Coldplay to come to Tel Aviv?

Monday, 29 June 2009

Rumours are sweeping the internet about Coldplay coming to Israel this September. There is a long-standing campaign to bring the very popular group to Tel Aviv, where they have a huge fanbase, including online petitions and pleas to the group. If the rumours are true, the group will play in Hayarkon Park, Tel Aviv, on September 30th. They will be playing in Israel in the same month of Leonard Cohen and Madonna - so theres loads of great musical options this September!

We'll keep you posted!

be cool in israel
www.touristisrael.com

6 Days of Meat ... and a Day of Rest

Saturday, 27 June 2009

This Monday is Vegetarian Monday in Israel.

As YnetNews reports:

Israel's finest restaurants join initiative aimed at persuading Israelis to give up meat once a week, contribute to efforts to curb global warming

Vegetarian Monday, an initiative, which has already been introduced in other countries around the globe, is coming to Israel and will seek to persuade meat eaters to go veggie once a week and contribute to the fight against global warming.

A report published by the UN details the grave ecological impact of the livestock industry on the air, water sources and soil. The report estimated that meat production accounts for nearly a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The authors of the report also said that by having one meat-free day a week, people could help effectively tackle climate change.

About two weeks ago, former Beatle Paul McCartney launched the Vegetarian Monday initiative in Britain and Australia. Sir Paul, a life-long vegetarian, told The Independent: "Many of us feel helpless in the face of environmental challenges, and it can be hard to know how to sort through the advice about what we can do to make a meaningful contribution to a cleaner, more sustainable, healthier world.

"Having one designated meat-free day a week is a meaningful change that everyone can make, that goes to the heart of several important political, environmental and ethical issues all at once."

Creative dishes

Jana and Ilan Gur, owners of the Al Hashulchan food magazine, heeded the call and have recently launched a similar campaign in Israel. "Our initiative is part of a global effort to fight the environmental damages associated with meat consumption," explained Jana. "This is a good solution for those who wish to reduce meat consumption, but find it hard to refrain from eating meat altogether."

Ilan added: "We call on restaurants – come up with creative, interesting vegetarian dishes, so that people can easily give up meat. All the restaurants we approached to participate in the campaign enthusiastically accepted.

"On Mondays the restaurants will publish a list of specials based solely on vegetarian dishes made especially for this initiative."

According to Ilan Gur, "We don't preach full vegetarianism, we only ask people to eat less meat… today people lead a vegetarian lifestyle for various reasons, and one of them is the concern for the environment."

Some of the country's finest restaurants have already joined the campaign. As of next week the participating restaurants will offer a wider variety of veggie dishes, and every Monday they will serve a vegetarian special menu, in a bid to have patrons give up meat for a day.
be cool in israel
www.touristisrael.com

International Jazz Festival in Israel

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Caesarea, the ancient Herodian port on the Mediterranean coast. Every summer, the amphitheatre at Caesarea comes to life once again with concerts of a huge range of artists from Israeli classics to modern international acts.

Every summer, the port also hosts a jazz festival. This takes place not in the amphitheatre but along the promenade and attracts people from across Israel.

This years festival features world-class jazz troupes, including the Four Saxophones Octet, the Harry Allen Quartet, the International Swing Quintet with clarinetist Antti Sarpila and the Chris Barber Jazz and Blues Big Band, as well as Israeli jazz group, Swing de Gitanes, who will recreate the sound of Django Reinhardt’s Hot Club de France Quintet every evening on the harbor promenade.

The festival started today, and runs tomorrow and Saturday, at 6:30pm at the Caesarea Harbor Promenade.

be cool in israel
www.touristisrael.com

48 Hours in Tel Aviv

Friday, 5 June 2009

Reuters decided to spend 48 hours in Tel Aviv, and here's what they did.

Got 48 hours to spend in Tel Aviv, the cosmopolitan, urban heart of Israeli culture?

With its vibrant nightlife, delicious eateries and Mediterranean beaches, the city tries hard to tempt visitors and next week hosts the annual conference of IOSCO -- the world's financial regulators will debate ways to avoid new crises.

And there's no better time to visit than now, as Tel Aviv, dubbed the first modern Hebrew city, celebrates the centenary of its founding in 1909 by Jewish immigrants to Ottoman Palestine.

The work week starts on Sundays, so weekends typically begin Thursday night. While much of Israel closes from Friday night to Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, many shops, cafes and restaurants in Tel Aviv remain open.

Unless noted otherwise, restaurants are reasonably priced, though dinner reservations are highly recommended.

THURSDAY

6 p.m. - Start the evening with a stroll down Rothschild Boulevard. The wide promenade, named after a scion of the banking family who financed early Jewish settlements, is dotted with coffee shops, sushi stands, restaurants and the occasional street performer. Enjoy a stop at Max Brenner (www.maxbrenner.com), now a famous chocolate chain. Its 20-page menu is dedicated just to desserts.

At the south end of the boulevard is Independence Hall (www.ilmuseums.com/museum_eng.asp?id=57), the cramped, modest building where David Ben-Gurion declared Israel's statehood in May 1948 as British rule over Palestine ended in war between Arabs and Jews. Take a detour along any small street to see some of the 1930s Bauhaus buildings that helped earn Tel Aviv a UNESCO World Heritage site designation.

8 p.m. - Enjoy dinner at Nanuchka on Lilienblum Street, a Georgian bistro nearby with unique Black Sea cuisine and charming atmosphere. As the night rolls on, the music gets louder as diners flock to the bar. There are several other pubs, nightclubs and late-night snack joints just around the corner.

FRIDAY

9 a.m. - The Hotel Montefiore (www.hotelmontefiore.co.il) in the center of town is the place to start your day. Its Israeli breakfast of eggs, cheeses, vegetables and fresh juices is a great choice and will give you energy for the entire morning.

10 a.m. - The Diaspora Museum at Tel Aviv University (www.bh.org.il) tells the story of the Jewish people and the communities they built as they scattered across the globe. A favorite exhibit has detailed models of synagogues from around the world.

12 a.m. - Special on Fridays are a pair of outdoor markets that run parallel to each other in downtown Tel Aviv.

The downtown area was a target of Palestinian suicide bombers in the 1990s and earlier part of this decade. But with the relative calm of recent years it has returned to become a popular spot, crowded with locals and tourists alike.

Down one street is the Carmel market, packed with food, clothes and any kind of houseware you can think of. Customers push their way through in search of the freshest fish, cheapest underwear or biggest pomelo -- a giant relative of the grapefruit popular in Israel -- before Sabbath begins at sunset.

Running parallel is the Nachalat Binyamin Street fair, where scores of artists sell their colorful creations, and musicians and performers entertain passers-by.

1 p.m. - Walk along Shebazi Street in the Neve Tzedek neighborhood, known for its abundance of boutiques and cafes. Take a rest and enjoy a glass of wine at Jajo Vino or just keep walking until you reach the restaurant Dallal (www.dallal.info) for a delicious lunch.

3 p.m. - Head to the ancient port of Jaffa (www.tourism.gov.il/Tourism_Eng/Tourist+Information/Christian+Themes/Details/Jaffa.htm), just south of central Tel Aviv (www.tourism.gov.il/Tourism_Eng/Tourist+Information/Christian+Themes/Details/Jaffa.htm), just south of central Tel Aviv and now part of the city. It's a half hour walk down the beach, just a few minutes by cab. It still has Arab residents, though most of Jaffa's population fled fighting in 1948 and many ended up in Palestinian refugee camps in the Gaza Strip, some 50 km (30 miles) to the south. Now artist studios and restaurants dominate Jaffa's Old City. They overlook the old stone harbor and Andromeda's Rock, a spot associated with the Greek myth of the princess being sacrificed to a sea monster.

4 p.m. - Have fun bargaining for all types of antiques and souvenirs at Jaffa's flea market, open late night in the summer. You can find there some good cafes and falafel/shwarma stands. Walk up the hill to St. Peter's Church (www.btlr.com/sp), first built in 1654 and twice destroyed since. It is one of the largest buildings in the Old City. It holds daily Mass and is open to the public.

7 p.m. - Stick around Jaffa for dinner as well. For a cheaper meal, head to Dr. Shakshuka right near the clock tower, who specializes in the eponymous dish long loved by Sephardi, or Middle Eastern, Jews. From the word "shake," it's a spicy mixture of eggs, tomatoes and onions -- and deceptively delicious. More pricey restaurants are also nearby, like Yoezer Wine Bar or Cordelia.

9 p.m. - Tel Aviv's own port is a newly renovated boardwalk located at the north end of the city. A lot of money was put into its development and it shows. Finish off the night in one of several outdoor bars, listening to the waves crash against the quay. If you have the energy, venture into one of the port's lounges or nightclubs. The party lasts until sunrise in Tel Aviv.

SATURDAY

10 a.m. - Enjoy a relaxed, late breakfast at the beachside restaurant Manta Ray. While it's well known, you can always tell a cab driver it's next to the Etzel Museum, commemorating one of the Jewish militant groups, also known as the Irgun, which fought British troops and local Arabs during the 1940s.

11 p.m. - Tour through the Tel Aviv Museum (www.tamuseum.com/museum/index.htm), which you'll notice is across the street from Israel's conspicuously located military headquarters. The museum has a wide selection of works, but most of its exhibits focus on Jewish and Israeli art. If you have extra time, see what's playing at the Opera House (www.israel-opera.co.il/eng) next door.

1 p.m. - Spoil yourself at the restaurant Herbert Samuel, on the street with the same name, overlooking the sea and promenade. You may pay a bit more for great food and service, but you are guaranteed a good time.

3 p.m. - From there, set out in search of a nice spot on the beach to sunbathe and get in some people-watching. Walk along the sections of beach, each with a different feel, until you find one that suits you. The sound of paddleball players and the high flying kites will keep you entertained.

Stop along the way for a refreshing fruit shake at Yotvata on the boardwalk. You may notice one walled-off beach designated for religious bathers -- women or men only on alternating days.

The northern-most beach, Metzitzim, is a safe bet. Stay for a while, there is no better way to end your day than with a Mediterranean sunset.

Enjoy
www.touristisrael.com

Its TIME: Tel Aviv is Plain Beautiful

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Time Magazine have this week written about Tel Aviv. Let's let them speak for themselves...

The Bauhaus buildings in Tel Aviv — all 4,000 of them — are easy to spot. Built from the 1930s to the 1950s, they are curvilinear and sleek like the first-class decks of ocean liners. It's as if a fleet of dazzling white ships had sailed in from the Mediterranean and kept right on going before dropping anchor along Tel Aviv's leafy boulevards.

This is Tel Aviv's centenary year, so the boisterous Israeli seaport is in even more of a party mood than usual. And there are few better ways to celebrate the city than by strolling around its Bauhaus-style landmarks, stopping off at a few sidewalk caf├ęs and restaurants along the way. Tel Aviv's Bauhaus buildings open the door to the mind-set of the early Zionists who went on to create the Jewish nation in 1948. They are elegant 1930s socialism writ in concrete. Many Israelis quip that the dwellings have survived in better shape than the ideals of the nation's founders.

When waves of Jewish immigrants arrived in the 1930s, escaping the rise of Nazism and persecution in Europe, Tel Aviv had to expand to accommodate them. Back then, it was the ancient Arab port of Jaffa, with a few Jewish settlements trying to take root in the nearby swamps and sand dunes. Most of the arriving immigrants were young, poor but fairly well educated and idealistic, and Tel Aviv's city planners sought an egalitarian architectural style in sync with the socialistic winds sweeping through Europe. They turned to Bauhaus. Founded in Weimar in 1919, the International or Bauhaus style rejected the monumental wedding cakes, dripping with decoration, that prevailed in late 19th century architecture. The movement's leaders — Walter Gropius followed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe — sought a new holy grail in design: the unity of form and function, expressed in ways that were modern, simple and sparse.

Tel Aviv was to prove a perfect laboratory for Bauhaus, after urgent tinkering. The young Jewish architects who arrived from Germany, Poland and Russia with blueprints tucked under their arms were used to gloomy winter climes where sunlight was as rare as gold. In Europe, designs were made to trap sunlight, not block it. All that changed on the Palestine Mandate's dazzling shores, where designers realized that the fierce sun and parboiling heat were to be shunned. Gone were the big windows, replaced by narrow strips. Rooftops were given shade, balconies grew overhangs and designs were retooled to let the cool sea breezes meander through. Call it Mediterranean Modern.

Not all the Bauhaus buildings have weathered a half-century's pounding by Tel Aviv's sun and corrosive sea air. Over the years, developers walled in balconies and slopped a few extra floors on top of these once perfect structures. But after the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, Tel Aviv chose over 1,000 of these buildings for preservation and ordered that they be restored to their original shape.

The city is crisscrossed by dozens of streets lined with Bauhaus beauties, so take your pick. Our walk started at the old kiosk on Rothschild Boulevard — a city landmark and a favorite rest stop for late-morning dog walkers. Strolling up the boulevard, we passed more than a dozen Bauhaus buildings with their trademark details, such as the "thermometer" (a glassed-in stairwell rising up the side of the edifice) and the rounded balconies on which you expect a ship's captain and a socialite to appear with martinis. Taking the nautical look to extremes, a few Bauhaus buildings even have a row of portholes running along the side. The clean Modernist lines are usually set off by palm trees, or explosions of magenta and tangerine bougainvillea — a tropical extravagance of color that Gropius and Mies never would have dreamed of in their wintry Weimar. We trust that the dour old minimalists would have approved.

What a great article and a great city!

Why not subscribe to future posts? There are loads of ways to interrace!

be cool in israel
www.touristisrael.com

What's Happening in Israel in June

June is another action-packed month in Israel. There's loads going on - this list barely scratches the surface.

5-9 June - the Blue Man Group perform at Tel Aviv's Exhibition Center. This three man group are bald and blue - and that's what makes them special!

12 June - Tel Aviv's Gay Pride Festival takes over town

17 June - Jaffa has its Blues Festival

19 June - one of Israel's most iconic modern singers, Aviv Geffen performs, but this time he's on piano.

20 June - The RS:X Class Windsurfing Championship comes to town.

23 June - Its the GLBT Film Festival

30 June - Joe Jackson comes to Tel Aviv

Have a great month and let us know what you're goind

be cool in israel
www.touristisrael.com