfast’ as it’s often talked about, is really as good as they say, trust us.Israeli Breakfasts and what they’re all aboutAn Israeli breakfast is very different from what you’d get in the USA (sausages, waffles, pancakes), England (bacon, egg, beans and fried toast) or France (a simple croissant or pain au chocolat if you’re feeling decadent). If you go to a cafe in Israel and order a breakfast special, you’re looking at a meal that will probably keep you going for several hours, if not until the evening.As well as eggs, which are served any way you like, there will be plenty of fruits, juices, cheeses (both white and yellow), vegetables, olives, savoury dips and spreads and - of course - an enormous bread basket to dig into. And that’s the ‘regular’ typical Israeli breakfast. Many spots in Israel offer plenty of ‘add-ons’.These might include muesli and granola, cold fish (mackerel, salmon, tuna, herring), homemade jams, baked goods such as croissants and pain viennois and hot dishes such as shakshuka (eggs served in a spicy tomato sauce, served with bread for dipping) and malawach (a flaky fried flatbread hailing from Yemen). Ready to tuck in? Then take a look below at our top picks for a great Israeli breakfast. Hummus plate with eggplant and pita on the table. Photo byKao RodriguezonUnsplashWhere to sample an Israeli breakfast in Tel Aviv?Benedict - Everyone in Israel knows Benedict. Their amazing breakfasts speak for themselves and the great food, combined with friendly and efficient service, means there’s always a line! They’re all over the country but in Tel Aviv there are several - the most popular ones are near the Tel Aviv Port (Namal) and on Rothschild Boulevard.They serve eggs in a variety of ways, their bread baskets are delectable and they also offer waffles, American pancakes, French toast as well as iced coffee and fresh juices. Not inexpensive but definitely worth it. Be warned - the queues are long at the weekend and you could wait at least 30 minutes - bring a book! More details here www.benedict.co.ilCafe Xoho - This hipster hangout isn’t just for hipsters - it’s for foodies - especially those who love baked goods and bagels to boot! Close to one of Tel Aviv’s most popular beaches As well as typical Israeli breakfast staples, they have pancakes, a pink granola bowl (with chia) and a delicious breakfast burrito. On the drinks front, try a Vietnamese coffee (with condensed milk), a masala chai or their famous matcha smoothie (matcha, banana, coconut milk, tahini, honey and halva on top). Xoho is also gluten-free and vegan-friendly. With the fab ambience and tasty food, this is a gem of a place to eat. Address: Ben Yehuda 73 (near Frishman Beach). Tel. 03 561-6745.Delicious food atCafe Xoho. Photo by Dror Einav PhotographyHotel Montefiore - If you want to splash out on an upscale Israeli breakfast, you can’t do better than book a table here. Like the hotel in which it is situated (sophisticated and luxurious), enjoy gorgeous bread baskets, strong French coffee and an eggs benedict that’s to die for. The service is impeccable (everything comes to you on white china),If you feel particularly decadent, order the chocolate mousse. A word of warning: you might need to book weeks ahead for breakfast at the weekend here. Take a walk to the Carmel Market afterwards, if you want to burn off some calories. Address: Montefiore 36 (not far from Rothschild Boulevard). Tel: 03 564-6100.Dallal Restaurant- Tucked away in Neve Tzedek, one of Tel Aviv’s most charming neighbourhoods, this is a beautiful, upscale place to have breakfast (or brunch). Visitors love the Bloody Marys and scrambled eggs served with smoked salmon and cream cheese and the French toast with ricotta cheese, berries and sweet cream is fabulous. Oh, and if you have a sweet tooth, try the pistachio and strawberry dessert. All around the neighbourhood are lovely boutiques and coffee shops, as well as the beach just a few minutes' walk away, so it’s a great place to go for a stroll after you’ve eaten (to walk off the calories, as well as enjoy the area!) Address: Shabazi 10, Neve Tzedek. Tel: 03 510-9292.Morning in Tel Aviv, Israel.Photo byDaniel KleinonUnsplashWhere to eat an Israeli breakfast in Jerusalem?Kadosh - Kadosh has been in business a long, long time - since 1967, to be precise! After Meir, its founder, passed away, his son Itzik took it over and he must have been doing something right because it was rated ‘Best Breakfast in Jerusalem’ by the Hebrew press a while back.Cafe Yehoshua- This local cafe - based in Rehavia, just outside the city centre - is loved by its neighbours and has the added bonus of sidewalk seating, for warmer days. The food is rich and tasty and they have a reputation for serving excellent shakshuka and a wide variety of salads in their regular Israeli breakfast!This is one of the few restaurants in Jerusalem that is not kosher, so you will be able to order dishes that mix milk and meat. Good coffee, music not too loud (but enough to be pleasing) and fresh juices to boot. Not cheap, but worth it.Israeli breakfast atCafe Yehoshua, Jerusalem. Photo via Cafe YehoshuaNocturno - The locals in Jerusalem love this palace because of the quality of the food, good service and wonderful atmosphere. Fresh eggs, smoked salmon and fabulous mushrooms and fried potatoes is a dish that’s raved about and they also do a mean toasted croissant with cream cheese and onion.Vegans are well-represented too - and their non-dairy muesli goes down a storm…almond yoghurt and fresh fruit, served with silwan (a delicious date syrup). And for those with a sweet tooth, there’s also a vegan halva parfait or a hot chocolate fudge cake! Yum. Address: Nocturno, 7 Betzalel Street. Tel: 077 700-8510.As well as the regular Israeli breakfast they serve, customers love their baked goods - particularly the croissants - and wonderful French pastries on offer. We’d highly recommend the salmon and the pain au chocolat! Just be prepared to wait in line for them…Address: Kadosh, Queen Shlomotzion 6. Tel: 02 625-4210.Vegan shakshuka at Nocturno Cafe, Jerusalem. Photo viaCafe NocturnoWhere to enjoy an Israeli breakfast in Haifa?Millhouse Cafe - Close to the sea, in downtown Haifa, this is a lovely little place, popular with students and surfers alike, and serving less than -run-of-the-mill fare. Their sandwiches are imaginative (unusual ingredients, fantastic cheeses) and their spreads for the bread, if you order eggs, are all homemade! If you want to take a chance on something new. try one of their juices, quinoa and bulgar wheat salad or one of their mango tarts. Yum! And, as they say, “We serve damn fine coffee.” Recommended. Address: Millhouse, Bat Galim 14. Tel: 04 887-1181.Best Israeli breakfast in Mitzpe RamonLasha Bakery - If you’re in the Negev, stargazing at the Ramon Crater or rappelling down its edges, head to Lasha Bakery, which doesn’t do traditional Israeli breakfasts but makes up for it with delicious baked goods, pastries and quiches. They also sell products to take away - such as date syrup - which can make a wonderful souvenir from Israel.Enjoy quiches, focaccia, slices of maple and almond cake and empanada-style delicacies stuffed with vegetables. Lasha also offers sambusaks (savoury pastries), pretzel rolls and sesame sticks. Their coffee is great too and since they’re located in the trendy Spice Quarter, you can walk around the other stores afterwards. Address: Lasha Bakery, Har Boker 6. Tel: 050 361-1488. Green shakshuka in one of the Israeli cafes. Photo credit: © Oksana MatzBest Israeli breakfast in EilatOptimi - If you’re down in Eilat, on the Red Sea, you’ll find great service at this unpretentious little place, which serves good coffee, typical Israeli breakfasts and plenty of fresh bread too. Reasonable prices and they go out of their way for vegans too (think beyond meat burgers or vegan shawarma). Our recommendation? Try the spicy shakshuka or a ‘vegan morning’ which comes with vegan cheese, succulent olives, homemade tahini and a tomato spread. They also have some mighty delicious desserts, including the very tasty ‘crumble cheesecake’. Afterwards, work off your appetite with a visit to one of Eilat’s many attractions, such as the Dolphin Reef, and Underwater Observatory or even head off on a trip to Petra, which is just across the border. Address: Durban 2 (near the Mall HaYam). Tel: 08 637-6510.Interested in Israeli street food or Israeli cuisine? Book our Carmel Market Food Tour and try it for yourself!Israeli breakfast at Optimi Cafe in Eilat, Israel. Photo via cafe optimi eilat
By Sarah Mann
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9 of the Best Boutique Hotels in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is the city that never sleeps (or so they say) But whether you’re a foodie, a culture vulture, a beach summer or a party goer, there’s always going to be a point where you need to sleep! And whether you’re a first-time visitor or returning to the White City, one of the most important questions you’re going to have to ask yourself is where do you want to stay in Tel Aviv?Stand-Up Paddleboarding in the Mediterranean against the background of the Setai Tel Aviv Hotel. Photo bySnowscatonUnsplashTel Aviv is Israel’s cultural capital and with a population of half a million in the city itself, there are all kinds of neighbourhoods to choose from. There are also all kinds of accommodations - from hostels and Airbnbs to budget hotels and high-end places. It’s the last of these four we’re looking at today.Boutique with the Personal TouchIt’s hard to draw up a list because the choices you have are ever-growing, but today we’ve decided to focus less on the chains along the beach and more on the boutique hotels in Tel Aviv that really offer guests a more personalised experience, especially because they are often small and niche.And it’s not just in terms of decor and ambience either - these hotels are all about guest-staff interaction - they pride it as much as the facilities they offer. So whether you want recommendations for dinner, a visit to Masada organised, or need help with practical details concerning your trip to the City that Never Sleeps, you can count on these places to be in the know.OK, prepare to put your hand in your pocket, because none of these will be cheap options. They are, however, all remarkably special and the little touches of elegance, style and luxury will, we are sure, leave you with a huge smile on your face. Enjoy your trip to Israel…Sunset at the Jaffa Port, Israel. Photo byShai PalonUnsplash1. The Norman Tel AvivThe Norman is widely considered to be one of the best hotels in Tel Aviv, with its winning combination of bespoke design, gourmet food and a perfect location. Just a stone’s throw from Rothschild Boulevard, the building sets its tone - actually, it’s two historic (Bauhaus style) buildings, renovated to show off their most beautiful features. And their 1920’s style combined with modern elegance is just one of the reasons it’s held in such high esteem.The Norman’s decor is unusual - antique and vintage matched with contemporary art and high-tech gadgets. The beds are wonderfully comfortable and there are all kinds of little touches such as fresh flowers, fruit plates or chocolates on arrival. Even their bath toiletries stand out, designed by an artisan perfume-maker in the locale.The Norman also boasts two excellent restaurants - Alena offers Mediterranean-themed fare and Dinings serves up top-notch Japanese dishes (although it's currently closed for renovations). The rooftop infinity pool, providing panoramic views of the city, is the perfect place to take a dip or sip at a cocktail before heading downstairs to enjoy a drink in the ‘Library Bar’. This converted reading room is elegant and stylish; perfect for perusing printed matter whilst you sip at a cocktail made by one of their expert mixologists. The mirror-backed bar is also a fine touch, not to mention the bow-tied barmen! Verdict: Contemporary luxury indeed. Address: Nachmani St 23-25,www.thenorman.comTel Aviv summertime, sea and beach. Photo byTetiana SHYSHKINAonUnsplash2. The Jaffa, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Tel AvivHistory seeps from every brick of this building and its dramatic architecture has a chequered past indeed - back in the day, it was both a monastery and a former French hospital. As a result, stained glass windows, stone walls and arched colonnades confront you at every turn, but not without a little minimalist furniture (courtesy of British designer John Pawson) and a Damien Hirst for good measure.All of the 120 rooms are designed with comfort and style in mind, boasting features such as marble bathrooms, balconies with stunning views over the Mediterranean Sea and even fireplaces. For a sophisticated cocktail, head to the beautifully restored ‘Chapel Bar’ Or if you’re in the mood for traditional food, head to their deli ‘Goldas’, where you can feast on bagels and lox, hot dogs and tuna melts. Their lovely outside pool is also perfect for ordering snacks and light bites and as the sun goes down, try the food at their restaurant Don Camillo - flavours of New York, Italy and Mediterranean, all on one plate. Finally, with one of the city’s most vibrant neighbourhoods on your doorstep, find time to wander around the fabled Jaffa Flea Market (‘Shuk HaPishpeshim’), through the narrow alleyways of the Artists' Quarter in Jaffa and along the Jaffa Port area, where local fishermen are reeling in their catch of the day. Verdict: Achingly fashionable.Address: Louis Pasteur St 2,www.thejaffa-hotel.co.ilThe Jaffa, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Tel Aviv. Photo from www.marriott.com3. The VeraHotel, Tel AvivFor design aficionados, who love a chic, contemporary look, there’s no better place to stay than the Vera. Back in the 1950s, the building was office space and the renovation paid homage to that by leaving a few concrete-covered exteriors.Bedrooms are luxurious, with fruit plates, organic bath products and swanky bath robes and 400-thread Egyptian cotton sheets. The hotel amenities don’t disappoint either - there’s exclusive access to a two-level rooftop ‘oasis’ which boasts sun loungers and a beverage machine, from which Israeli wines flow freely you won’t worry about there being no pool. The Vera offers yoga and pilates classes and free bikes too, the perfect way to explore Tel Aviv. Located on Lilienblum Street, it’s a great location for heading to Neve Tzedek, Nahalat Binyamin and Florentin, as well as the Carmel Market and trendy Shenkin Street. Verdict: Utter pleasure.Address: Lilienblum St 27, www.theverahotel.comBreakfast at "The Vera Hotel Tel Aviv". Photo via TheVeraTLV4. The Setai, Tel AvivIf you’re looking for calm in the midst of a city as hectic as Tel Aviv, you could do worse than check into the Setai! This sophisticated five-star hotel is a veritable oasis of tranquillity in busy Jaffa, and the building itself is as historic as the neighbourhood.The Setai actually consists of five buildings that made up an Ottoman police station and prison. Today, it’s been renovated in an eclectic style, part class, part contemporary. There are marble and stone corridors and a tree-lined courtyard inside which you can enjoy breakfast and lunch.Rooms are designed using a palette of red, brown and metallic colours, and the cotton sheets are utterly decadent. Oversized bathtubs and rainforest shower heads, along with bespoke toiletries, all make for a very comfortable experience and if there’s anything you need, room service and the concierge will be delighted to help.In terms of amenities, on the roof of the Setai is an infinity pool (a truly stand-out feature) and renovated Turkish hammam as well as a health and fitness centre. With the help of their excellent sommelier, enjoy a glass of fine wine in the chic bar (designed using custom-made blue Brazilian marble). Verdict: Outstanding.Address: David Razi'el St 22www.thesetaihotels.comThe Setai Hotel, Tel Aviv.Photo viaTheSetaiTelAviv5.The Drisco Hotel Tel AvivThe Drisco markets itself as ‘a superior 5-star hotel’ and many would agree. Located in the heart of the picturesque and pastoral American-German colony in Tel-Aviv, the hotel stands on the spot which was once the Jerusalem hotel, built by the Drisco brothers in 1866.All bedrooms are equipped with comfortable queen or king-sized beds, Nespresso machines and Carrara marble in the bathrooms (a few of which have bathtubs). A nice touch that Drisco offers is complimentary Israeli juices and chocolate bars which are placed in the minibars.Special mention should perhaps be given to their restaurant ‘George and John’, run by chef Tomer Tal, which has won numerous accolades. Offering ‘modern Israeli’ dishes with a Mediterranean influence - customers rave about the sweetbreads, steak tartare, crab pasta and mille-feuille. The Drisco also boasts a lounge, patio, terrace and garden, and its ‘Lobby Bar’ boasts marble columns and plush seats (a shout-out to its heyday). Not too far away by foot is the trendy Noga district (and next to it the Jaffa neighbourhood), the HaTachana (Station) complex and, of course, the beach! Verdict: Lively and inspiring.Address: Auerbach St 6,www.thedrisco.co.ilThe Drisco Hotel Tel Aviv. Photo via Thedrisco6.Lighthouse Hotel By Brown HotelsThis stylish and trendy hotel, operated by the Brown Group, is situated at the crossroads of Ben Yehuda and Allenby Streets, a stone’s throw from the Carmel Market, King George Street and Jerusalem beach. With its central location, modern vibe and high-level amenities, it might not be five-star but it holds its own.All of the Lighthouse’s 209 rooms are quite spacious (by city standards) and boast high-quality linens, Marshall speakers and English Molton Brown bath products. Each has a wonderful view of either the Mediterranean or Tel Aviv skyline. The hotel also offers an excellent spa, with professional and friendly masseuses and special hot stone treatments.For those who like sky bars, head up to the 18th floor where you can eat delicious sushi, drink unique cocktails, dance to pulsating beats and enjoy astonishing skyline views at Haiku. And if you’re not a party animal, just take the elevator down to the 5th floor for dinner - they have a lovely terrace.One last thing - guests comment time and again on how fabulous the breakfast is at this hotel - not just the outstanding produce and how varied the choice is, but the personalised service and how helpful the staff are in taking care of individual requests. Verdict: Hip to a fault.Address: Ben Yehuda St 1, www.brownhotels.comJerusalem Beach, Tel Aviv. Israel. Photo byToa HeftibaonUnsplash7. Hotel Montefiore, Tel AvivHotel Montefiore is the ultimate boutique hotel in Tel Aviv, located just a moment from Rothschild Boulevard in the city centre. Inside a 1920s Art Deco building which has been meticulously restored, you’ll be greeted by sleek design, modern art and exceptionally professional staff. Each of the 12 rooms screams comfort - lots of space, high ceilings, wood floors, Persian rugs, and floor-to-ceiling shelves filled with books on art, literature and tourism in many languages. The beds are super comfy, with fantastic linens, and the bathrooms have a black and white theme and are stocked with products made by local artisans and plush robes. The Montefiore also boasts a fine-dining restaurant which is French-Vietnamese fusion style. It’s also considered one of the benchmarks of culinary delight in Tel Aviv and its ambience is delightful; - the dim lighting, chequered floor and mirrors all encourage you to linger for just one more delicious plate of food. Guests also rave about the breakfast and as the writer has partaken of one herself, she must agree - it is spectacular, with buttery croissants, tempting fruit plates, perfect poached eggs and excellent coffee, served in teeny tiny white jugs. The Montefiore is also well-located if you’re a Bauhaus fan - the area is awash with wonderful buildings, many recently renovated, and it’s a short walk both to Neve Tzedek and the Yemenite Quarter. Verdict: a luxurious and intimate experience.Address: Montefiore St 36, Tel Aviv-Yafowww.hotelmontefiore.co.ilHotel Montefiore, Tel Aviv. Photo viaHotelMontefiore8. The Renoma Hotel & ApartmentsThis seaside boutique hotel, located in the lovely Yemenite Quarter, is the perfect place for an urban vacation since it’s in the heart of the city but also just a block from the beach. The Renoma is a historic building, showcasing beautiful 1930s features and stunning aesthetics throughout the interior.All of the rooms are spacious with comfortable beds and elegant furnishings with all the modern touches, including Nespresso machines and Netflix. Their delicious breakfast box will be delivered to your room every morning and is delightful, full of pastries from a local French bakery and you can take the cappuccino they bring to you out to your terrace and drink it in the sun.Renoma also boasts the Bar 51 Restaurant, which specialises in tapas and sharing plates. The dishes are bursting with flavour, the menu changes regularly, according to seasonal produce and the wine list is excellent. It’s an intimate space, with mainly bar seating and a few tables, but the atmosphere is always good.Last but not least, what guests really seem to love about Renoma is this staff. Hardworking and gracious, they are exceptional at anticipating requests and pay enormous attention to detail - truly, nothing is too much trouble for them. Verdict: A hidden gem.Address: HaYarkon St 59, www.renomahotel.comRenoma Hotel & Apartments, Tel Aviv. Photo viahotelrenoma9. Market House Hotel, Tel Aviv-JaffaSituated in Jaffa, a few steps from the historic Clock Tower, the Market House was the first boutique hotel in Jaffa and continues to hold a special place in the hearts of its guests. With just 44 rooms, it’s very much influenced by the neighbourhood in which is set and you see this the moment you walk through the door, in the shape of local art hanging on the walls and - unbelievably - the remains of a Byzantine church at which you can peer through the glass floor in the lobby! The Market House is comfortable and modern, and the bedrooms - whilst not large - are eclectically designed, all paying homage to the locale (especially the local flea market). Guests rave about the exceptional breakfasts (both rich and healthy), the happy hour with wine and nibbles and the free bikes (complete with helmets and locks) offered to explore the area. As well as all the beauty of Jaffa on your doorstep, the Market House is a short stroll from HaTachana, Neve Tzedek and the Suzanne Dellal Center, perfect if you’re curious about food or modern dance! Of course, if you’re feeling lazy you can stroll around the Jaffa Port and Artists' Quarter, or simply sit by their pool and soak up the atmosphere…Verdict: Perfect for a romantic weekend.Address: Beit Eshel St 5,www.atlas.co.ilMarket House Hotel - an Atlas Boutique Hotel. Photo viamarkethousejaffa
By Sarah Mann
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Events in August 2022 in Israel

Well, summer is back with a vengeance and whether you love or hate the hot weather, the fact is that unless you’re going to hide away in the air conditioning, you’ll be looking for things to do in Israel. And in this respect, you won’t be disappointed because, post-Covid, there’s plenty going on in the country, whether you’re looking for music in Israel, art, performances, or just chill-out time.Exhibition "Art of Enchantment", Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv.Photo credit: ©Dmitry MishinAugust 2022 in Israel promises to be busy - Ben Gurion Airport is seeing thousands of tourists arriving every day, heading for the miles of white sandy beaches, the Old City of Jerusalem, the lush green hills of the north as well as the ever-popular Petra excursion in Jordan. We’ve put together a few ideas for things you can do this summer, whether you’re having a chillout vacation in Tel Aviv, exploring the beauty of the Galilee and Golan, or star gazing whilst camping at the breathtaking crater in Mitzpe Ramon. Enjoy yourself! Events in August 2022 in Tel AvivShlomo Artzi in concert - 5th August, Charles Bronfman Auditorium. Shlomo Artzi is, for sure, up there with some of Israel's greatest singers. He’s been around for a long time now - close to five decades - but still packs out auditoriums and outdoor theater in Caesarea with his timeless songs. This summer he’s performing in Tel Aviv on 5th August at the Charles Bronfman Auditorium, close to Rothschild Boulevard.If you manage to snap up a ticket you’re in for a special time because he never fails to charm audiences with his music and lyrics. And if you can’t pick up a ticket, don’t worry - he’s performing the following week in Kiryat Motzkin, north of Haifa, so you can take a weekend break, see the Maestro and enjoy Mount Carmel too.Converted Roman Theater in Caesarea, Israel. Photo byJoshua SukoffonUnsplashTuesday Blues - every Tuesday at 6 pm, Jaffa Flea Market - There’s no better place to spend a summer’s evening than in Jaffa, the beautiful - and ancient - city which you can walk to easily from the center of Tel Aviv. As well as the promenade, port and Artists Quarter, a tour of the Jaffa flea marketis a must.And every Tuesday night in August, at 6 pm, there are free blues performances in the market area, which is also full of cafes, bars, and small boutiques - a great place to mingle with old friends and new, enjoy a cold beer or a fresh juice and generally kick back.Events in August 2022 inJerusalemPuppet Theatre Festival - throughout August - Back by popular demand comes the Train Theatre who are going to be given a number of wonderful performances at their annual Puppet Theatre Festival in Liberty Bell Park, in Jerusalem, between 18th and 22nd August. This is a great family event and one that both kids and adults can enjoy. Whether you’re at ‘A Dot of Light’ (telling the story of braille), ‘The Hungry Sandwich’ (which incorporates elements of clowning into the performance), or ‘Puppet Jam’ which is a kind of edgy cabaret event, you’re going to come away with a warm, fuzzy feeling.View of the Western Wall and Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem.Photo byAnton MislawskyonUnsplashHutzot Hayotzer Fair - 15th to 27th August - Unlike the coastal plain of Israel, Jerusalem (which is high in the hills) gets a delicious breeze on summer nights, which makes it a delightful place to wander when the sun goes down. So why not head over to one of Jerusalem’s most beloved venues, the Sultan’s Pool, between the 15th and 27th of August and enjoy their annual arts and crafts fair. There, you’ll find all kinds of creations for sale (indeed, Hutzot Hayotzer, translated from Hebrew to English, actually means ‘The Creator Steps Out’). Enjoy nightly musical performances, have a glass of wine, and breathe in some fresh Jerusalem air as you stand at the foot of the two-thousand-year-old city. It really doesn’t get much better than this.Events in August 2022 inHaifaNorthern Wind -Israeli Art from the Museum Collection, Haifa Museum of Art - A northern wind is blowing through the collection of Haifa’s Museum of Art this August, where you can check out a number of works based in Israel’s biggest city in the north of the country, as well as the surrounding areas around the Carmel area.Haifa has a unique identity - as a port city, many immigrants arrived by ship, before and after the creation of the State of Israel. Historically, it’s also a city steeped in activism - it has a long history of supporting workers' rights and is also very mixed, a place where Jews and Arabs live and work side by side.The Baha'i World Centre in Haifa, Israel. Photo byShai PalonUnsplashEvents in August 2022 in GalileeSafed Klezmer Festival - 9th to 11th August 2022 - The Safed Klezmer Festival is back - and it’s a fantastic opportunity to hear young musicians from around the world play this very unique kind of Jewish music, which began in the shtetls of Eastern Europe and was often played at weddings or joyous Jewish holidays such as Purim and Simchat Torah. Klezmer has really made a comeback in the last decade and in the beautiful and mystical town of Safed in the Upper Galilee, between Tuesday 9th and Thursday 11th August over 90 bands will be performing in the narrow streets and alleyways. Head north and discover your inner joyfulness!Events in August 2022 in the Negev DesertMitzpe Ramon Film Festival - 23rd to 26th August. Mitzpe Ramon might be a small town in the Negev, but it’s home to a mighty fine crater Makhtesh Ramon, which affords splendid hiking and rappelling opportunities, as well as nights spent under starry skies. This desert center is also attracting more and more young creative Israelis, who’ve moved there to be part of a small but vibrant community.As a result, their annual film festival is now in its third year and taking place between 23rd and 26th August. Take a trip down to the desert, reconnect with the elements and enjoy some of the screenings on offer…And if you’re looking for something particular, feel free to contact us by email or telephone - here at Bein Harim we’ve been in business for over 30 years and offer organized tours, day trips, and private tours customized to your needs.A sunset over Ein Yorkeam Wadi. The Negev Desert, Israel.Photo byAvi TheretonUnsplash
By Sarah Mann
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Laila Lavan in Tel Aviv 2022

There’s a saying attributed to Tel Aviv - that it’s the city that never sleeps. Well, this coming Thursday, it really will be true. Back by popular demand (after the pandemic kept us all off the streets) is Laila Lavan - which, translated from the Hebrew, means ‘White Night’.Jaffa Port, Israel. Photo byFaruk KaymakonUnsplashWhat is Laila Lavan?Laila Lavan - White Night - is an event that takes place every year, across Tel Aviv and Jaffa, where the city basically hosts a range of musical and cultural events which are free to the public and continue on into the wee small hours, with a couple of them actually culminating at sunrise the following day.When is Laila Lavan?This year, it’s taking place on Thursday 30th June. Where exactly in the city does Laila Lavan take place?All over. Seriously. Whether you’re in the Old North (close to the Tel Aviv Port), wandering Rothschild Boulevard, hanging out in Neve Tzedek, or bopping around Jaffa, you’ll find an event to join. And, as we said before, it’s all funded by the municipality so it’s not just an amazing night out, but it really won’t break the bank either.Jaffa Clock Tower, Israel. Photo byYaroslav LutskyonUnsplashWhat time doesLaila Lavanactually go on until?Put it this way - if you’re a night owl, you’ll be in your element. Some events begin earlyish by Tel Aviv standards (around 8 pm) but many go on until 2 or 3 am, and things such as sunrise yoga happen (as the name suggests) only when the sun makes its debut, around 5 am the following morning. So whether you want to catch some early events and be in bed long before midnight, or head out after midnight and party until the wee hours, it’s your choice. What kind of events does Laila Lavan play host to?Every year it differs, but you can expect a wide range of events and performances across Tel Aviv. In the past, the city has thrown open the doors of some of its museums, the Opera House puts on outside performances, there are cover bands playing all down Rothschild, jazz and klezmer concerts dotted across the city, as well as street events, food festivals and beach parties in many neighborhoods. Even better, shop and bar owners are giving late licenses, so you can grab a bite after midnight, or a cocktail at 4 am! The stairs lead to Kedumim Square and St Peter's church in Jaffa. Photo byJeremy BezangeronUnsplashWhat’s on at Laila Lavan 2022?To date, we know of quite a few different events taking place (although there are bound to be many more we haven’t even heard of yet). These include:1. Rothschild Boulevard - there won’t just be all kinds of bands, but also street performers, circus acts, and dancers almost always dressed in white. Rothschild Boulevard runs from Allenby Street all the way up to the Habima Theatre and this is always a place where people will flock, on White Night. Just be prepared for it to be absolutely packed!2. Jaffa- Jaffa will be buzzing, with the Jaffa Flea Market (‘Shuk HaPishpehsim) and the many cafes and bars around it open until the wee small hours.3. Bauhaus Buildings - many of the Bauhaus buildings in Tel Aviv will be lit up and it will be possible to take guided tours through them.4. Headphone Party - the traditional dance party (complete with headphones) will take place at Rabin Square. Put them on and prepare to boogie - only you can hear the music, but you’ll be surrounded by fellow dancers (and some bemused on-lookers too).Aerial view of Tel Aviv Port. Photo byShai PalonUnsplash5. Tzuk Beach - usually starting between 1-2 am, take a blanket (and a bottle of wine) and enjoy a concert packed with Israeli singers. What can be better than sitting next to the Mediterranean Sea and listening to fabulous Israeli music?6. Suzanne Dellal Centre - there’s usually a street party in the Neve Tzedek neighborhood, centered in the plaza outside the Suzanne Dellal Center. This is a charming area, full of tiny side streets, beautiful houses, and stylish bars.7. Gordon Beach - you’ll be sure to find dancing at Gordon Beach, one of Tel Aviv's best beaches, which in the past has hosted ‘Bollywood in White’ style events.8. Sunrise Yoga - as well said before, sunrise yoga is a popular activity at Laila Lavan and usually takes place at the Tel Aviv Port (the Namal). A really fantastic way to end your cultural experience.Finally, we’d warn you that on a night like this, the streets are going to be very crowded. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times (it is summer in Israel, after all), and put on some comfy shoes. Buses are often caught up in traffic and bringing your car into the city is a mad idea, so get prepared to tramp the mean streets. Have a great time!People enjoying sunset at Tel Aviv Beach.Photo byDaria DyachenkoonUnsplash
By Sarah Mann
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Countdown to the Maccabiah Games

Summer’s here in Israel and what do you think of? Beach days, sunning yourself under umbrellas on the shores of Tel Aviv, with regular dips in the Mediterranean. Nature hikes in the Galilee, cooling off in waterfalls and springs along the trails. Fresh breezy evenings in Jerusalem, gazing at views of the Old City from nearby rooftop bars.Green and yellow tennis ball on water.Photo byKevin MuelleronUnsplashOr, for sports fans and adrenaline junkies, something a little more exciting? Yes, it’s that once-every-four-years moment that’s upon us - and we’re not talking about football’s World Cup. Rather, the Maccabiah Games are being played in Israel this July and the perfect opportunity to get a feel for this ‘Jewish Olympics’ that’s taking place in a number of cities across the country.Want to know more?What are the Maccabiah Games?The Maccabiah Games are a leading international sports competition, also fondly referred to as the “Jewish Olympics”. Much like the more well-known Olympics, they take place every four years under the supervision of the Maccabi World Union. In fact, they are easily the biggest regularly-held international event in Israel. As well as being a fabulous sporting occasion, their aim is also to promote the centrality of the State of Israel in the lives of Jewish people from around the world.Water polo player. Photo byCHUTTERSNAPonUnsplashWhere did the name of the Maccabiah Games originate?Good question! ‘Maccabiah’ (or ‘Maccabi’ as its often pronounced and written) was a Zionist youth movement that was set up in 1929, encouraging sports and physical activity amongst the Jewish people. Historically, Judah Maccabee (Yehuda Maccabi) was one of the Jewish ‘guerilla leaders’ who drove the Seleucid Greek occupiers out of Judea in 139 BCE.As a result of the Bar Kochba rebellion, he freed the Jewish freed from slavery and they were then able to celebrate one of the most well-known Jewish festivals - Hanukkah at the Temple in Jerusalem. The son of Mattias, the High Priest of the Hasmonean Family, was a military genius and utterly fearless. In fact, he and his brothers-in-arms were described by the Greek General Bacchides himself as ‘stronger than lions, lighter than eagles and faster than bears.” Today, the ‘Maccabiah’ is run under the banner of the Maccabi World Union (MWU) which runs youth and sports organizations across the world, dedicated to physical excellence and also the furthering of Jewish identity. The MWU has its headquarters in Israel.Chess set. Photo byRandy FathonUnsplashWhen did the Maccabiah Games begin?Quite a while ago in fact - as far back as 1932! The history of how they came to be is pretty interesting in itself - they were the idea of a man named Yosef Yekutieli who, after hearing about the 1912 Olympic games, began fantasizing about the idea of a similar event, but for Jews in Palestine. After spending the next decade putting together this idea, he presented a proposal to the Jewish National Fund in 1928, arguing that the games could be held every four years to commemorate the 1800th anniversary of the Bar Kochba Rebellion (see above). With the blessing of the then British High Commissioner of Palestine, Sir Arthur Wauchope (on the basis that it hosted Arab and British Mandate athletes, as well as Jews) the Macabiada was set for the spring of 1932!Fun fact: this was the age of newspapers, not TV, internet, and social media. So a group of intrepid Jewish promoters set off across Europe, in 1930, to promote the event. They cycled through Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Belgium, and France and then continued onto Great Britain, encouraging Jews to come to ‘Eretz Israel’ for the first Jewish sporting games. Their dreams were realized between March 28th and April 6th, when the first games took place. They were such a success, that it seemed clear they had a future! Relay runner.Photo byBraden CollumonUnsplashHow do the Maccabiah Games operate in Israel?Within the games themselves, there are four different competitions taking place - Juniors, Masters, Open, and Paralympics. If you’re between the ages of 15-18, the Juniors is for you. Masters work according to different age categories (keen to include older participants) and the open category tends to have no age limits and runs according to the international rules of each particular sport. In the Paralympics, a number of events, including wheelchair sports (such as basketball) and swimming, are represented, as well as a para table-tennis competition and half-marathon. Athletes compete as part of a national delegation i.e. Brazil, Australia, France, and as well as the games themselves, participants have a chance to travel around Israel and meet not just its citizens but Jews from all other parts of the diaspora.The aim, essentially, is to combine the fun of competitive sports with an appreciation of the land of Israel - fusing history, culture, and experience! And it’s important to point out that whilst the games are truly competitive, they also promote other very important values - those of intellect, the pursuit of excellence, and fair play.Swimming competition. Photo bySerena Repice LentinionUnsplashWhen are the Maccabiah Games being held this year?This year’s event is being held from 12-26th July, with the opening ceremony being held at Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium on 14th July 2022. Approximately 10,000 athletes from 80 different countries will be participating in more than 40 different sports competitions.Even more astonishing, entry to watch all of this is free! As well as the ‘obvious’ sports, like swimming, tennis, and squash, also included are gymnastics, chess, ice hockey, bridge, lawn bowls, water polo, and even ten-pin bowling!Host CitiesBecause there will be so many events, and so many attendees, it’s not practical for everything to be held in one city, which is why different parts of Israel, all with good facilities, will be holding events. The three big cities, of course, where you can travel to watch are Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa. For detailed information about what’s going on, it’s a good idea to take a look at the Maccabiah Games website. Of course, once you’re in any one of these places, there are so many other things to do and see, should you have the time or inclination. Here are a few ideas of the many ways to spend several hours (or, indeed, several days!) in Israel’s capital, the 24/7 Party City Tel Aviv or Haifa, perched on the Carmel mountain in the country’s north.Shop in the Old City of Jerusalem. Photo byChristian BurrionUnsplashMaccabiah Games 2022 in JerusalemYou could spend days, weeks, even months in Jerusalem and never stop exploring. The Old City alone is a place packed with thousands of years of history. Walking from quarter to quarter - Christian to Muslim to Armenian to Jewish, you’ll be overwhelmed by sights, smells, and sounds - for there is no city as holy as Jerusalem.Top Jerusalem attractionsinclude the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (the spot where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected), the Western Wall (the last remaining structure of King Herod’s Second Temple, and a focal point for Jews across the world, and Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock, where Muslims believe Mohammed made his famous ‘Night Journey’ en route to Mecca.Outside of the Old City, Jerusalem has many charming neighborhoods including the Germany Colony, Ein Kerem, and Nachlaot, which boasts the lively and bustling Mahane Yehuda Market. The city is also home to the world-famous Israel Museum, which boasts outstanding art, a Sculpture Garden, a model of the Second Temple, and the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, which are housed in a specially-designed building.Dome of the Rock, Temple Mount, Jerusalem. Photo byStacey FrancoonUnsplashMaccabiah Games 2022 inTel AvivIf Jerusalem represents all that is holy, then Tel Aviv surely stands for all that is fun. No, seriously, there’s a reason it’s called the ‘Non-Stop City’. There’s no shortage of things to do and see as well as coffee shops, restaurants, bars and fantastic nightlife in this city, not to mention the ‘playground’ of kilometers of white sandy Tel Aviv beaches.There really is too much to do in Tel Aviv. Stroll the charming Rothschild Boulevard and admire its Bauhaus buildings. Take a food tour in the Carmel Market, then afterwards wander through the Yemenite Quarter, and stare at the tiny old houses. Sunbathe all day, enjoy a cocktail before dinner, dine at one of Tel Aviv’s trendy restaurants then party the night away at a cool club.Spend time exploring Jaffa’s narrow backstreets, Artist’s Quarter, and the famous Jaffa Flea Market. Or simply hire a bike and cycle through the city (it’s full of bike lanes) or along the promenade, affording you spectacular views of the Mediterranean. Unlike Jerusalem, this city is flat, so you won’t end up terribly out of breath!Bahai Gardens, Haifa, Israel. Photo byAmeer BasheeronUnsplashMaccabiah Games 2022 in HaifaHaifa doesn’t have the spirituality of Jerusalem or the fast pace of Tel Aviv, but you’d be unwise to overlook it. Not only is it a ‘real’ Mediterranean city, hilly and overlooking the sea, but there’s also plenty to see within a short car drive or - if you don’t fancy driving - an organized day trip.Within Haifa itself, you can explore the old German Colony (established by the Templars in the 19t Century), enjoy falafel in Wadi Nis Nas (an old Arab neighborhood), and take a tour of the astonishingly beautiful Bahai Gardens, which slope down the hill as far as the eye can see.Outside of Haifa, why not visit Caesarea, the ancient city built by King Herod, the Master Builder, where you can explore aqueducts and Roman theatres, or head north to Acre, a Crusader City with a glorious past, and plenty to enjoy, including excellent fish restaurants.The Western Wall or Wailing Wall, Jerusalem. Photo credit: ShutterstockEast of Haifa it’s an easy journey to Nazareth, holy to Christians as the place where Mary was visited by Angel Gabriel, and then onto the Sea of Galilee. It was here that Jesus did much of his ministering, performing miracles, and recruiting his disciples. You can visit any number of Galilee churches on the shores of the sea as well as the baptismal site at Yardenit. And if you want to venture even a little further, a trip to the Golan Heights is a fine way to spend a couple of days - full of boutique vineyards, nature reserves, and outdoor activities (skiing on Mount Hermon in the winter, kayaking on the Jordan River in the summer).Come and see Israel for yourself - enjoy the Maccabi games and everything else this amazing country has to offer. Feel free to contact us if you’re interested in taking one of our Israel tour packages or day trips around the country - we’re here to offer you a discount coupon (10%discountBH), answer your questions, and help make your trip memorable.Lifeguard station on the Tel Aviv waterfront.Photo byGuy TsroronUnsplash
By Sarah Mann
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Gearing up for Tel Aviv Pride

It’s June and summer is upon us in earnest. Moreover, after two long years of Corona, visitors are back in Israel in earnest and none more so than those who’ve turned up this week for the famous Gay Pride parade, culminating this Friday.Love is Love Gay Pride poster in Tel Aviv, Israel. Photo byYoav HornungonUnsplashTel Aviv Pride - Taking to the Streets to Celebrate!Since its humble beginnings, around 25 years ago (when, in 1997, fewer than a thousand people turned up for a ‘Love Parade’, Tel Aviv Pride is now one of the city’s biggest events in the year and one of the most popular Prides throughout the world. So much so that many tourists arrive here not just for the parade but for all kinds of gay-friendly events that take place in Israel before and after - it’s not just one day of celebration but several - this year between 8th and 12th June 2022.Same-Sex Couple Rights in IsraelIsrael has a great record when it comes to supporting sexual equality - for sure it’s got the most progressive culture and legislation in the Middle East. It’s also fair to say that Tel Aviv is probably one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world - when you come and visit, don’t be surprised to see two men pushing a buggy - the LGBTQ community here can adopt kids and fertility treatment is widely-available (and not costly, indeed often free).As well as enjoying rights as parents, same-sex couples in Israel also have the same medical, pension and inheritance rights as heterosexual couples. And since 1993, discrimination in the military has been formally outlawed, which means you can be ‘out’ and serve in the army, navy and air force.Rainbow flag lighting over Tel Aviv city hall building for Tel Aviv Pride.Photo credit: © ShutterstockTel Aviv - the Ultimate Gay-Friendly CitySo there really is a lot to celebrate in Tel Aviv, which is a very liberal city. The mayor, Ron Huldai, emphasised this back in 2017 at the Parade, stating that the city “will continue to be a lighthouse city - spreading the values of freedom, tolerance and democracy to the world.”And if you come to Tel Aviv for Pride, not only will you be spoilt for choice in terms of Tel Aviv restaurants, bars and gay-friendly hotels, but you’ll also get a chance to see City Hall (in Rabin Square) lit up in rainbow colours to celebrate, not to mention Pride rainbow flags on every street corner. Where and When is Tel AvivPride2022?The Pride Parade this 2022 isn’t in its usual spot - in the past, it always began in Gan Meir (the home an LGBTQ community centre). This year, it begins at the Sportech Centre on Rokach Boulevard 22. It will wind its way all throughYarkon Park towards Joshua’s Garden. There are going to be more floats than ever this year too, which - if the participants have anything to do with it - are bound to be creative, colourful and festive! After the parade itself, an enormous afterparty is planned, which will probably involve dancing and music going on late into the night. “The Love Stage” party and concert has famed Australian DJ Iggy Azalea in charge of the music, as well as plenty of Israeli singers including Harel Skaat, Anna Zach and Shahar Saul.Gay Pride Tel Aviv, Israel.Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinSpending a Few Days in Tel Aviv?Still, coming to Israel for Pride isn’t just about the parade…there are endless things to do in the ‘Non-Stop City’ - from exploring Bauhaus architecture to rummaging in theJaffa Flea market, cycling Rothschild Boulevard or soaking up rays on one of the city’s beautiful beaches.Tel Aviv has all kinds of charming neighbourhoods to wander in too, including the vibrant Kerem HaTeimanim (the Yemenite Quarter) which sits next door to the Carmel Market, the city’s biggest and most lively market, selling everything you can imagine from fruits and vegetables to household goods, flowers and clothing. It’s also home to all kinds of street stalls selling world foods, the famed ‘Beer Bazaar’, hummus joints (hummus is a food locals just can’t get enough of) and coffee shops. On Friday afternoons, a few hours before Shabbat comes in, the ‘Shuk ha Carmel’ is bustling like you can’t imagine, and a great place to grab a drink and engage in some people-watching.LGBT Rights Poster.Photo bySharon McCutcheononUnsplashFrom Day to NightBy night, Tel Aviv is home to some incredible restaurants - the variety of foods is astonishing, from Israeli street food (think falafel, sabich and shawarma) to high-end Chef restaurants, where plates aren’t cheap but the experience you’ll have will wow you. Whether it’s sushi, tapas or contemporary Israeli cuisine (courtesy of famous chef Haim Cohen who runs the restaurant ‘Yaffo-Tel’) you’re bound to leave bowled over.And if you’re less of a foodie than a party animal, don’t fear because, with cocktails bars like Bell Boy, the Imperial Bar, Spicehaus and Concierge, you’re going to see a side of mixology you never knew existed. Finish it off with a trip to a club - The Block, Breakfast Bar or Sputnik - and that’s a night well spent! Day Trips outside Tel AvivFinally, although Tel Aviv is an incredible city, there’s so much more to Israel than just its largest city. The other good news is that Israel is a small country which has excellent and well-connected public transport links. Or you can book a private transfer from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem if you prefer comfort.Whether you want to take a train, hop on an Egged bus or rent a car in Israel, you can be in another part of the country in no time at all.Indeed, travelling from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem became even simpler in the last couple of years, thanks to the opening of a fast train which links the Non-Stop City with the Holy City in just 40 minutes.Folks preparing for sunset on Tel Aviv beach during Pride festivities 2018. Photo byGuy TsroronUnsplashNon-Stop to Holy GroundOnce in Jerusalem itself, you can hop on the light railway and be at the gates of the Old City in less than 15 minutes. Walking through the four quarters of this historic place is something that should not be missed. For Christians, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the spot at which Christ is assumed to have been crucified and then rose from the dead. For Jews, a trip to the Western Wall (the last remaining wall of Herod’s Second Temple) is incredibly moving. And for Muslims, the Dome of the Rock and Temple Mount are the place at which it is believed Mohammed flew over on his night journey to Mecca. There’s also plenty to do and see in the more modern part of Jerusalem - take a trip to Mahane Yehuda Market, the city’s lively market, visit the world-famous Israel Museum or take a tour of Yad Vashem, the country’s monument to Holocaust survivors. Jerusalem may not be ‘non-stop’ in the way Tel Aviv is, but it has an atmosphere few fail to experience and wonder at.We like you too, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel. Photo byYoav HornungonUnsplashDay Trips to the Dead Sea and MasadaOf course, if you’re travelling independently but don’t want the hassle of renting a car, would like to learn more with the service of a guide or are just looking for some company, then taking an organised day trip in Israel is a great way to see more of the country.The Dead Sea and Masada, which are high points of any tourist’s visit, are easily reached within a day (especially if you set off from Jerusalem) and combining floating in salty water at the earth’s lowest point, with exploring an ancient Herodian fortress, makes for a fine day out. (Our tip: if you want a first-hand account of the day trip to Masada and the Dead Sea we offer, take a look at our blog post written by Sarah Mann, talking about travelling with a group there).Trips to Northern Israel and Jordan from Tel AvivNorthern Israel is also very beautiful at this time of the year - whether you’re at the Sea of Galilee (full of historic churches), in Acre (an ancient Crusader city) or further afield, in the lofty Golan Heights - you’ll be amazed at how beautiful and tranquil this part of the country is.And finally, for the more intrepid adventurer, we also run trips to Jordan - for 3 days or more - giving you the chance to explore the ancient Nabatean city of Petra, carved out of rocks that turn colour throughout the day. Jordan and Israel have friendly relations and it’s an easy journey from Eilat to Petra(not available at the moment), in an air-conditioned bus, with a guide who’ll deal with all the Jordan visa formalities at the Jordan-Israel border crossing.So whether you’re staying in Tel Aviv for Pride or want to see a bit more of our country than the non-stop city, enjoy yourself. And if you need any more information on any of the trips and tours we offer, don’t hesitate to contact us.Now go and celebrate!Rush hour in Tel Aviv is a sight to behold.Photo byShai PalonUnsplash
By Sarah Mann
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Events and Festivals in Israel in June 2022

As spring turns to summer each year, Israel comes into its own, which is why June can be a great month to visit the country. The weather is already very warm but not as roasting hot as it often is at the height of summer. And while the rains are long gone, evening strolls are utter perfection - in Israel you can eat outside, take long walks along beaches and seafronts at night (grabbing a drink at the endless cafes and bars on the sands) or just sit around and people watch.Beach at Rishon LeZion, Israel. Photo byAviv Ben OronUnsplashIn a Mediterranean Mood?And if you’re less in the mood for a city break, in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or Haifa, there are ample opportunities to explore the country - it’s not yet high season which means the roads won’t be too jammed and you can still get off the beaten track and head to nature reserves and waterfalls, which will be a lot more crowded the following month. Yes, we can say without hesitation that June is an ideal month for a trip to Israel.June in Israel - a Holiday with a Bit of EverythingThe fact is that Israel has a bit of everything, which means you can ‘pick and mix’ on a break here. In Jerusalem, arguably the world’s most holy city, you can spend days exploring religious and historical sites, wandering the tiny backstreets of the Old City, before heading to dinner at the famous Mahane Yehuda Market.In Tel Aviv, you can take a Bauhaus tour, learning more about the extraordinary architecture of the ‘White City’ as you walk the boulevards. Or hire a bike and cycle all the way from Tel Aviv Port (Namal) in the north to the Jaffa Port in the city’s south, taking in a tour of Jaffa Flea Market, visiting the Artist’s Quarter, and then grabbing some local food - hummus or fish - whilst you watch the sunset over the Mediterranean Sea.In June of this year, there are plenty of cultural events and festivals, as well as musical performances, in the big cities - a huge draw for culture vultures.Hiking by the Dead Sea. Photo byJonathan GamburgonUnsplashAnd for the Adrenaline Junkies?In the Negev, although hiking is not recommended in the hottest hours of the day, you can bask in the silence, enjoy the tranquillity of early morning sunrises, or explore the Ein Avdat canyon, Timna Valley Park, or the breathtaking crater at Mitzpe Ramon later in the day. And in the north of the country, there are all kinds of adventures for adrenaline junkies - from 4x4 jeep tours in the Golan Heights, discovering Crusader castles and fortresses, and kayaking trips on the Jordan River - perfect for those who don’t like to sit still.So if you’re looking to take a break and want a holiday destination that gives you a bit of everything, look no further. Whether you want to sun yourself on a beach, cool off periodically in the Mediterranean, explore archaeological sites in Jerusalem, hike in the Golan, or learn more about wine from some of the many boutique vineyards in the Galilee, you won’t be disappointed.And, as we said before, the weather is perfect - it will be warm, but not too hot, with cool breezes as day turns to night. Without further ado, let’s take a look at what’s going on in Israel this June 2022…all over the country!Vineyards in the Golan. Photo byLevi Meir ClancyonUnsplashEvents in Israel in June 2022. The Jewish Festival of ShavuotShavuot is a Jewish festival that commemorates one of the most important events in Jewish history - when God gave Moses the Torah on Mount Sinai. But it’s also a harvest festival, marking the wheat festival in the land of Israel, according to the Hebrew Bible.Shavuot is a holiday that everyone in Israel loves to celebrate - there are events going on all over the country. The main traditions are to eat dairy foods (think cheese, blintzes, and hummy cheesecakes) and, for Orthodox Jews, to attend synagogue where you sit up all night at a learning group (‘Tikkun Leila’).Shavuot is especially popular on kibbutzim and moshavim in Israel (agricultural settlements) where the ‘first fruits’ of the harvest are gathered. Locals love visiting these places and tourists will enjoy the activities, traditional Israeli folk dancing, and tractor rides for the younger members of the group!Shavuot this year is from 4th-5th June (since the Jewish calendar is solar-lunar in nature, all holy days begin in the evening). And, just to bear in mind, there is no public transport at this period, so if you want to get out of the city, you will have to rent a car in Israel.Cheesecake, traditional Shavuot food. Photo by Sebastian Coman Photography on UnsplashEvents in Jerusalem in June 2022Design Week - Held at the Hansen House, this year between 23rd and 30th June, the Jerusalem Design Weekis now in its eleventh year. Considered to be the country’s leading public design event, it’s expecting over 40,000 visitors and 40 events, showcasing the work of both Israeli and international designers. Each year, there is a central theme, looking at unique aspects of Jerusalem and Israel, incorporating the idea that the unusual cultural landscape in the country lends itself well to the idea of exploring important global issues. This year, the subject is time! The week promises all kinds of shows and events, as well as musical performances and ‘pop up’ food and drink offerings. An event to inspire!Hanan Ben Ari Concert in Jerusalem, June 2022On 22nd and 23rd June this year, the Israeli singer and songwriter Hanan Ben Ari will be performing at two concerts in Israel, both at the Sultan’s Pool in Jerusalem. And Ben Ari is an unusual guy - because he is from an orthodox background (he studied in a religious seminary, married young, and had six kids!) but performs in front of co-ed crowds and even writes songs for female songwriters!Moreover, his own music transcends stereotypes - it’s a fusion of rock, soul hip hop, and religious pop and his lyrics deal with a wide range of subjects, including literature, religion, pop culture, and social commentary. Hanan Ben Ari preaches tolerance and empathy and is making a real name for himself, so why not grab yourself a ticket and see for yourself what all the fuss is about?Shop in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel.Photo byChristian BurrionUnsplash‘Divine Food’ exhibition at the Israel Museum, JeruselemJune is your last chance to catch the ‘Divine Food’ exhibition that’s been running at the world-famous Israel Museum for a while now. Showcasing unique pieces from the Olmec, Maya, and Aztec civilizations from Central America, all highlighting the way maize, cacao, and agave became food staples, you can also see an astonishing reconstruction of a Mayan Temple. It’s a great way to learn how these crops were cultivated, and something extra about the Gods of that era. Included in the price of the ticket is entry to the entire museum, giving you the chance to explore the Second Temple model, enjoy some beautiful fine art, wander in Sculpture Garden, and - of course - marvel at the Dead Sea Scrolls, housed in their own bespoke building. Events in Tel Aviv in June 2022Gay Pride Week - Pride week in Tel Aviv is, arguably, one of the highlights of the month, taking place every year in early to mid-June. After a long-drawn-out pandemic, with crowds forbidden or kept low, Pride is back - and it’s going to be big! Tel Aviv is unofficially known as the gay capital of the Middle East and the Pride parade here is one that people from all over the world flock to.Throughout the week, which runs 5th to the 10th of June, there will be events all over the city, culminating on Friday morning, when tens of thousands of people will take to the streets, waving flags, dancing, singing, and cheering on the guys and gals on the many floats. The parade begins at the LGBTQ center in Gan Meir and is very family-friendly - kids aren’t just welcome but loved! And, of course, expect a few after parties!Gay Pride in Tel Aviv, 2018.Photo credit: ©Dmitry MishinTLV International Student Film Festival (12-18 June 2022)Tel Aviv International Student Film Festivalis one of the largest festivals in the world for student films and is attended by many from around the globe. Each year, in June, hundreds of lecturers, students, and well-known persons in the cinema industry descend on Tel Aviv for a chance to see new films and meet up-and-coming producers. Run since 1986 by film students from the University of Tel Aviv, this Israeli project includes premiere screenings, workshops, films, special events, and conferences taking place each day, all at the Cinematheque, just a three-minute walk from the Sarona Complex, historically settled by the German Templars and today a popular area to eat and drink. Tel Aviv Vegan Festival (7-9 June 2022)Tel Aviv’s unofficially known as the vegan capital of the world, due to its ever-growing number of vegan restaurants serving only plant-based produce. So for anyone that follows a vegan diet, taking a holiday here is really very easy - whether you’re looking for traditional Israeli street food, light bites, or high-end cuisine, you’ll find it in this city.The annual Vegan Festival in Tel Aviv this year takes place between Tuesday 7th and Thursday 9th June, at the Sarona Complex in the heart of the city. It’s a veritable paradise for vegans and foodies alike - last year, there were over 100 stalls from restaurants and stores across Israel and, now Covid has waned, over 50,000 people are expected to attend this free event. So whether you fancy some non-dairy ice cream, a yummy poke bowl, or just the opportunity to learn more, put this date in your diary!Bread toasts with avocado, banana, tomato.Photo byElla OlssononUnsplashMovement Archery and Zen Acrobatics (23-25 June 2022)From 23rd to 25th June this year, in Tel Aviv, Tom Weksler and Roser Tutusaus will be holding a Movement Archery workshop. Having established ‘Wonderground’ in 2019, the partners focus on creations that deal with movement, dance, and other art forms.At this workshop, you can learn about posture, balance, imagination, and space. The two of them have taught all across the world and between them have years of experience in art and dance forms, working with companies such as Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak and Guy Nader & Maria Campos.Laila Lavan, aka ‘White Night’ (1 July 2022)Technically it's not June, but we can't help mentioning ‘White Night’, one of the biggest nights of the year in Tel Aviv, with the city coming to life as the sun sets, and events continuing on through the night until the sun rises again. Yes, things really do go on through the night - but then what would you expect from Tel Aviv which is aptly named the Non-Stop City?Many stores and restaurants that would normally close at 10 pm will be open much later. All over the city,Tel Aviv museumswill be free to the public, as well as musical events - think jazz, opera, klezmer, rock, and plenty of cover bands, who’ll perform up and down the famousRothschild Boulevard.In keeping with past events, there will also be activities for kids, dancing at the beach, street artists performing in the Jaffa Flea Market vicinity, and yoga at the Namal port, as the sun rises. The fact that all these events won’t cost you a penny means you’ve no reason not to pick a few that take your fancy (and make sure you’ve had a long afternoon nap before you head out into the 24/7 atmosphere…) If you are interested in Jerusalem tours or Tel Aviv excursions, feel free to contact us.Lifeguard station on the Tel Aviv waterfront. PhotobyGuy TsroronUnsplash
By Sarah Mann
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May in Israel - What's Going On?

Springtime in Israel, particularly the month of May, is an absolutely fantastic time to visit the country. The rainy season has long passed, the sunshine is plentiful but it’s not terribly hot yet, in the way it can be in the high summer. With endless opportunities to enjoy the beach, explore the country and eat dinner outdoors on cool, breezy evenings, some would say it’s the perfect month to plan your perfect vacation in Israel.Sunset in the south of Israel. Photo byShai PalonUnsplashVisit Israel in the Spring!It’s also the ideal season for swimming in the Mediterranean Sea (the water is very pleasant), hiking inGalilee or Golan Heights, where flowers are blooming, visiting some boutique vineyards, or spending a few days in Jerusalem. If you’re there, why not wander the narrow alleyways of Nachlaot before grabbing a bite in theMahane Yehuda Market? There are also endless special events in Israel taking place - concerts, exhibitions, festivals, and one-off performances. If you’re down in the party city of Eilat, after a day of jet skiing, hanging out at the Dolphin Reef, or exploring nearby Timna Park, enjoy a cocktail by the Red Sea in Eilat, with breathtaking scenery in the form of desert mountains behind you.Here are a few of our recommendations for things to do in Israel in May - there’s something for everyone, trust us, so take a look at the list and get packing.Gray Dolphin in Eilat, Israel. Photo bySilviu GeorgescuonUnsplashJerusalem events in May 2022Jerusalem is the world’s most holy city for three major religions and a place packed full of historical sites, archaeological digs, and cultural treasures. And there is plenty going on there in May 2022.Jerusalem International Book ForumRunning from 15th to 18th May in the charming neighborhood of Mishkenot Shaananim, a stone’s throw from the Old City, Jerusalem International Book Forum is a week of professional and intellectual gatherings, with people from all different backgrounds across the world showing up in the capital. The forum offers workshops, panel talks, interviews, and social gatherings, looking at subjects such as podcasts, audiobooks, literature for young adults, and how to publish in a post-Covid world. With almost every event held in English, it’s the perfect event for anyone who loves books.Where: YMCA (26 King David Street) and Mishkenot Shaananim Conference Centre Flag of Israel at the Wailing Wall, Jerusalem. Photo byIvan LouisonUnsplashInternational Museum DayInternational Museum Day falls this year on the 19th of May and those participating in Israel (specifically in Jerusalem) and offering free entrance include the Bible Lands Museum, Bloomfield Science Museum, the Museum of Islamic Art, and the world-famous Israel Museum.Established with the intention of exposing the public to the cultural wealth of museums, it’s a great way to raise awareness of the place of the museum in our society, and not just for adults but for children too. The Israel Museum, in particular, is bursting with treasures, including the Model of the Second Temple, the beautiful Sculpture Garden, replicas of ancient synagogues, and the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, housed in a dedicated building.There are also free guided tours that take you through the four wings - Archaeology, Fine Arts, Jewish art and life, and the Youth Wing for Art Education, as well as a chance to see current exhibitions on masks, food, and castles! Fun fact: Did you know that there are more museums, per capita, in Israel than anywhere else in the world?Where: In museums across Israel (check website for details)The Shrine of the Book, Israel Museum, Jerusalem.Photo credit: © ShutterstockJerusalem Day, all across the City of Jerusalem (28th-29th May 2022)Jerusalem Day (‘Yom Yerushalyim’ in Hebrew) begins on the evening of 28th May and ends the following evening. Commemorating the reunification of the city, after the Six-Day War in 1967, today the capital takes center stage. There’s plenty in store for anyone visiting Jerusalem, including Jerusalem tours, tastings, live music, workshops, and an enormous parade (complete with floats, featuring veterans, local Yerushalmis, and Christian supporters of Israel).It’s a wonderful thing to see, with stages set up in city parks, old-time singers belting out the classics (including Naomi Shemer’s ‘Jerusalem of Gold’) and the kids will love it too since there’s plenty of face-painting on offer! And if you want to learn more about the history of Jerusalem, from the time of King David, head down to the Jaffa Gate - the parade always goes past the walls.Where: Across central Jerusalem and outside the walls of the Old City, at the Jaffa GateEntry of a synagogue in Jerusalem. Photo byLevi Meir ClancyonUnsplash“Which Came First? The Story or the Egg?” Exhibition at the Israel Museum, JerusalemRunning at the world-famous Israel Museum in Jerusalem, this exhibition focuses on prize-winning children’s books illustrator Hilla Havkin. Now she’s painting stories - on ostrich eggs! - and more than 20 of them are on display in this exhibition, each one focusing on a different story - including giraffes, bats, balloons, and kites. As the eggs rotate, surprises abound. What a wonderful exhibition!Where: The Israel Museum, Ruppin Boulevard 11, JerusalemSovev Cycling Event, Jerusalem (Friday 13th May 2022)If you love cycling, love Jerusalem, or love both, then Sovev is for you! This May, to celebrate spring, the city’s largest cycling event takes place, with routes that will take you through pastoral scenes, urban landscapes, and astonishing historical sites. There are three routes - 10km, 40km, and 50kms - and thousands of participants will join. Make sure to register early!Where: The gathering point for everyone is at the First Station in the German Colony.A palm tree in Jaffa, Israel. Photo byReiseuhuonUnsplashTel Aviv events in May 2022After a day at thebeach in Tel Aviv, stroll on itspromenade,learn about Bauhaus architecture in the White City or rent a bicycle and cycle toJaffa. You can also join one of the Tel Aviv special events listed below.DocAviv, Tel Aviv (26th May - 5th June 2022)Beginning on 26th May and running for 10 days, Docaviv in Tel Aviv will be showcasing a range of documentaries, many being their world premieres. Whether you’re interested in history, art, language, family, or politics, there’s going to be something there to intrigue you. This year’s opening film is ‘The Devil Speaks; Eichman’s Lost Confession’ which shows reels of footage of the infamous Nazi, talking to a journalist in Argentina, before his celebrated capture by the Mossad.Where: Cinematheque, 5 Ha’arba’a Street, Tel AvivEat Tel Aviv - A Tel Aviv Food Festival(8th May 2022)The ultimate festival for foodies, Eat Tel Aviv brings together many of Israel’s top chefs in one place, all attempting to woo visitors with their creations. For several days, down at Charles Clore Park, close to the Neve Tzedek neighborhood, you can enjoy live music, fantastic food trucks, and innovative dishes. Some of the top restaurants in Tel Aviv participate here, including Manta Ray (seafood), Vicky Cristina (tapas), and Dixie (burgers) as well as plenty of celebrity chefs. Tastings and street food. What’s not to like?Where: Charles Clore Park, Tel AvivJaffa port area. Photo byShai PalonUnsplashRooftop Yoga at City Hall, Tel AvivEvery Thursday beginning at 6 pm, at City Hall, next to Rabin Square, yoga lovers gather together, to enjoy an hour or two of free yoga classes and sessions on the roof of the municipality. Apart from the fact that there are great views over the city, it’s a good way to meet new friends.Where: Tel Aviv City Hall, Rabin Square, 66 Ibn Gvirol StreetWhite City Bauhaus Tours, Tel AvivEvery Friday at 10 am, beginning at the Bauhaus Center on trendy Dizengoff Street, a classic Bauhaus Tour takes place, beginning with an introductory movie and a map. You’ll then set off with your guide, and also armed with stereo headsets, connected to their microphone.You’ll be taken around the oldest boulevards and streets in the city - including Rothschild, Ahad Ha’am, and Nahmani - and learn about the history of the White City’s most prominent buildings in this style, built in the 1930s and ’40s by German Jews, who arrived in Tel Aviv just before World War II. The cost is 80 NIS (25 USD).Deep Purple Concert, Tel Aviv (Sunday 22nd May 2022)Founded in 1968, Deep Purple is truly a pioneer of the heavy metal scene (they also won a Guinness Record award for being the world’s loudest band). Next month, they will be performing at the Menorah Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv, to the delight of their many fans in Israel. So get ready for a night out, with a bunch of hard rock lovers.Where: Menora Mivtachim Arena, Tel AvivBlack horse carriage in Tel Aviv, Israel. Photo byAvi TheretonUnsplashEvents in Northern Israel in May 2022Whether you’re hiking in Galilee, tasting wines and cheeses on the farms of the Jezreel Valley, or kayaking down theJordan River, the Holy Land is waiting for you!Shivat Roim Dairy, northern IsraelBefore Shavuot arrives (in early June), why not head north to Shirat Roim (‘Shepherds Song’) up in the Galilee. It’s a boutique dairy, making fantastic sheep and goat cheeses, all without preservatives! It’s so good, it’s won prizes in Europe for its fabulous products. At their dairy on Kibbutz Lotem (near Karmiel), you can see the entire process (the making and the ripening), attend a workshop, and taste some samples. The ‘House of Cheese’ which is next door is open to the public on weekends and holidays. Yum! Where: Shirat Roim Dairy, Kibbutz Lotan, Western GalileeKayaking on the Jordan RiverThis is a really good activity for May because the weather is fantastic - not too hot and not too cold. It’s also a great experience for adults and kids - and the Jordan River is perfect for kayaking. Slide over small cascades, as your guide directs you through thick vegetation. Enjoy the fabulous views - the river banks are green and peaceful and if you’re lucky, you might even see a turtle!Where:the Jordan RiverView of the Golan Heights from Mount Bental.Photo credit: © ShutterstockYom Ha’Atzmaut (aka Israel Independence Day)Taking place this year on 4th-5th May, this is one of the most joyful days of the year, with celebrations that kick off at dusk and last through the night, followed by more celebrations the following day, in the form of a traditional Israeli ‘mangal’ (barbeque) at the beach, or in your friend’s back garden.All towns and cities in Israel have festivities, which include fireworks and concerts. In Jerusalem, there is the traditional torch-lighting ceremony atMount Herzl, attended by dignitaries, and in Tel Aviv, there’s a huge gathering atRabin Square(the square named after the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin) with dancing and music.The following day, if you’re not a fan of barbeque, you can enjoy free entrance to certain museums, includingYad La Shiryonin Latrun (Israel’s official memorial for fallen soldiers) and theHall of IndependenceonRothschild Boulevard, where David Ben Gurion read out the famous Declaration of Independence in May of 1948.Where: Events all across the countryFireworks at the end of the 70th Independence day ceremony on Mt. Herzl. Photo byLavi PerchikonUnsplashJeep Tours, Golan HeightsThere are plenty of jeep tours you can take in Israel, but one we’d highly recommend is run by the company ‘No Other Land’ up in the Golan Heights, based on Kibbutz Merom Golan. It’s not just a great chance to explore northern Israel but really to see how locals, especially on kibbutzim, live in this part of the country.Guided by Ilan Shurman, who not only served in the IDF as a paratrooper but also holds a degree in Israel and Middle East Studies, he’ll give you plenty of history and geopolitics, with trips out to Qunietra (today a ghost town) and a stop outside one of the Israeli bunkers close to the border with Syria. This is a perfect family attraction and teenagers in particular, tend to love it!Where: Kibbutz Merom Golan,No Other Land Jeep Tours.International Yoga Festival in Israel, May 2022Israelis love yoga (seriously!) and this year, between 12th-14th May 2022 an enormous festival is taking place in the north of the country. Featuring teachers, lecturers, musicians, and workshops, people will gather together to learn and practice their skills for a long weekend, in the most pastoral of environments.A woman doing advanced yoga pose. Photo byARA CHOonUnsplashThe ‘yoga village’ at which it will take place is atGan HaShlosha National Park, one of Israel’s most beautiful nature reserves, which is located close to Mount Gilboa. The surrounding streams and astonishing waterfalls lend themselves to an atmosphere of happiness and tranquillity…and the festival is even promising a special ‘water compound’ with special sessions.The International Yoga Festival, along with all of the usual the ‘yogie’ activities, will feature music shows, a kid’s compound (complete with fun activities and shallow swimming areas), food stands (many of which are promoting vegan food), and a great artist’s fair, where you can purchase jewelry, clothing, and art.Wine Tours in the Carmel MountainsIsrael’s full of fabulouswineriesand what better thing to do than to take a tour of one, whilst enjoying the astonishing scenery? The Carmel Winery was founded by Baron Edmond de Rothschild in 1892, with the aim of helping farmers earn a long-term living, rather than relying on more simple crops.The Centre For Wine CultureinZichron Yaakovprovides guided tours and this includes a wine shop, restaurant, two specialist-tasting rooms, a small cinema, and a barrel room in an underground cellar. And Zichron itself is a lovely little town, so take a stroll afterwards on its midrachov (main pedestrianized street) or even head off toHaifa, which is just 30 minutes away.Where: Carmel Wintery, 2 Derek Ha Yekev, Zichron YaakovInterested in special events in Israel, private orday tours in Israel?Feel free to contact us!Flam Winery, Eshtaol, Israel.Photo byEli LevitonUnsplash
By Sarah Mann
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Chol HaMoed and What to Do in Israel over Passover

Spring has arrived in Israel, in earnest, and with it comes the festival of Passover, one of the most beloved and most celebrated festivals in the Jewish calendar. However, Passover, unlike other festivals, does not last one or two days - it lasts an entire week - only of which two of these days are actually religious holidays! Complicated? Well, maybe, but let’s try and explain it here in terms that don’t have you scratching your head!People praying at the Western Wall. Photo bySnowscatonUnsplashWhen you know it’s spring, you know it’s PassoverAll Jewish festivals begin and end at sundown since the Jewish calendar is lunar. Of the seven days of Passover (in other communities around the world, Passover is celebrated for eight, but that’s another story) only the first and last day in Israel are days where observant Jews obey many aspects of Jewish law. Chol HaMoed - the ‘secular’ days of the festivalThe middle five days are referred to as ‘Chol Ha Moed’ - the ‘weekdays’ of the festival. The literal Hebrew translation is ‘application of the consent’ or ‘the secular part of the occasion’ and these days apply both to the holidays of Passover and Sukkot (which falls every year in the autumn, after the Jewish Day of Atonement).In Israel, Passover is a much loved holiday, celebrated both by secular, traditional, and Orthodox Jews, in different ways. Almost all Israelis attend a ‘seder meal’ on the first night of Passover where, along with friends and family, they celebrate their freedom, telling once more the story of Exodus in the Bible, when the Israelites fled slavery in Egypt and became a free people.A counter with spices at Jerusalem shuk.Photo credit: © ShutterstockHow to celebrate Passover over Chol HaMoedHowever, even though the days that follow are not religious, all schools are closed and many people take time off from work, to be with their children or to travel, in Israel or abroad. Not all work is forbidden, according to Jewish law, but generally, if you are in Israel at this time of the year, you will notice that people are out and about, enjoying themselves and it’s quite common to find that businesses are closed for the entire week.Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the things that are going on in the Holy Land this Passover, over Chol HaMoed. And, trust us, there is plenty to do, and not just for the kids either. The weather is good, everyone wants to be out, taking advantage of the best beaches in Israel, hiking trails, and desert scenery, but there are plenty of cultural attractions too. Best of all, many of them open their doors for free at this time of the year, so a day out won’t necessarily be hard on the pocket. So, pack yourself a matzah sandwich and some fruit, and enjoy yourself, wherever you choose to go… A Jewish man eating matzah. Photo bycottonbroonPexelsWhat’s going on in Jerusalem over Passover?1. Ice Eat Complex Offering food and music and workshops, this is a great place to bring the kids. They can learn to make Passover muffins with a yummy chocolate frosting, enjoy storytime sessions and join in their ‘cooking hour’ with top chef Chen Koren. The entrance is free.2. Passover at Train TheatreClose to Liberty Bell Park and offering all kinds of puppet performances, both in English and Hebrew, there are storytelling sessions with music and daily shows here too, including ‘Goldilocks and the Three Pandas’, ‘Toto and Friends’ and ‘Yuka the Doll’. 3. Bloomfield Science MuseumWith free entrance for kids toBloomfield Science Museum, this is a fantastic day out in Jerusalem, giving the whole family a chance to learn about Leonardo da Vinci, Hypatia the mathematician, electricity, levers, and why buildings don't fall down! What a way to make science fun.4. Passover at the Tower of DavidIf you want to learn more about the history of Jerusalem, you should visit the Tower of David. Take part in a ‘Hide the Afikomen inside the Box’ and crack the riddle or Climb to the top of the tower and enjoy magnificent panoramic views of the city. Or come at night for the ‘King David’ performance, and learn - through lights and music - about the boy who became King and founded this amazing city.Bloomfield Science Museum. Photo credit: © Katya Savina5. Passover at the Israel MuseumThe world-famous Israel museum is hosting a special Children’s Exhibition over Passover, as well as ‘Family Tuesday’ photography sessions, recycling workshops, and storytime in the illustration library. You can also enjoy the sculpture gardens, and the Dead Sea Scrolls area and tour the model of the Second Temple.6. Jerusalem Botanical GardensOffering free entry, this wonderful oasis offers a glimpse of plants from around the globe, and the opportunity to learn about biodiversity too. Wander from garden to garden and continent to continent, and escape the hustle and bustle of the capital for a couple of hours in Jerusalem Botanical Gardens. 7. The Bible Lands MuseumThis is the place to go if you want to engage in some ‘Pharoah Mania’. The Bible Lands Museum is hosting a special exhibition for kids called ‘Egypt Here We Go’ where you can unravel the mysteries of Egypt, play online games and puzzles, enjoy crafts workshops and theatre performances and learn about the great Pharaohs!8. Ramparts WalkThe best place to see Jerusalem? From above, on the ramparts of course! Not everyone knows about this tour but it;’s fantastic….and two different routes are included in the admission ticket. From the north side, you’ll go from the Jaffa Gate to the Lion’s Gate, close to the Dome of the Rock. The south side (easier for kids) begins at the Tower of David and ends at the Western Wall. Put on your walking shoes!Ramparts Walk, Jerusalem. Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinWhat’s going on in Tel Aviv over Passover?1. ‘White City’ Architecture TourRun by the Bauhaus Center, and recommended by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, if you’re a fan of this German design style, you can’t miss this. Each Friday, beginning at 10 am at 77 Dizengoff Street, their two-hour tour of the ‘White City’ architecture of historic Tel Aviv takes you through Rothschild Boulevard, Ahad Ha’am, Montefiore Street, giving you a chance to see how many of these classic buildings have been lovingly restored. There are also family tours and private tours available. 2. Yitzhak Rabin CenterAssassinated in 1995 by an Israeli extremist, Rabin’s memory - as a brilliant soldier, much-loved Prime Minister and ‘typical Sabra Israeli’ has been honored at this museum, which is wonderfully designed. As you walk through the passages of Yitzhak Rabin Center, on one side you’ll learn about Rabin’s life, whilst on the other side - concurrently - you’ll see what was going on in Palestine/Israel at the very same time. Moving and emotional. Free entrance.Yayoi Kusama: A Retrospective, Tel Aviv Museum of Art.Photo credit: ©Dmitry Mishin3. Food Tour of the Carmel MarketThe Carmel Market typifies everything that is Tel Aviv - it’s chaotic, bustling, and sends your senses into overdrive with all of the sounds and smells on offer. Either walk around there alone or take a food tasting tour there, where you’ll mix with locals, learn about the history and the culture of the market and hopefully come away with some goodies for your pantry! 4. Tel Aviv Museum of ArtShowcasing modern art from both Israel and around the world, entrance to Tel Aviv Museum of Art is free this Passover. Not only can you wander their permanent collections, but there are also activities for kids such as ‘kaleidoscope’ (inspired by the Japanese artist Kusama’s work) and Shai Ignatz’s ‘Goldi’ portraits.5. Jaffa Flea MarketJaffa is the kind of place everyone falls in love with - wandering the narrow alleyways of the Artist’s Quarter, wandering down at the historic port, overlooking the Mediterranean, enjoying hummus at local eateries, and, of course, poking around at the flea market. It’s a treasure trove - bric-a-brac, vintage, furniture, second-hand clothes, and piles of toys on the floor. And if you’re really curious about the market’s history, then sign up for a Shuk to Chic tour!Jaffa Flea Market, Israel.Photo credit: © ShutterstockWhat to do in Haifa and Northern Israel over Passover1. Haifa ZooA great day out for the entire family, this lovely little zoo has more than 100 species, including lemurs, meerkats, anacondas, Griffon vultures, camels, and the rare Persian fallow deer (who live almost exclusively in the Upper Galilee). All of the animals are in specially-designed habitats, and once you’ve had your fill of animal watching, you can enjoy their botanical garden and the Prehistory Museum in Haifa.2. Madatech Museum of ScienceA leading science and technology museum in Israel, Mada Tech offers more than 20 interactive science and technology exhibitions to its visitors. Learn about binoculars and microscopes or Leonardo da Vinci. Check out the solar system or discover what green energy is (steam, wind, solar), and don’t miss the exhibition ‘Smile’ where you can learn all about the teeth inside your mouth!Hi-Bar Carmel National Park. Photo credit: © Manu Grinspan. Published with permission of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority3. Carmel National ParkPacked full of walking paths, bicycle lanes, dedicated nature reserves, and endless archaeological sites, Carmel National Park is Israel’s largest national park and you can easily spend an entire day there. There are scenic views both of the Mediterranean and the mountains, and hiking trails of all lengths and difficulties. Look out for jackals and eagles, and enjoy peace and tranquillity, even though you’re very close to Haifa. 4. The Old City of AcreThe extraordinary Crusader City of Acre has much to offer the visitor, including the Knights Halls, Templar's Tunnel, the traditional market, and the historic Acre port. Home, over the years, to Romans, Byzantines, Mamluks, Ottomans, and the British, it is steeped in history and actually a UNESCO World Heritage site. After you’ve explored the Turkish baths, mosques, and citadels (all built on top of Crusader ruins), eat lunch by the sea (the fish is excellent), and you can even take a boat ride (for a small fee) and see the city from the water.5. Tour the Sea of GalileeArguably one of the most lovely areas of Israel, Galilee is a large area but a drive around the sea area is a fantastic day out. Explore the historical sites - the Mount of Beatitudes, the Church of the Multiplication, the ruins of a fourth-century synagogue…then head onto Ein Gev, where your kids can explore the kibbutz on a train and you can eat a good fish lunch, whilst overlooking the sea.The route of the Old Akko walls, Israel.Photo credit: © ShutterstockWhat to do in the Negev Desert and Southern Israel over Passover1. Mitzpe RamonIf you wanted to capture the spirit of beauty and silence in the desert, there’s no better place to do it than in this small town, which is home to an enormous Ramon crater. Here, you can hike, climb, abseil or just sit by the edge and enjoy the stunning views of Mitzpe Ramon. There’s also an Alpaca Farm nearby, which the kids will love, as well as the opportunity to spend the night at a Bedouin camp, complete with a bonfire and traditional dinner.2. Ein Avdat CanyonClose to Kibbutz Sde Boker, the burial place of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, this hidden gem of a hiking trail boasts springs, hiking trails, and a marvelous canyon, with steps carved out of the rock itself. Set within the striking landscape of the Zin Valley, the Ein Avdat canyon stretches for over 60 km and is home to all sorts of flora and fauna. If you’re lucky, you might even see an eagle soaring high above you!3. The Negev Wine RouteDespite all the odds, there are a growing number of wineries in the Negev so why not explore them on this route? These include Nana Estate, Ramon, and Sde Boker wineries, all along Route 40 between Beersheba and Mitzpe Ramon. It’s a great opportunity to meet the owners who, in true pioneer spirit, have overcome the many challenges of working in such an inhospitable climate and are excelling in their trade.Ein Avdat National Park, Israel. Photo credit: © Oksana Mats4. Timna National ParkAbout 25kms north of Eilat, in the Arava desert, lies Timna National Park, which affords the visitor extraordinary hiking and biking trails. Once home to a copper mine, dating back to 4500 BCE, it is home to extraordinary rock formations, in hues of pink, orange, red and brown. And if you’re really adventurous, you can actually descend down one of the ancient mine shafts…affording you relief from the heat of the ground!5. Eilat over PassoverIt might be a bit of a cliche, but who can resist Eilat at Passover? It’s a holiday resort, with all kinds of attractions - restaurants, bars, the famed Dolphin Reef, and Underworld Observatory. And because it’s on the Red Sea, you can snorkel, dive, jet ski, swim, or just hire a sun lounger and lie on the beach all day, looking out at the Gulf of Aqaba! Wherever you end up going this Pesach, however, enjoy yourself, both at seder night and on Chol HaMoed and if you’d like to book a day trip in Israel with us, just contact us - we’re here to help. EilatAquapark, Israel. Photo byMichal IcoonUnsplash
By Sarah Mann
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10 Top Restaurants in Tel Aviv

Two or three decades ago, when you came to Israel the chances are that you’d be ordering ‘typical Israeli fare’ if you went out to eat. This could be traditional Eastern European food, such as gefilte fish, chicken soup, borscht and cholent (beef stew). Or it might be something more Moroccan - spicy peas, baked cod and orange cake. And then there was ‘Israeli street food’ - falafel, sabich, shawarma, jachnun and malawach. It was all good - but it wasn’t too adventurous.Restaurants in Tel Aviv by night. Photo byYaroslav LutskyonUnsplashThings sure have changed. Israel now has a thriving food scene and, without a doubt, Tel Aviv is at its epicentre. This lively Mediterranean city, with its non-stop nightlife, has, in recent years, become a foodie paradise, with fantastic restaurants springing up in every neighbourhood. Indeed, there have been so many that it’s hard to know how to pick ten for this piece.But pick ten we will. Now we’re not saying that they’re necessarily “the best restaurants in Tel Aviv” - after all, that would be way too bold a statement to make. But in their own way, they all stand out - for their cuisine, their service, their style and their flair. Some are ‘fine dining’ establishments and others more casual, with a very easygoing atmosphere. Here, we give you a taste of the city - from meat and fish to vegan and gluten-free, from tasting menus to tapas and from fine wines to unusual cocktails. Pick one and try it for yourself. And then pick another. In fact, extend your vacation in Israel - because once you’ve started eating in Tel Aviv, you might never want to stop.Tel Aviv perfectly combines the past and the future. Photo byShai PalonUnsplash1. Shila - Sharon Cohen Kitchen & Bar, Tel AvivStarting in the city’s north, we have Shila and for many locals and visitors to Israel alike, there’s no doubt about it - it’s the best seafood restaurant in Tel Aviv. Described by many as gastronomic heaven, it’s a great place not just to eat but also to have fun. Admittedly, the food is not cheap here but the dishes are very creative and it’s fair to say some of them are really gourmet quality. Dishes that are consistently rated highly include the blue swimmer crab, octopus carpaccio and scallops with bacon. (Note - this is a seafood-heavy menu and very much not kosher). For dessert, do try the pistachio turron - mousse, financier and raspberry sorbet; it’s delectable! They also have a superb wine list. With its lively atmosphere and efficient service, Shila is definitely a fine dining establishment. But it’s also one of the city’s trendiest places - both for couples on romantic dates and groups, who love the closed outdoor seating. And because it’s open late, it’s great for Night Owls. Shila, Ben Yehuda Street 182. Tel: 02 522-1224Shila - Sharon Cohen Kitchen & Bar, Tel Aviv. Photo from Shila by Chef Sharon Cohen Facebook page2. Nina Hachi, Tel AvivThis kosher sushi and Asian-inspired restaurant has both a modern and relaxed atmosphere and is a firm favourite with locals and visitors to Israel who observe the Jewish dietary laws. With its warm wooden decor and arty presentation, you can be sure of generous portions and top-quality fresh sushi.Vegetarians will love the gyoza, spicy fried tofu, sweet potato maki and the wonderful coconut curry. f you like raw fish, the tataki (beef/tuna) or salmon caterpillar sushi rolls are a great choice. If you’re a meat-lover, try the Teppan Yaki chicken and if you have a sweet tooth, there’s tapioca in coconut or be adventurous and order some mochi! And one last thing - they actually have special fish dishes for pregnant women! A great kosher eatery.Nina Hachi, Ben Yehuda Street 228. Tel: 02 624-9228Nina Hachi sushi restaurant, Tel Aviv. Photo fromNini Hachi Facebook page3. Alena Restaurant at the Norman Hotel, Tel AvivThe Norman Hotel is one of Tel Aviv’s most luxurious establishments and so it’s no surprise that their in-house dining options are rather classy too. In the words of Alena themselves, guests can partake of an ‘exciting menu that enhances European-inspired favourites with a Mediterranean and Galician flourish’. Intrigued? You should be. Their menu includes tortellini with hyssop butter, drumfish with toasted fennel, a charred octopus skewer and calamari with crystal shrimps. They also pair their desserts with wines (a nice touch!) - we recommend the olive oil chocolate tart, accompanied by a Port. And if you’re not exhausted at the meal’s conclusion, head to the Norman’s Library Bar, which is incredibly elegant and full of charm - their gin martinis are to die for too! Then walk it off with a stroll on Rothschild Boulevard, which is two minutes away…The Norman, Nachmani 25. Tel: 03 543-5555.Alena Restaurant at the Norman Hotel, Tel Aviv. Photo fromThe Norman Tel Aviv Facebook page4. OCD, Tel Aviv“Does Tel Aviv have a restaurant with a Michelin star?” visitors often ask. Well, not yet, but if there’s any establishment worthy of one then we think it’s OCD. Under the watchful eye of chef Raz Rahav, a select few diners around a bar (19 per sitting) get to partake of a 19-course degustation menu, using local food from artisan producers. OCD is open exclusively for dinner, with two seatings per evening - and you may well have to book many months ahead, to be assured of a reservation. A fusion of eastern Mediterranean and haute-cuisine, diners have no idea what will be on the tasting menu when they arrive but can choose from different categories of food beforehand (vegetarian, fish and seafood, meat, vegan etc). As you sit around the bar, the open kitchen is in the background, so you can watch the sous chefs preparing each plate, quite meticulously. Indeed, it can be quite mesmerising, watching them put so much effort into every small detail.From black caviar and trout sashimi to cauliflower pancakes and beet chutney, people continually rave about the unique textures and tastes of the gourmet food. Very pricey - but this kind of meal really does come at a price! Our tip: Order a Moscow Mule cocktail to really make the evening special.OCD, Tirtsa 17, Tel Aviv. Tel: 03 556-6774.A sandwich byOCD, Tel Aviv. Photo from OCD TLV Facebook page5. Taizu, Tel AvivOpened in 2013, by the acclaimed chef Yuval Ben Neriah, this is probably one of Tel Aviv’s best Asian restaurants. Inspired by Ben Neriah’s travels through Southeast Asia, dishes served are a twist on authentic street food from Cambodia, Vietnam, India, China and Thailand.Taizu’s food is inspired by the five Chinese elements - fire, water, wood, metal and earth and his shareable plates reflect this theme well. Chilli crab, tiger shrimp dumplings, steamed buns and Szechuan wontons are all favourites with diners and every Sunday evening they serve a specially-themed Indian dinner, with extraordinary creations such as octopus tandoori. The desserts don’t disappoint either - we recommend the ‘mango sphere’ - mango mousse, carrot curry cream, saffron and white chocolate. Excellent service, original recipes and a wonderful atmosphere - Taizu is simply splendid, which probably accounts for the several awards it has won in the last 5 years. Prepare to open your wallet! Taizu, Derech Menachem Begin 23. Tel: 03 522 5005.Sesame-covered fish tartare by Taizu, Tel Aviv. Photo fromTaizu Restaurant Facebook page6. MESSA, Tel AvivMessa, which means ‘table’ in Spanish, is a chef restaurant established in 2004 and its menu is based on ingredients and recipes from around the globe. Combining French, Mediterranean, Italian and Asian influences, the dishes are colourful and creative. They also take decor very seriously - everything is designed to make you feel comfortable, from the restaurant area (painted entirely white) to the bar area (decked out entirely in black). Lamb pate with brandy sauce, foie gras, beef tartare, caramelised salmon with Asian dumplings (stuffed with mushrooms, peanuts and ginger), gnocchi with pumpkin and cheek meat ravioli in a garlic cream are some of the delectable creations they serve up. Semifreddo brulée, double cheesecake with fondue and vegan tahini parfait with raisins and pistachios are all perfect for those with a sweet tooth. This is not an everyday dining experience, and it really is expensive, but it’s worth it if you want to splurge. Messa is located in the Sarona neighbourhood, so if you’ve energy after dinner, you can stroll around the area and admire the restored houses which were once part of the German Templar Village, built in 1871.MESSA, HaArba’a 19. Tel: 03 685-6859A dish from Messa's menu, Tel Aviv. Photo from Messa Restaurant Facebook page7. West Side TLVManaged by chef Omri Cohen, this upscale establishment is arguably one of the best kosher restaurants in Tel Aviv. Located inside the high-end Royal Beach Hotel, it’s made a name for itself, serving fine Mediterranean fish and meat dishes, as well as plenty of salads and vegetarian options. Red tuna tartar, Nebraska sirloin with Jerusalem artichoke, oxtail gnocchi, mushroom risotto, tomato salad with citrus dressing are some of the menu’s offerings, and plates are beautifully balanced, with flavours that are both intense but fresh. They also have a version of the British dessert ‘Eton Mess’ - with strawberries, meringue and cream - but, since the restaurant is kosher meat, the ‘cream’ is actually non-dairy, although very tasty! (They also have dark chocolate creations, which are excellent). Diners rave about the excellent service at the West Side, and how polite, attentive and professional the servers are. Overlooking the sea, it’s designed in ‘NYC style’ - spacious, comfortable and contemporary. If you’re observing Jewish dietary laws, this is a great choice for dinner.West Side, Hayarkon 19. Tel: 03 740-5054.A dish with Za'atar and mint,West Side TLV Kosher Restaurant. Photo fromWest Side TLV Facebook page8. Meshek Barzilai, Tel AvivNestled in the heart of the charming Neve Tzedek neighbourhood, Meshek Barzilay is by far and away one of Tel Aviv’s best vegan restaurants, and a real trailblazer when it comes to sourcing local produce. Placing their emphasis on fresh, seasonal produce, they’ve definitely proved in the last few years that food can be tasty and creative without using meat, fish or dairy produce.Their tempting appetisers include tempura vegetables, avocado Panjabi and Indonesian salad. Mains don’t disappoint either - the artichoke and cashew cheese pizza is excellent, as are the Masala Dosa and sweet and sour tofu. And if you thought vegan desserts were boring, think again. Their ‘drunken pear’, lemon tart, ‘Chocoluz’ and ‘Wild Thing’ are all worth trying, and visitors rave about their ‘chocolate leaves.’Service is friendly and professional and there’s both an indoor area and terrace. Meshek Barzilay also offers a separate kid’s menu and a set price dinner each Sunday night. Trust us, if you eat here, you will leave, asking yourself “How can vegan and gluten-free food be this good?”Meshek Barzilay, Ahad Ha’am 6. Tel: 03 516-6329.Various soups byMeshek Barzilay, Tel Aviv. Photo from Meshek Barzilay Facebook page9. Vicky Cristina, Tel AvivIf you’re a fan of tapas, then head in the direction of Vicky Cristina, which offers original and authentic Spanish dishes with all kinds of colours and flavours. Located in HaTachana (the old railway station in Tel-Aviv/Jaffa), it’s a great place for a fun night out, with its bar area with high stools, courtyard and garden with mosaic-covered sculptures.Some say the atmosphere is more reminiscent of Barcelona and Madrid than the Levant and as you dig into the plates, with a pitcher of sangria next to you, you could well feel that way. There are all the dishes you’d expect - patatas bravas, fried calamari, Spanish omelette, garlic shrimp…and the menu changes throughout the year, according to what seasonal produce is available.Our tip: sit outside on the patio, next to one of the city’s oldest ficus trees, and let yourself be swept away by the live music and (if you’re lucky) flamenco dancing performances. Not cheap but a fun night out.Vicky Cristina, Hatachana (The Station), Tel Aviv. Tel: 03 736-7272Sashimi byVicky Cristina, Tel Aviv. Photo fromVicky Cristina Facebook page10. Rustico, Tel AvivWe think it’s fair to say that whilst Rustico is not super expensive, or gourmet, it’s still one of the best Italian restaurants in Tel Aviv. In their own words, they serve classic fare - salads with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, pizzas and pasta, lasagnas, risottos and seafood, all with typical Italian warmth and informality.The dishes are flavourful, well-presented and generous in their portions and there’s a huge terrace outside, which is perfect for warm days. Inside, the atmosphere is cosy but the wait staff are still alert, attentive and professional.Dishes that never disappoint are the gnocchi with mascarpone and chestnuts, chicken liver with black pepper, sherry butter shrimp linguine, mushroom risotto and sea bream fillet. The pizzas are fantastic and vegan cheese is available for three of the options. Their classic - ‘the Rustico’ - with tomatoes, mozzarella, arugula and parmesan is, frankly, out of this world.Rustico has a good wine list, the bartenders can whip up excellent cocktails and there are a few nice little touches - like serving patrons a shot of limoncello, whilst they’re deciding on dessert or ordering espresso. And if you have a sweet tooth, you could do worse than try their tiramisu or créme brûlée... Whether you’re seated at a table, around the bar or outside on the terrace, this is the closest thing you’ll get to sitting in Piazza Navona in Rome, with a 6 pm aperitif. Rustico, Rothschild Boulevard 15. Tel: 03 510-0039Dinner at Rustico, Tel Aviv. Photo credit: ©Asaf Karela, from Rustico Facebook pageWe hope your taste buds have been tickled with this list of wonderful restaurants, and that you’re tempted to book a table. Finally, if you’d like to take one of our tours of Tel Aviv (including the Jaffa Port and flea market, or a Food Tour of the Carmel Market) don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.
By Sarah Mann
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Historical Events in Israel: From the Byzantines to the British

The history of the Land of Israel, from ancient times, through the centuries, and up until present day, is incredibly rich and fascinating, full of twists and turns - no wonder there are no end of books on it. But if you don’t have time to read tomes when planning your perfect vacation in Israel, then let us do some of the hard work for you and give you a ‘potted history’ of the Holy Land.The Knights Halls in the Hospitaller quarter, Acre, Israel.Photo credit: © ShutterstockIn Part One of our series on major historical events in Israel, we took a look at certain ‘stand out’ events in the Bible, recorded in the nation’s first thousand years - from Abraham and Moses at Sinai to the eras of Kings David and Solomon, followed by uprisings against the Romans and the life and times of Jesus.Following on from this, today we’re taking a look at thousands more years of Jewish history, beginning with Byzantine Rule and ending with the British Mandate and plenty in between. From Persians and Crusaders to Arabs and Ottomans, we’ll do our best to give you a timeline on what, when and how in the Holy Land, from 313 to 1948. Ready? Then read on…1. Byzantine Rule in ancient IsraelBetween 313-636, ancient Israel was controlled by the Byzantines. Ruled over by Emperor Constantine, Christianity became widely practised in the Holy Land and churches were built in Jerusalem, Nazareth and the Galilee. The conquered territory was divided into three provinces: Palestina Prima, Palestina Secunda and Palestina Tertia and these provinces were part of the Diocese of the East.The Byzantines practised Orthodox Christianity but, compared to other periods in time, Jews fared well under their rule, at least the early part. This is because they occupied a legal position that was somewhat in ‘no man’s land’. They were not regarded as pagans, nor were they expected to convert to Christianity.Byzantine Cardo, Jerusalem, Israel.Photo credit: © ShutterstockInstead, they were granted citizenship (i.e. legal equality with other citizens) and, for the most part, allowed to worship as Jews. They were not forced to violate Shabbat or Jewish holidays and synagogues were their recognised prayer houses. (However, the ritual practice of circumcision was banned, since it was considered barbaric by the Byzantines).Unfortunately, by the beginning of the 5th century, Emperor Theodosius ruled that Jews were perfidious (since they had rejected Jesus) and forbade them from holding public office and increased their taxes. Intermarriage was forbidden, as was the building of new synagogues. Luckily for the Jews, the Byzantines had other problems within their Empire so enforcement of the last restriction was lax. Consequently, Jews continued to build, and in old synagogues across Israel today, you can find beautiful mosaic floors, depicting Byzantine-style art. Some of the best examples can be viewed at archaeological sites such as Tsipori, Tiberias, Beit Shean and Beit Alpha.2. Persian Invasion to Ancient IsraelAt the tail end of Byzantine rule came an invasion of ancient Israel by the Persians. They were helped by the Jews (who hoped to be ‘delivered’ from their lowly status) and, as a reward for the help, the Persians decreed that they could administer Jerusalem. Unfortunately for the history of Jews in Israel, this ‘halcyon period’ only lasted three years after which the Byzantine army reconquered Jerusalem and expelled its Jewish population.Beit Shean Roman Theatre, Israel. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin3. Arab Rule in Ancient IsraelBetween 636-1099, ancient Israel was conquered by the Arabs, who would rule ancient Israel for the next 450 years or so. Events began with the Siege of Jerusalem in 636, four years after the death of the Prophet Mohammed when the Rashidun army conquered the territory. In the next four centuries, a number of Caliphates would rule, first from Damascus and subsequently from Egypt.Initially, Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem and settle there. They were granted the status of ‘dhimmi’ (non-Muslims protected by law) and this gave them security over their property as well as freedom of worship. Of course, this came at a price - special taxes that they paid - but it certainly safeguarded their lives.However, as time passed, the Jews began to suffer more economic and social discrimination and, as a result, many of them left the country. By the end of the 11th century, the number of Jews in the land of Israel had decreased quite substantially.In the meantime, under the Umayyad Empire, caravan stops, bathhouses and places of worship were constructed, the most famous of which is the Dome of the Rock Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem. Built by Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan in 691, this Islamic Shrine is one of the best examples of architecture and, today, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Constructed on the Temple Mount, its golden dome makes it the city’s most recognisable landmark and, of course, it continues to be a focal point for Muslim prayer.Dome of the Rock, Temple Mount, Israel. Photo byThales Botelho de SousaonUnsplash4. The Crusaders Arrive in the Holy LandBetween 1099-1291, the Crusaders dominated the landscape of the Holy Land. Christian knights and peasants from across Western Europe heeded the call of Pope Urban to take up arms and aid the Byzantines in their struggle to recapture the Holy Land from Muslim control.The Crusades (or ‘holy wars’ as they are also known) were met with an extraordinary response from all sections of society. Military Orders were particularly well represented, including the Knights Templar, the Teutonic Knights and the Hospitallers, who made it their business to protect pilgrims travelling to and from the Holy Land.All in all, there were four major Crusades, the first of which culminated in the fall of Jerusalem and the slaughter of hundreds of its inhabitants, even though the leader Tancred had promised they would be spared. Today, if you visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City, you can still see endless crosses carved into the stone walls, left behind by Knights who took shelter there.As a result, Christian rule was established in the Holy Land. Castles were built in Acre and the Galilee and Crusader states were established far north of ancient Israel. Only in 1181 did Saladin (the first Sultan of both Egypt and Syria) reclaim Jerusalem. In front of the Damascus Gate and the Tower of David, Saladin's army bombarded the ramparts with arrows but only after six days, when he moved to the Mount of Olives, was he victorious.Jews fared little better than Muslims in the Crusader era - thousands were murdered (beheaded or thrown in the sea) and their synagogues. The Crusades set the tone for many more centuries of antisemitism, not just in the Holy Land but throughout Europe.Ruins of Yehiam Teutonic Fortress, Israel.Photo credit: ©Dmitry Mishin5. Mamluk Rule in PalestineBetween 1291-1516, it was the Mamluks who ruled the region. In Arabic, Mamluk means ‘one who is owned’ or ‘slave’ and these non-Arabs (who had, historically, served Arab dynasties in the Muslim world) came from a number of regions including Caucasia, Turkey and from Southeastern Europe.The Mamluks' years in power were marked by a major eradication of Crusader culture in the Holy Land. Not only did they prevent the Mongols from advancing into Syria but they were also extremely cultured - today, in Israel, and especially in Jerusalem, you can still see many of the buildings they designed.Initially, as with the period of Arab rule, Jews were once more granted ‘dhimmi’ status but as time passed, the Jewish community began to shrink. Where Jews continued to live, they were discriminated against in legal matters and forced to pay taxes on all manner of things, including the drinking of wine. Even so, despite these restrictions and laws, the legal position of Jews in the region was still far better than most of their fellow Jews in Europe. Mihrab (prayer niche) cut in the wall near Damascus Gate, Jerusalem. Photo credit: ©Dmitry Mishin6. Ottoman Rule in PalestineLife for the Jews improved considerably between 1517-1917, when the Ottomans conquered the region - in fact, many of the Jews driven out of Europe fled to the Holy Land, since they knew their chances of surviving there were better. Under the Ottomans, there were fewer restrictions for Jews in their daily lives and professions (even though they still had to pay a ‘head tax‘) but many decrees against them were not enforced and some Jews even rose to power in the Ottoman Court, as physicians and economists.Both Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews settled in the Ottoman Empire and many became successful in business enterprises. The Jews were allowed to be responsible for their own courts and schools and held a wide variety of political opinions - some were extremely loyal to the Ottomans, others were ardent Zionists.Ottoman building in Acre, Israel. Photo byShalev CohenonUnsplash7. First Aliyah to Palestine‘Aliyah’ in Hebrew means ‘to ascend’ (or ‘go up’) and is a term traditionally used when referring to the immigration of Jews from around the world to Israel. The First Aliyah (also known as the ‘agriculture aliyah) was a large-scale arrival of Jews to Palestine. Many of them arrived from Russia since waves of nationalism and antisemitism had led to pogroms (organised killings) in their birthplaces. Since immigration to Palestine has occurred before, the use of the term "first aliya" is controversial.The Jewish Virtual Library says that almost half of the settlers (3000 persons) did not remain in the country as they faced financial problems and did not have any experience in farming.A majority of the immigrants did move to cities, such as Rishon LeZion (‘First in Zion’). However, some of them - pioneers as they are now known - established agricultural settlements, particularly with the financial support of Baron Rothschild. These includedZichron Yaakov(nearHaifa), Metulla (in northern Israel) and Rosh Pina (in Galilee).Ohel Ya'akov Synagogue, Zichron Yaakov, Israel.Photo credit: © ShutterstockLife wasn't easy for the pioneers - when you factor in disease, lack of infrastructure, hard physical work and the hot climate, in retrospect it is astonishing how much they achieved with their labours. Nevertheless, the founding of these ‘yishuvs’ (agricultural communes) only served to strengthen their resolve to create a new kind of Jew - one who was both physically and mentally resilient, both a warrior and a farmer!The First Aliyah was also responsible for a resurgence in the cultural life of the Holy Land. Much of this can be credited to Eliezer Ben Yehuda, born in Vilna in 1858 who, after having moved to Jerusalem, vowed to transform Hebrew into a modern language, spoken by the majority of people arriving (at the time, it was only used for prayer).In this period, the National Library was founded and today houses books, photographs, maps and pamphlets and even poems written in the revived Hebrew language(now known as ‘Ivrit’). Incidentally, Ben Yehuda not only wrote the first-ever Hebrew-English dictionary but realised his dream - today, it is the national language of the State of Israel and spoken by almost nine million people! Quite some achievement.Old fashioned farming in the Biblical Garden in Yad HaShmona, Israel.Photo byGeorg Arthur PfluegeronUnsplash8. Second Aliyah to PalestineThe Second Aliyah took place between 1904-1914 when approximately 35,000 immigrants arrived in Palestine. The vast majority were from Eastern Europe (many fleeing pogroms in Poland and Russia) but some were from Yemen. Many of them were pioneers who joined the ‘old yishuv’ i.e. traditional Jewish communities based in Jerusalem, Tiberias, Hebron and Safed and this brought with it considerable urban development (most notably in Tel Aviv, which was founded in 1910).Although a minority of them were ideologically committed, without a doubt they left their mark. They were committed to the establishment of ‘Hebrew settlements’ (run as co-operatives) and many eventually became involved in politics - including Ben Gurion and Beri Katznelson. The framework they created would, undoubtedly, set the groundwork for the establishment of the future state of Israel.9. British Mandate Period in PalestineOttoman rule came to an end after 400 years when the British arrived in town and established the Mandate. The period of their rule lasted from 1918-1948 (from the moment General Allenby walked through Jaffa Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City (becoming the first Christian in hundreds of years to control the city). The British Mandate was a critical period in Jewish history for a number of reasons, maybe one of the most important being that it set the scene for the “Balfour Declaration.” In essence, this was when Lord Balfour, Britain’s Foreign Minister, pledged his support for the establishment of a ‘Jewish national home in Palestine’.The house of Paula and David Ben-Gurion in Tel Aviv, Israel.Photo credit: © Jenny EhrlichThough Israel would not be ‘born’ for some decades, this declaration had a major effect - Jewish migrants began arriving in earnest to Palestine and Jewish institutions began to take shape. However, as violent clashes between Arabs and Jews, unfortunately, became more common, support in England for the Mandate began to wane.Whilst the Mandate survived World War II, support for it was at an all-time low and after Jordan was given independence in 1948, Britain declared they would terminate their Mandate in Palestine on 14th May 1948. In that respect, they did accomplish one of their goals - hours earlier, the Israeli Declaration of Independence was issued. This leads us onto number 10…!10. The State of Israel is ProclaimedOn 14th May 1948, on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv, David Ben Gurion read out a proclamation, declaring the birth of the State of Israel. Today this building is a museum and is called the Hall of Independence. Just eleven minutes later, the USA would recognise his decree, soon followed by the USSR. Jews everywhere danced into the street, celebrating joyously, even though they understood that a war with the Arab world was almost inevitable. Although the British army had withdrawn their troops earlier that day, the State of Israel officially came into being at midnight on 14th May 1948, when the Mandate was officially terminated. And then began a whole new era, with the first-ever Jewish state established. Watch this space for Part Three, when we’ll look at some of the major historical events in Israel from 1948 to the present day.Independence Hall where is The Israeli Declaration of Independence was made on 14 May 1948, was the Tel Aviv Museum.Photo credit: © Shutterstock
By Sarah Mann
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Car Rental in Israel

If you’re traveling to Israel, and want to spend time in more than just one place (as most of us do) then you’re going to be thinking about ways to get around. The good news is that there are various modes of transportation in Israel - trains, public buses, private taxis, shared taxis, bikes, electric scooters and even, in Tel Aviv, initiatives such as ‘Bubble’ (shared vans that have the convenience of a taxi but for a far cheaper price).Beit Shean Theatre, Israel.Photo credit: ©Dmitry MishinHowever, if you want complete and absolute freedom (if one can ever have that!) then you really should think about renting a car. Once you’re behind the wheel, you’re in complete control - you get to decide when you travel, where you travel, and what kind of route you want to take. And if at the eleventh hour, you want to change your mind, then you won’t have to make phone calls, lose deposits and check schedules. The car will still be there for you when you are ready to leave.Business and Pleasure - a Сar is IdealRenting a car in Israel is ideal for tourists but it’s also great for business trips too. OK, you are in Israel to get work done but that’s no reason you can’t have some fun too. Traveling for work has its own challenges but if you have a car, you can explore the country and - with a bit of internet homework beforehand - find activities, restaurants, coffee shops, and museums that you’re curious about. Once you’ve rented a car, the country is yours for the taking. If a meeting finishes early or is even rescheduled, you can take advantage of your free time and drive to the beach or a nature reserve in no time at all. Traveling from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is a breeze, by the way - less than an hour on the highway without traffic, meaning it's an easy day trip, especially if you leave in the afternoon (before rush hour) and return late in the evening.Driver's hand on steering wheel.Photo bywhy keionUnsplashOff the Beaten Track - Seven Days a WeekAnd if you’re in Israel as a tourist, you want to have fun and having a car means you set your own agenda. There are many parts of the country that are quite spectacular, including the Galilee, the Golan Heights, Crusader fortresses, and desert trails, but many are pretty inaccessible without a car. When you rent a vehicle, you can put together an itinerary that doesn’t just suit your personality but takes you off the beaten track, to the hidden gems of Israel that tourists never see - the ‘real’ Israel.Of course, even with a car, it’s sometimes nice to take a private tour of an area, where a professional local guide shows you around and gives you a chance to learn more about the area whilst not having to do too much work! Whether you want to join a group tour or book a customized excursion, here at Bein Harim we offer all kinds of solutions for the business or leisure traveler.Something else that’s critical to know is that Israel takes its religious Jewish holidays - including the weekly Sabbath - very seriously. Between Friday afternoon (about 2 hours before the sun goes down) until Saturday night (around an hour after the sun sets), all public transportation comes to a halt. This means that getting around is very difficult unless you are prepared to pay for costly private taxis. Of course. if you have a car, you can bypass these restrictions...Sure, we admit that driving in Israel can sometimes be challenging but you can do it. With some courage and patience, a GPS system (or Waze, which you can download on your smartphone) let’s take a closer look at the nuts and bolts of renting a car here...A car driver chatting with his pals in the middle of the street, Jaffa, Israel.Photo credit: ©Dmitry MishinCar Rental AgenciesThe good news is there’s plenty of choice in Israel. What’s the best car hire company to use in Israel? Well, there isn’t one in particular but car rental companies that we'd recommend include Eldan, Hertz, Budget, Shlomo Sixt, Tamir, and Avis. They all have branches dotted around the country - particularly in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa - as well as Ben Gurion Airport. One thing that is important to note is that it is not possible to drive a rental car from Israel to Jordan. This means that if you’re planning on taking a trip across the border to tour Petra, the best thing to do is to go with a guided tour. Logistics of Renting a Car in IsraelIn Israel, all road signs are written in three languages - Hebrew, Arabic, and English and, like most of Europe and North America, you drive on the right-hand side. We recommend that you download Waze - an app that was ‘born’ in Israel in fact - onto your smartphone before setting off. It can show you almost every road in Israel, as well as advise you on the fastest route, delay updates, and real-time traffic jams. Its smart technology can even help re-route you, once it knows that a traffic jam is building up, which means you’ll be directed away from crowded areas. This saves you time and frustration and makes for a much more pleasant driving experience!Traveling by car in Israel. Photo credit: ©Dmitry MishinParking in IsraelParking, in Israel, can be a headache, we won’t deny it, but the good news is that there are plenty of parking garages around. Another app we’d recommend downloading is called PinkPark. This clever little tool shows you available parking throughout the area you’re in - it’s especially popular in Tel Aviv (where it’s notoriously hard to park!). Working on the ‘shared economy’ basis, you can pay the owner of a spot (either at their home or workplace) and ‘sublet’ it by the hour. Since you’ve pre-booked it, that’s less time driving around or sitting in line, and more time to enjoy yourself! Parking garages (or lots) are plentiful in the big cities - whether they’re tucked away in side streets or in a mall/commercial building. In Tel Aviv, they are dotted all over the city - especially close to the beaches, the Carmel Market, Sarona (a popular nighttime area, with many cafes and restaurants inside converted Templar Houses), Rothschild Boulevard, and Jaffa.If it’s the summer, you might also want to consider an underground parking lot, since the heat can be relentless and your car will take the brunt of it. There are often digital signs at the entrance of these lots, to show you how many spaces are free on each level. However, please be aware that if you see a blue light flashing in a space, that means it's set aside for someone with a disabled badge.At the large lots, take your ticket when entering and keep it until you leave, at which point you can pay at self-service machines. At smaller lots, there will usually be a man in charge who you’ll pay a set fee to for the day/evening. He may also ask you to leave your keys behind whilst you go off, in case he has to move your car to let someone else through! Don’t worry - your keys will be safe!Red and white curb parking, Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv, Israel.Photo credit: ©Dmitry MishinTips for the Car Renter in Israel1. Do your homework beforehand. Car rental in Israel does not have to cost an arm and a leg. Prices can start from as little as 260 NIS (80 USD) a day and if you shop around online, a few days before, you might even grab a bargain and find a cheap car rental in Israel. Take a look at a few websites and see what’s there - you can also call the representatives themselves - they will all speak good English, for sure! 2. Remember to pack your own license (or, if you have it, an international driver’s license). This is really a deal-breaker! In general, most car rental agencies will insist that you are over the age of 24 (or sometimes 25) - this is for insurance purposes.3. If you’re coming to Israel in the height of the summer or around the busy Jewish holidays (particularly Passover and Sukkot) we’d highly recommend that you plan ahead and book something before you arrive. At these times of the year, thousands of people arrive at Ben Gurion Airport each day and you don’t want to be disappointed when you get to the car rental desk and they’re all sold out! Speed Limits in IsraelAs with most countries in the West, Israel has speed limits and does enforce them. Here are a few of them, in kilometers. Driving in urban areas 50 kms per hourHighways 80 kms per hourHighway 1 (Tel Aviv to Jerusalem) 100 kms per hourHigh-speed highways 110-120 kms per hourSpeed limit road sign. Photo byTitus BlaironUnsplashRules for inside the car in Israel1. It is mandatory to wear a seat belt. If you have toddlers or babies, make sure to strap them in their booster seats.2. Talking on your cell phone (without using a hands-free device) is strictly forbidden. If you are seen doing so, you will in all probability be stopped and given a ticket. If that’s not enough of a deterrent, remember how dangerous it is!3. Turning right at a red light in Israel is not allowed.4. All rental cars are fitted with yellow reflective vests. So if you’re unlucky and you break down/have to pull over, put it on and make yourself visible at the side of the road.5. Between 1st November and March 31st, it is mandatory to have your headlights switched on, whether driving within cities or on highways.Traffic Lights in IsraelThe traffic light system in Israel is a little different to that which you will find in North America or Europe. The red, yellow, and green colors have the same meanings as you would expect but you may see them in an order that you find strange. Here’s an explanation: when the light is red you have to stop; when it is red and yellow together, this means: ’get ready to drive’. Once it’s green, and not before, you can set off. When you see the green light flashing, this means you need to begin slowing down and, quickly after, the light will turn yellow and then red once more.Car Parking in Acre, Israel.Photo credit: ©Dmitry MishinRight of Way in IsraelIn Israel, if you see a green light you automatically have the right of way. That means you do not need to wait for oncoming traffic before turning. Of course, you should still keep a careful eye out for pedestrians!Parking Rules and Regulations in IsraelLike every country, there are rules about parking in Israel, which are set out according to curb color, and here are some of them:Blue and White - You will see this primarily in areas in large cities, where paid parking is available. Either you can buy a ticket from an old-fashioned machine and then display it in your front window, put some coins into a nearby meter or use the ‘Pango’ app, which can easily be downloaded to any Smartphone.When you see blue and white curb parking, it’s also advisable to read the signs nearby carefully. Just because it;’s paid parking, that doesn’t mean it’s available 24 hours a day. For instance, it may be necessary to pay only up until 7 pm, it may be free on Shabbat or some of these spots might be reserved for local residents. Cars at the traffic lights, Jerusalem, Israel.Photo credit: ©Dmitry MishinRed and White -Simply put, red and white curb colors mean “do not park here under any circumstances.” If you do, you will be given a ticket (and officers patrol the major cities with vigilance) for at least 200 NIS (63 USD) and possibly more. Worst case scenario, your car will be towed away, which means a tiresome and costly visit to a compound to retrieve it. You have been warned!No Color -If you’re in a small town or community, it’s often possible to park more easily. This is because there’s not too much traffic and not many residents in the center. So if you see a curb without color, you’re good to pull in. Highway numbers in IsraelFinally, here are some of the major highways you might be using, when driving: No. 1 - the Dead Sea – Jerusalem – Tel-Aviv - Jordan Valley; No. 2 - Tel Aviv - Haifa; No. 3 - Ashkelon - Kirya Malakhi - Latrun - Modi’in; No. 4 - Rosh Hanikra – Ashkelon.Israel has one toll road, which is Route 6 (also known as the Trans-Israel or Yitzhak Rabin highway). This begins in the north of Israel, near the Lebanon border, and runs down to the center, to Tel Aviv and Rishon LeZion. If you want to use this road, factor in the cost before you set off - in general, from the far north to Tel Aviv will probably cost you around 32 NIS (10 USD) but do check first.Now buckle up, put some gas in the car and get going!Cars in the White City of Tel Aviv, Israel.Photo credit: ©Dmitry Mishin
By Sarah Mann
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How to Get from Ashdod to Tel Aviv

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re either in Israel or planning a visit so let’s first say ‘welcome - you’re going to have an amazing time!’ Israel’s relatively small by North American or European standards but it has an enormous amount to offer and, because it doesn’t take hours and hours to drive between cities, that means you’ve got more time to enjoy yourself - whether it's exploring historical sites, wineries, nature parks, pristine beaches, Crusader fortresses or Herodian ruins. A ship dragged anchor at Ashdod, Israel. Photo by Felix Tchverkin on UnsplashThe other thing we should say, off the bat, is that Israel is very well developed in terms of its infrastructure. The roads and highways are in good condition and public transport is pretty cheap and, for the most part, efficient. This means if you don’t want to stay in one place (and most people don’t) you’re going to be able to move around with little fuss and maximise your free time.In this article, we’ll be looking at how to get from Ashdod to Tel Aviv, a distance of just 35 km (22 miles). Both cities are situated on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and have fantastic beaches, marinas, boardwalks and plenty of options for lunch and dinner.Tel Aviv, Israel’s biggest, and just a short drive from Ben Gurion airport, is a must-see for any tourist in Israel. Situated, like Ashdod, right on the seashore, it’s full of trendy restaurants, lively bars, cute cafes and charming neighbourhoods, not to mention a wealth of museums, art galleries, theatres and live music venues. So, without a doubt, spending a day (or several!) in the "White City" won’t disappoint.So here below is you plenty of information on the various ways you can travel between these two cities - whether it’s taking a bus from Ashdod to Tel Aviv, booking a train journey, using a private or shared taxi, booking a ship-to-shore excursion from your cruise ship or putting your foot down in a hire car. Once you’ve read through the options, you’ll have a better idea of which one is right for you, so you can plan a trip that suits you.Tel Aviv Beach Promenade.Photo credit: © Shutterstock1. How to Get from Ashdod to Tel Aviv by BusIsrael’s bus service is modern, comfortable, inexpensive and reasonably efficient. Taking a bus from Ashdod to Tel Aviv by bus is a good option, with buses running regularly from early in the morning (6 am) until late at night (11 pm). If you don’t travel in rush hour (7-9 am and 4-6 pm) the journey will likely take about 50 minutes. The bus number you need is 320 and is operated by Veola. A one-way ticket from Ashdod to Tel Aviv costs approximately 10 NIS (3 USD) and you can pay the driver as you board. There is also a second bus departing from Ashdod to Tel Aviv, numbered 280, which can drop you at Tel Aviv’s second bus station, in the north of the city.Another popular way to pay for buses (and trains) is by using a Rav Kav card. These small green cards can be purchased easily all over Israel (in all bus and train stations and sometimes in stores and pharmacies). Once you’ve bought one, you can load it with credit or buy a daily/monthly ticket. Just swipe it in front of the electronic device next to the driver, when you board the bus and it will automatically deduct the payment, showing you on the receipt how much credit you have left. For more information, check out the official Rav Kav website.The Ashdod Festival of the Nations and Their Tastes.Photo credit: © Oksana MatsAshdod Central Bus StationThe Ashdod Central Bus station is located on Menachem Begin Boulevard, in the heart of the city, and an 18-minute walk to the Marina. Check inside with information to see which platform the bus departs from (there are signs in English and staff who can point you in the right direction). Tel Aviv Bus StationsTel Aviv’s Central Bus Station (Tachana Merkazit) is located in the south of the city on Levinsky Street. The bus will drop you on the building’s sixth floor and after that, there are a number of possibilities to continue your journey - either by private taxi, shared yellow van taxi, (see below), or the local Dan buses, which run all over the city. The Levinsky bus station is also a gateway to cities around Israel, and also operates buses that run every two hours down to Eilat, for those wishing to travel on, for a trip to Petra, Jordan. Tel Aviv’s second bus station (‘Terminal 2000’) is in the north of the city, on the corner of the Namir Road and Arlozorov streets, conveniently located next door to the city’s Savidor railway station. It is a half an hour walk to the beachfront and you can also take intercity buses on to Jerusalem and Haifa.Saint Peter's Church, Jaffa, Israel.Photo credit: © Shutterstock2. How to Get from Ashdod to Tel Aviv by TrainTaking the train from Ashdod to Tel Aviv is an excellent way to make the trip - it’s fast and efficient and trains leave reverie 15-20 minutes at peak time. The journey itself takes between 50-60 minutes, depending on which of the three Tel Aviv stations. A one-way ticket costs 20 NIS (approx 6 USD) and trains run from 5 am to 11 pm.Ashdod Ad Halom railway station is in the Ad Halom area, near the eastern entrance to the city. The station contains a small beverage and refreshment kiosk and you can buy tickets there from machines (using different language options) or at the counter or online through different smartphone apps. Tel Aviv has three stations - Savidor, HaShalom and HaHaganah. Savidor is situated on the corner of Namir Road and Arlozorov street in the north of the city. It’s next door to the Terminal 2000 bus station (see above). HaShalom is the train station closest to the Azriel Towers and many large offices in the city centre. HaHaganah is Tel Aviv’s most southern railway station and is located about 400 metres from the Tel Aviv (Levinsky) Central Bus Station.The interior of the Israeli train.Photo by Lital Bamnulker on Unsplash3. How to Get from Ashdod to Tel Aviv byPrivate TaxiTaking a private taxi in Israel is easy - you can either flag one down in the street, book one through an App (such as Gett) or order one from a reputable taxi firm (your hotel concierge can help you). The cost of a private taxi from Ashdod to Tel Aviv will probably be somewhere between 230-420 NIS (70-130 USD). It is customary to tip the driver 10-15%, depending on how helpful he is. You can also travel from Ashdod to Tel Aviv with a sherut (shared taxi service).4.How to Get from Ashdod to Tel Aviv with a Private transferPrivate transfers are very easy to arrange, but we advise you to book them through a trustworthy tour operator, to ensure you will be put in touch with a reputable and honest operator. You will be given a price and if you are satisfied with it, you can pay by credit card and from then on all matters will be handled expertly by the company and you don’t have to worry about a thing.At Bein Harim Tourism Services, we are always happy to help obtain quotes for people visiting Israel who need a private taxi - please call us or send us your details on our ‘Contact Us’ form and we will get back to you promptly, with a competitive offer.A building inRothschildBoulevard, Tel Aviv.Photo credit: © Shutterstock5. Shore Excursions from Ashdod PortMaking a shore excursion from Ashdod Port to Tel Aviv is a great way to spend your free day since you can be in Tel Aviv within an hour and have plenty of time to see many of the sights that this buzzy, fashionable city has to offer. With Ashdod Port Cruise Excursions, as soon as you step onto dry land, you will be met by a private guide and within minutes you’ll be in a comfortable vehicle, heading off to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.In less than an hour, all things being equal, you’ll be in the ‘White City’ of Tel Aviv (so named for its fabulous Bauhaus buildings) and the next few hours are yours. There’s so much to do, you won’t be disappointed - stroll along the boardwalk and admire views of the Mediterranean, take a bike tour around the city, or wander along the famous Dizengoff Street, known for its cafes, restaurants and boutique stores.There’s also a number of beautiful small neighbourhoods that are lovely to explore - the Kerem (close to Tel Aviv’s famous Carmel Market), Neve Tzedek (with its charming houses and tiny alleyways) and, of course, Jaffa, one of the world’s oldest cities, famous for its port (where Jonah fled God and, for his trouble, ended up in the belly of a whale), a charming artists quarter and the famous Jaffa flea market, where you can hunt for bargains before eating lunch in one of the many lovely cafes around. Finally, we promise that when you book with Bein Harim we’ll get you back to your ship in good time for your departure. (Just for the record, if you want to travel to Tel Aviv from your cruise ship independently, please note that the bus terminal is about 6 km from the port so walking there is not possible. You can, of course, grab a taxi, (which should cost about 50 NIS (15,5 USD) and take a few minutes) or even bus number 2, which costs 5.30 NIS and will take about 15 minutes.A street in Jaffa, Israel.Photo credit: © Shutterstock6. How to Get from Ashdod to Tel Aviv with a Rental a CarRenting a car in Israel is a wonderful way to see the country on your own terms. You can decide how long you want to spend in a city and also stop off on the way if the mood takes you. Prices for car rental in Israel are quite reasonable and, with a car, you have a level of freedom that no other kind of transport affords you. Moreover, since there is no public transport in Israel from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening (the Jewish sabbath), options for moving around are limited - obviously, when you have a car, this is not a problem.Driving from Ashdod to Tel Aviv, via Route 4, without too much traffic should take you around 45-55 minutes. Just bear in mind that parking in Tel Aviv is notoriously difficult to come by - free parking is almost impossible to find and even parking lots can get crowded on weekends. Of course, if you are patient (and ready to pay up!) you will always find somewhere to park but if you want to save money (and hassle) you can always park just outside the city and travel by public transport.One way to do this is to park up in the north of Tel Aviv, near the Tel Aviv Port (Namal, Reading area) where there is some free parking, then just catch a bus/sherut/taxi into town. For the adventurous, there are also bikes and electric scooters that can be rented easily, with just the swipe of a credit card!Well-known rental hire companies in Israel include Eldan, Hertz, Shlomo Sixt, Hertz, Eldan and Thrifty. Prices can be quite competitive and, on average, renting a car should cost you around 260 NIS (80 USD) per day. All of the representatives you encounter will invariably speak good English but you might also want to shop around online beforehand - there are always bargains available so why not take advantage of them?Enjoy your journey!Aerial overview of Tel Aviv Port (Namal parking).Photo by Shai Pal on Unsplash
By Sarah Mann
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