Tel Aviv – Beaches

Let’s get in the mood for Summer. Tel Aviv is a summer-city. It’s hot, folks go outside. They’re at the beaches. They’re at the parks. They’re trying to escape the constant humidity and heat prevailing in this sunbox.

In the spirit of Spring’s arrival, with Summer fast-approaching, I’ll be posting some photos of various locations in Tel Aviv.

Here’s some shots of Tel Aviv’s beautiful white-sand beaches. Cool-off!

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Tel Aviv Beach Tel Aviv Beach Tel Aviv Beach

Top Five Israeli Movies of All Time

Top Israeli Films of All Time:

1. Sallah Shabbati (1964) – Directed by Ephraim Kishon, starring Topol. Notice the hillarious Mike Burstein in a cameo role. Arik Einstein is there too. This is the quintessential story of the young Israel set in the late 1950’s as Sephardic (Oriental) and Yemenite Jews were immigrating in waves due to changes in policy in the Arab countries. This man’s story, Sallah, is told to represent the light-hearted look at a heavy subject of the trials and tribulations of integration (or lack thereof) to an intrinsically Ashkenazic (European) society. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Not to be missed.

References: IMDB Movie Synopsis Wikipedia Listing

2. Givat Halfon (???? ????? – (1976 Directed by Assi Dayan, Starring Shayka Levi, Gavri Banai, and Yisrael Polikov (The stars of Hagashash Hahiver comedy troupe). This is probably the funniest movie ever made in Israel. Even 30 years later, lines from this film are used in everyday slang. “?? ?? ???? ???”. The plot and premise don’t really matter, other than to give devices for the Hagashash to have fun at the expense of everything. The scene where Shayka teaches the Egyptian Officer how to make good Turkish Coffee is truly inspired Israeli comedy at its finest. Watch also for the young Tuvya Tzapir as the zany Miluim Officer.

References: Wikipedia Listing Video Clip #1 Video Clip #2

3. Chagiga B’Snooker (????? ?????? (1975 – Starring Yehuda Barkan and Tuvya Tzapir. This film exposes the Israeli underside, the mob, as a bunch of nutsos in a madcap film. Yehuda Barkan gives his most hilarious and memorable performance as Snooker huksters try to outsmart the mob and all the craziness that ensues. Although admittedly cheesy humor, it is screened faithfully every year on Israeli TV usually around Yom Haatzmaut (Independence Day).

References: Video Clip Wikipedia Listing

4. Ricochets (1986) (Shtei Etzbaot MiTzidon) ??? ?????? ??????
This anti-war story is told thru the eyes of a young recruit joining his unit in the Lebanon War (??”?). The movie was also well-received by international critics. The plot and action is simple, but the message is clear – war is bad.

References: Video Clip Wikipedia Listing

5. Hashoter Azulai “The Policeman” (1971) – Directed by Ephraim Kishon – Starring Shaike Ophir as Officer Avraham Azoulay. Ophir is policeman in Yafo. He is bumbling and naive, but with more pride and inner-knowing than others in this genre (such as Inspector Clouseau). The music and themes in this film are tragic and uplifting all at once. The final scene of this film, has become one of the most memorable in Israeli cinema. This film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and won the Golden Globe in the same category.
References: Wikipedia Listing IMDB Listing Video Clip

Also See: Top 5 Modern Israeli Must-See Movies

Burning Plastic with Chametz causes cancer

Today we burned our chametz. All unleavened bread and foods have to be removed from the house or sold before Pesach (Passover). Part of the tradition includes burning the last bits of chametz the day before the holiday. Since the holiday starts on Sunday, and we are forbidden from making fires on Shabbat, we do it on Friday morning instead.

In our neighborhood, someone usually starts a fire, others join, and before you know there’s a bonfire. The one thing that puts a hamper for me on this age-old tradition is having to walk thru the carcinogenic air around each fire.

Every year I see folks burning plastic bags along with the chametz they collected. I went to to see if maybe I was mistaken in what I’ve always known to be true. Burning plastic causes cancer. Although the urban legends site says that there is no evidence that using plastic containers in microwaves, there is however great cause for concern if PVC is present in the plastic (which is common in grocery store plastic bags).

Studies have shown that dioxins may be released into the atmosphere when chlorinated plastics such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) — which is a component of some plastic wraps and food packaging — are incinerated at high temperatures.

So next year when you go to burn your chametz, please be advised that burning plastic is dangerous to your health and the health of those around you.

plastic bag cancer

Jerusalem Lattices – Shutters

One of the really interesting features of the Old City Jerusalem are the multitude of latices (they are called shutters in the USA) .

These designs are basically throwbacks to the pre-1948 days. These lattices are meant to keep the wind and cold out on winter days. However, most of them can be found open all times of year. Rooms in these Ottoman style buildings can get pretty dark with the window shut, as the ceilings are high and the traditional lighting is insufficient.

Jerusalem Lattices

Israel Sunset Photo – Bet Shemesh

Here’s the thing to do if you are driving on route 38 near Tel Shemesh just before sunset. Pull your car into the small area for tourist buses and run fast up to the top of the hill. Make sure you have a tripod, and that your camera can do bracketing. Bracketing means that you take many frames of the same image with different exposure settings. If you are lucky, you’ll get a shot like this:

Israel Sunset

Technical details: Nikon F100, Fuji Velvia Chrome, 28mm, F16, Tripod

The Spot Where Yitzchak Rabin Was Killed

In the heart of Tel Aviv is the municipality building. There is a plaza right next to it. Today that plaza is known as ‘Kikar Rabin’ or Rabin Square (it used to be Kikar Malchei Yisrael).

There is a parking lot that separates the plaza and the municipality building. On the night of his murder in November 1995, Rabin was standing in the entrance to the parking lot after appearing before a Pro-Oslo-Peace rally.

Yitzhak Rabin was the only Prime Minister of Israel to be assassinated.

In 2001, Israeli Cabinet member and Minister of Tourism, Rehavam Ze’evi (Zeevi) was gunned down in front of his hotel room in Jerusalem by an Arab terrorist.

Here is the location of Rabin’s assassination.  It remains a silent memory of a place where history was changed.

The Spray painted slogan at the top says “Slicha” (Forgive Us”)

Yitzchak Rabin Assasination

Simchat Torah – Hachnasat Sefer Torah

One of the biggest celebrations on the Jewish calendar is when a new Sefer Torah (Bible written on parchment, to be used in synagogue services) is completed. The new Torah is usually danced in to the shul (synagogue) by the one who donated it, the Rabbis, and all of the members.

In this photo, the new Torah was read from the weekly portion, and then was lifted (Hagbah) for all to see.

Hachnasat Sefer Torah

Eilat Beach Laguna

Eilat sits on Israel’s southern most point where the Red Sea meets the Sinai Peninsula. Eilat is bordered by Jordan to the East and Egypt (Sinai) to the West.

Eilat has always been a tourist favorite, especially from Scandanavian countries. Eilat is admired for her beautiful beaches (which some have been rumored to be topless…), and for its thriving hotel tourism. The weather is, unlike the rest of Israel, consistently hot. It is extremely hot in the summer, sometimes reaching 40 degrees celcius and more (over 100 F). In the winter, the weather is fair, as it hardly rains, and is a truly nice place to get away for a weekend (or more…).

Israelis love to jump down to Eilat for a weekend of relaxation and purchases – since the city of Eilat is exempt of VAT taxes, which are currently 15%.

The city of Eilat sits a few kilometers inland, with a relatively blue-collar working class of primarily immigrants from North Africa. Whereas the tourist section is on the beach and boasts a non-stop fun in the sun party. The laguna, which was built in the past 1990s, is actually a man-made landfill on the South-Eastern part of the beach to accomodate new hotels and the thriving tourist trade.

Eilat also has a small international airport which facilitates the tourists traveling from Europe and northern parts of Israel.

Here are some photos of the beautiful Eilat Laguna:

Eilat Beach Laguna

Here’s the laguna at sunset.

Eilat Beach Laguna

Check back later for more photos of Eilat!