Features

The only trouble with Tel Aviv – flying there doesn’t feel scary any more

Plus: Orthodox beaches, the rise of Israeli bacon, and a breakfast request

21 June 2014

8:00 AM

21 June 2014

8:00 AM

‘There’s a dark cloud rising from the desert floor/ I packed my bags and I’m heading straight into the storm/ Gonna be a twister to blow everything down/ That ain’t got the faith to stand its ground!’ How I used to enjoy singing these ominous lyrics to Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Promised Land’ as I got ready to go to Israel! But when you’re going there on easyJet, the words lose their self-dramatising sting somewhat.

After decades of having to schlep all the way to Heathrow and undergo a somewhat shamefully enjoyable grilling from the sexy El Al staff who moved along the line making you step into a corner with them and answer questions, you can now check in online with the friendly orange airline and waltz through security with no more bother than if you were going to Marbs.

When I first came to Israel more than a decade ago, my atheist Jewish ex-mother-in-law cried and told me she would pray every day for my safe return, and my friends mostly gasped ‘But WHY?’ Now she is dead, and they express the earnest desire to accompany me next time. It’s pretty safe to say that the demonisation of the tiny Jewish state has been a failure, despite the zeal of the anti-Semites in anti-Zionists’ clothing.

 

The first thing that strikes one upon first visiting Israel is that these people appear to bear no relation whatsoever to the bookish, anxious stereotype of the Jew which initially attracted me to the breed. They are athletic beyond belief. At 11.30 at night, as K and I sit drinking in the LaLaLand beach bar, they’re still jogging along the esplanade and playing volleyball on the court. All along the seafront from the Old Port to Jaffa, there are outdoor gyms, their equipment painted in the primary colours of the playground. No matter how sweltering the weather, they are always in use.

To say that Israelis are ‘confident’ is like saying Rihanna (who played Tel Aviv last year, along with Madonna and Lady Gaga, thus making the ‘boycott’ look somewhat silly: as I leave this time, Tel Aviv is gearing up for the Rolling Stones) is attractive. And this has grown over the years I’ve been coming here. Perhaps the Arab Spring and its subsequent messy afterbirth have made them feel that the pressure is off them while the Muslim world continues to tear itself apart. Or maybe they were just made this way; the early Zionist poet Jabotinsky did warn us, ‘From the pit of decay and dust/ Through blood and sweat/ A generation will arise to us/ Proud, generous and fierce.’ About right, but he forgot ‘fit’.


 

I’m sitting on the Hilton Beach, knee deep in my gay brothers, when I catch a beautiful blonde woman looking at me. My hopes are dashed when she says, ‘Excuse me, you’re English. Do you have a Nurofen on you?’ I offer her prescription codeine. ‘Bingo!’ she laughs.

My new friend is Dina, a teacher from London, but long ago married to an Israeli. I ask her what she thinks of the recent change in the law which will require Orthodox men to serve in the army; Ben-Gurion, in order to get support from religious Jews (many of whom are, ironically, anti-Zionist), did a deal with them in the run-up to the re-creation of Israel allowing the Orthodox community to opt out.

‘About time! I’ve got a son doing his army duty now; my other son and  my daughter will follow him when they’re old enough. So I’ve got three children who may have to fight and die for a country their mother wasn’t even born in, while the Orthodox have children like there’s no tomorrow and don’t have to give up any of them? Like I say, about time.’ She points down the beach to our right. ‘See that — that’s the religious beach here in Tel Aviv — right next to the official gay beach. Don’t tell me this in an accident. There’s so much resentment in this country towards the religious. Hopefully the new law will bring us closer together. We couldn’t be further apart.’

 

In the Eretz Museum, at an exhibition of wildlife photography, I get talking to Call-Me-Boris. ‘Not my real name, but a good English name, no?’ he twinkles. Call-Me-Boris came here as a child from the disintegrating Soviet Union — he’s not even sure he’s Jewish, but that nice Mr Gorbachev’s glasnost policy brought him here: ‘My father said that it was the first time any people in the Soviet Union pretended to be a Jew to get better treatment from the government! So we don’t ask him too many questions.’

When I first came here, you couldn’t get a bacon sandwich to save your life; now Tel Aviv has more hams than Equity, thanks to the ambiguous Jewish immigration from the Eastern bloc.

What does he think of the former Soviet Union’s relationship with Israel? ‘Is there one? The Russians don’t need Arab oil any more and they’re more interested in, as you might say in England, ‘Keeping a tin lid on it’ in their own country with all the separatists, rather than interfering in this region. They have their own Islamist problem now, so maybe less inclination to come after Israel.’

 

On the last morning, two Israeli soldiers walk into Benedict’s — ‘All About Breakfast!’ — ahead of us; a tiny, exquisite Chinese girl, a tall and beautiful black man, they seem to exemplify the magnificent melting pot that is this tiny nation. Holding hands, huge rifles over their backs, they peruse the menu. I get tearful; also, I figure, I’ve saved literally thousands of pounds this trip by staying at a housetrip.com flat rather than an eye-wateringly pricey Tel Aviv hotel. When K and I get the bill, I ask ‘May I please pay for the soldiers?’ Our waitress smiles: ‘The soldiers are gone. But Israel thanks you.’

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10


Show comments
  • Damaris Tighe

    Some things most people don’t know about Israel: christian arab citizens are campaigning to be conscripted into the army; druze arab citizens have served in the army since Israel was created – the PM of Israel delivered the eulogy at the funeral of his former druze arab commanding officer; many muslim bedouin arabs have volunteered for the army; many Israeli hospitals have muslim arab doctors; Israeli NGOs have secretly been delivering aid to Syrian refugees in Jordan; Israeli hospitals have been treating Syrians injured in the conflict – many have been sent across the border by Syrian medics.

    • john

      Some things most people don’t know about Israel:
      You seem to have omitted to mention it’s built on stolen Palestinian land.

      • La Fold

        Oh. dear. lord.

        • john

          I take it you dispute my comment? Not sure why – it’s pretty unambiguous.
          Wikipaedia: (after 1947) Jewish immigration meant that the growth of Tel Aviv soon outpaced Jaffa, which had a majority Arab population at the time.[5] Tel Aviv and Jaffa were merged into a single municipality in 1950,

          • La Fold

            To condense the sprawling mess of international law, religious and ethnic claim and counter claim of several groups from several eras, the conquests of the region, the influence of the Ottoman possession, zionims, the first and second Aliyahs post wat war imperialism , the 6 day war, the oslo peace accords to a wikipedia reference, well I can barely keep a straight face. Its is either plain simplistic or disingeniously naive.

            The same wikipedia article which is preceeded by


            This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.This article may need to be rewritten entirely to comply with Wikipedia’s quality standards, as This article is lacking requisite citations and may contain inaccuracies as a result.. You can help. The discussion page may contain suggestions. (May 2009)This article possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. (November 2009)This article contains weasel words: vague phrasing that often accompanies biased or unverifiable information. Such statements should be clarified or removed. (November 2009)”

          • john

            I’m sure you’re right but why bother quibbling? That Israel is built on land taken by war, ethnic cleansing, legal machinations etc from its established Arab population is hardly debateable

          • Shorne

            Israel’s sovereignty and legitimacy in international law derives from the San Remo Resolution of 25 April 1920 (recognising the Balfour Declaration), as does that of Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, following the WW1 settlement. It was supplemented by the Mandate for Palestine of July 1922, and the Franco British Boundary Convention of December 1920, all binding to the present day.
            Israel behind the Green Line sits on just 8,000 square miles, 17 percent originally allotted to it, while the 21 countries of the Arab League occupy more than five million square miles, almost double that of the USA.
            The mantra of “illegal settlements” is a dishonest device to prevent Jews from living in land designated for Jewish sovereignty, defying Article Six of the Mandate for Palestine, the provisions of which are still binding.

          • john

            Please confirm why Mr Balfour’s ambiguous statement has force of law.

          • Shorne

            The “Mandate for Palestine,” an historical League of Nations document, laid
            down the Jewish legal right to settle anywhere in western Palestine, a
            10,000-square-miles3
            area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

            The legally binding document was conferred on April 24, 1920 at the San Remo
            Conference, and its terms outlined in the Treaty of Sèvres on August 10, 1920.
            The Mandate’s terms were finalized and unanimously approved on July 24, 1922, by
            the Council of the League of Nations, which was comprised at that time of 51 countries,4 and became operational on September 29, 1923.5
            The “Mandate for Palestine” was not a naive vision briefly embraced by the international community in blissful unawareness of Arab opposition to the very
            notion of Jewish historical rights in Palestine. The Mandate weathered the test of time: On April 18, 1946, when the League of Nations was dissolved and its
            assets and duties transferred to the United Nations, the international community, in essence, reaffirmed the validity of this international accord and reconfirmed that the terms for a Jewish National Home were the will of the
            international community, a “sacred trust” – despite the fact that by then it was patently clear that the Arabs opposed a Jewish National Home, no matter what the form.

          • MissDemeanor

            good for Israel!

            otherwise, it’d be yet another squalerous, miserable excrement-filled hole with muslims fighting muslims…and I think we have enough of those

          • yousirarearacist

            islamophobe

          • alexa44

            Not stolen becasue there was no state here to steal it from . No one stole the land. The land was bought even the Mufti admited that to the Peel comittee in 1937. by international law the land belong to the Jews by the leage of antion reolution in san Remo. The arab refuse the partition plan started a war and lost.

          • john

            A nice quibble. The land was stolen (and is still being stolen) from its population – whatever their state.

          • alexa44

            SIR L. HAMMOND: His Eminence gave us a picture of the Arabs being evicted from their land and villages being wiped out. What I want to know is, did the Government of Palestine, the Administration, acquire the land and then hand it over to the Jews?

            MUFTI: In most cases the lands were acquired.

            SIR L. HAMMOND: I mean forcibly acquired-compulsory acquisition as land would be acquired for public purposes?

            MUFTI: No, it wasn’t.

            SIR L. HAMMOND: Not taken by compulsory acquisition?

            MUFTI: No.

          • Garry Knight

            so is Pristina..or Lvov/Lviv..Wroclaw/Breslau…Istanbul/Constantinople… so what?

          • john

            Nice story on the BBC website today:
            A Palestinian Christian family that preaches non-violence from a farm in the West Bank is battling to hold on to land it has owned for 98 years. Now surrounded by Israeli settlements, the family is a living example of the idea of peaceful resistance.

          • Shorne

            The Israeli Christian population is also growing, albeit at a slower rate than all other sectors.
            Christian population growth stands at 1.3%, compared to 1.8% for Jews and 2.5% for Muslims.
            The level of Christian education is notable, with 64% of Christian high school students earning a high school diploma, compared to 59% for Jewish Israelis and 48% for Muslims.
            There is an increasing Christian exodus from both the West Bank and Gaza. Part of it surely stems from the continuing Palestinian- Israeli conflict. But much of it results from a growing Islamic campaign to force Christians to sell their property and leave. Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, was once 90% Christian. Today it has a 65% Moslem majority.
            The only place in the Mideast where Christian communities continue to grow is in the Jewish State of Israel.

          • john

            Irrelevant! Who cares if one religious group is growing faster than another? Israel is still a Western colonial outpost in a region that rejects it.

          • Shorne

            It is now thought that there has always been a Jewish presence in what is now Israel they did not all leave to form the Diaspora in AD CE although they expelled from Jerusalem.
            By the way a word or two about ‘Palestine’
            Palestine is a name coined by the Romans around 135 CE from the name of a seagoing Aegean people who settled on the coast of Canaan in antiquity – the
            Philistines. The name was chosen to replace Judea, as a sign that Jewish sovereignty had been eradicated following the Jewish Revolts against Rome.
            In the course of time, the Latin name Philistia was further bastardized into Palistina or Palestine.During the next 2,000 years Palestine was never an independent state belonging to any people, nor did a Palestinian people distinct from other Arabs appear during 1,300 years of Muslim hegemony in Palestine under Arab and Ottoman rule. During that rule, local Arabs were actually considered part of, and subject to, the authority of Greater Syria ( Suriyya al-Kubra).Historically, before the Arabs fabricated the concept of Palestinian
            peoplehood as an exclusively Arab phenomenon, no such group existed. This is substantiated in countless official British Mandate-vintage documents that speak
            of the Jews and the Arabs of Palestine – not Jews and Palestinians.
            In fact, before local Jews began calling themselves Israelis in 1948 (when the name “Israel” was chosen for the newly-established Jewish State), the term
            “Palestine” applied almost exclusively to Jews and the institutions founded by new Jewish immigrants in the first half of the 20th century, before the state’s
            independence.

            Some examples include:

            The Jerusalem Post, founded in 1932, was called The Palestine Post until 1948.
            Bank Leumi L’Israel, incorporated in 1902, was called the “Anglo-Palestine Company” until 1948.

            The Jewish Agency – an arm of the Zionist movement engaged in Jewish settlement since 1929 – was initially called the Jewish Agency for Palestine.

          • john

            Good summary but so what?
            Still can’t hide the fact that there were virtually no Jews in Palestine at the beginning of the 20th century and there is now about 7 million. This European colonization has always been rejected by the existing Arab/Muslim population.

          • alexa44

            Jews were allways living in Israel for centuries., In 1860 Jews were the majority in Jerusalem. From 1870 to 1948 the Arabic population grew by 270%. Even in Egypt, the Arab country with the highest birth rate, the rate was only 105%, which proves that a significant part of the Arabic population growth came from immigration.

          • john

            Of course, there were some Jews living in Israel throught the centuries but – as you correctly note – they were more or less limited to Jerusalem. At the outset of the 20th century they were clearly a minority in Palestine.
            The rest of your logic seems dodgy. What is immigration in the context of a Turkish rule in the whole region?

          • alexa44

            Most of it happaned during the British rule
            they were more or less limited to Jerusalem? Hebron., Gaza. Zafat Tiberia etc

          • Shorne

            The population of Palestine in 1914 was 17% Jewish, not a lot but not ‘virtually no Jews’. There was considerable Jewish migration to the area over the years but it was not ‘colonization’ it was seeking a place of safety.

            I am not Jewish but my neighbours are and some time ago their Rabbi led a party to Israel to buy and plant olive trees for Palestinians whose trees had been uprooted by the IDF. They are often very critical of many aspects of Israeli Government policy but totally dedicated to its continued existence. As one pointed out to me “If Israel had been created in 1928 and not 1948 perhaps no Holocaust”.

            Israel was basically born out of anti-Semitism and the rise of this in Europe demonstrates why its existence is vital. French emigration to Israel has increased by 312% (!) so far this year. It is a mistake to accept what organisations like the BDS movement put out, one of its leaders, Omar Barghouti, a Qatari, calls for the boycott of Israeli Universities but when it’s pointed out that he studied at one says this ““My studies at Tel Aviv University are a personal matter and I have no interest in commenting.”

            Israel is far from perfect, China’s treatment of Tibet is appalling as is/was Sri Lanka’s treatment of the Tamils but I don’t think you will find the equivalent of these two reports in either of those countries

            “The official PA daily reported on a visit by the PA Minister of Health, Hani Abdeen, to Israel’s Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. The daily noted that 30% of the child patients in Hadassah are Palestinians and that the Israeli hospital is training “60 Palestinian medical interns and specialist physicians who will be returning to the [Palestinian] Authority areas to carry out their work.” The hospital has a special program to train Palestinian doctors to treat cancer among children, reported the PA daily.”
            “Israel has decided to set up a field hospital for wounded Syrians on an IDF military base within the Golan Heights. This is in response to the increasingly desperate humanitarian crisis in Syria. In the past month, a number of wounded Syrians have been treated within Israeli hospitals.”

          • john

            Again, interesting stuff but largely irrelevant. Your holocaust revisionism is just fatuous.You have assembled a list of snippets in favour of Israel but not answered the real issue, For 60+ years Israel has grabbed a bigger and bigger share of the region and is doing it today. It is a country built on occupation and war. It has no interest in peace.

          • Shorne

            No it has never occupied all the land allocated to it by the LoN/UN. It returned the Sinai and Gaza strip thus weakening its defences. Your description of something which might have prevented the holocaust as ‘fatuous’ borders on the obscene …Oh, unless you are a holocaust denier of course.

            I’m amused by the fact that when you are confronted by anything that runs counter to your version of events you dismiss it as ‘irrelevant’. I have a picture of you jumping up and down shouting the word with your fingers in your ears. Your dismissal of Israels considerable humanitarian work on behalf of people who would destroy it as ‘snippets’ proves the poverty of your arguments. Still as one of my heroes the Reverend Sydney Smith (1771-1845) put it ” Never try to reason the prejudice out of a man. It was not reasoned into him, and cannot be reasoned out.”

          • ROBERT BROWN

            That’s a nice quote, sums up ‘john’ nicely.

          • Shorne

            Thank you Robert so much of the anti-Israel rhetoric calls to mind another quote this time by Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
            “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”

          • nuakhti

            Let’s face it. the Arab/Muslim world rejects pretty much anything! From cartoons to peace proposals.

          • aenid

            Thanks in part to the importation of guest workers who are Christian. Native Christians leave if they have an opportunity. Who wants to raise their children to be second class citizens?

          • Shorne

            You are quite wrong,

            “Recently, there has been a steady
            undercurrent of Christian Arabs who seek deeper integration into Israeli society. Under the leadership of Priest Gabriel Nadaf, the “Sons of the New Testament” is a political party that advocates Christian enlistment in the IDF and a more distinct societal separation of Christians
            from Muslims. This separation is partly based on the purported fact that Christians in Israel are not
            technically Arabs, seeing as they were present in the holy land long before the Arab conquest, hallmarked by the Siege of Jerusalem.This distinction is in the process of being formalized into law, as the Likud government is currently drafting legislation to grant this request.
            This new attitude is founded largely by the perception by some that only in Israel is the Christian population growing due to natural increase and no state persecution, seeing the entire Middle East as where Christianity is and has been rapidly on the decline.”

            Not only Christians

            “The only country in the
            Middle East in which gay people may safely leave the closet is Israel. Which is why, for gay Palestinians, Tel Aviv is Mecca.”

            As for guest workers

            “Against all the odds, Israel’s first ever X Factor has been won by an unlikely contestant: a plump, four-foot-eleven, 47-year-old, lesbian, Filipina carer called Rose Fostanes.
            Ms Fostanes moved to Israel six years ago in order to earn money to send back to her family in the Philippines.”

          • aenid

            Compare the population of the native Christian population before and after Israeli occupation and tell me how it was so great for them .

            “Today, Christians comprise less than 4% of Palestinians living within the borders of former Mandatory Palestine. They are approximately 8% of the West Bank population, less than 1% in Gaza, and nearly 10% of Israel’s Arab population.[2]According to official British Mandatory estimates, Palestine’s Christian population in 1922 comprised 9.5% of the total population and 7.9% in 1946.[3] The Palestinian Christian Population greatly decreased from 1948 to 1967. Most fled or were expelled during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. A small number left during Jordanian control of the West Bank due to economic reasons. Since 1967, the Palestinian Christian population has increased despite continued emigration.[4]

            There are nearly one million Palestinian Christians in the world, inclusive of the Palestinian diaspora, making up over 10% of the world’s total Palestinian population. Palestinian Christians live primarily in Arab states surrounding historic Palestine and in the diaspora, particularly in South America, Europe and North America…”hotly.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_Christians

          • Benjamin Zac

            Right enough Israel is very good at separating the races, colours, creeds, and faiths….all reminiscent of an apartheid regime.

          • Shorne

            The Israeli Christian population is also growing, albeit at a slower rate than all other sectors.
            Christian population growth stands at 1.3%, compared to 1.8% for Jews and 2.5% for Muslims.
            The level of Christian education is notable, with 64% of Christian high school students earning a high school diploma, compared to 59% for Jewish Israelis and 48% for Muslims.
            There is an increasing Christian exodus from both the West Bank and Gaza. Part of it surely stems from the continuing Palestinian- Israeli conflict. But much of it results from a growing Islamic campaign to force Christians to sell their property and leave. Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, was once 90% Christian. Today it has a 65% Moslem majority.
            The only place in the Mideast where Christian communities continue to grow is in the Jewish State of Israel.

          • sarah_13

            Many “nice stories” also show:

            How the Palestinian Authority intimidates christians into silence regarding their own lesser status amongst the muslim population.

            The fact that areas that had huge majority christian areas prior to giving control to the PA have been decimated not by israel but by the palestinian authority.

            That a christian girl who felt the jews had a right to the homeland was threatened by her own family because they fear for their safety if they speak in any way in favour of the jews, having already lost her father who was shot by the palestinian muslims.

            The story of the christian father (priest) who is scared for the future of palestinian christians and is brave enough to speak out is constantly threatened with death.

            That the Palestinians having received 25 times the amount of money in the marshall plan, yes thats right 25 times, still can’t produce a functioning state because it prefers corruption a jew hatred to responsibility for its people and its future.

            That they receive over £2billion in aid. After the EU went in to audit £2billion is unaccounted for.

            That Mahmood Abbas is a millionaire 100 times over yet he has failed appallingly to produce a functioning state with responsible citizens.

            That Yasser Arrafat before him died will £Billions in his foreign bank accounted.

            That after 65 years no arab states apart from jordan will grant palestinians ANY rights, prefer to deny them every human right or absurb them preferring once again to distract with jew hatred.

            These are only a few “nice stories”. If there is no balanced truthful discussion none of the above will ever be solved and those who purport to defend the palestinians simply add to the misery of the palestinians, christians and muslims.

          • well said brother. Things are more complex than people realise.

          • Dallasyaherd

            They fail to mention all the anti-Jewish riots in Israel, such as the riots in the late teens and the riots in Hebron in the 1920s, the Amman terrorist uprising to kill all British and Jews, and the 1929 Hebron genocidal riots.

          • Dallasyaherd

            The popular press narative that may even make it into the crown encyclopedia, leaves out so much from the story of Israel.
            The Ottoman Syrian Pasha evicted Jews, we now have letters he sent to
            Ottoman authorities asking for permission to evict more Jews. He and the
            Ottoman second in command on Ottoman Syria (located in Beirut, which
            shows just how neglected southern Ottoman Syria was, it wasn’t even the
            secondary capital, of one small region of the empire), also sent letters
            to the capital asking to evict Jews. The Ottomans with local Arab help,
            tortured members of the Nili underground. Also Jews had been coming and
            going due to persocution, to and from Israel for millenia, the
            Eybschutz grave and that of his community is from 1809, some of the
            first of his community went to Israel in the 1760s, his great great great etc. grandson is the incoming president of Israel.

          • Roger Hudson

            I hope you realise that Yaffo/Jaffa was ‘cleansed’ by a largely Irgun/Lehi force in 1948 and then handed over to the IDF with the crude joke about giving one Jaffa (orange). Now it’s a quaint arty enclave.

          • john

            Not sure what the point is that you’re making but I guess it supports my position?

          • Dallasyaherd

            “Cleansed” you evil fools are obsessed with a meaningless tiny “conflict” you created to torture the Jews then lie about the fact that you’re evil shyts doing what you always did (go pretend to be Jewish quick) the people thrown out of homes includes hundreds of millions a year. There were a million Jews in the countries created for the Arabs by the League of NAtions (I know you are learning about history by your thieving obzsession and hatred of the most persecuted people by far in human history and your lies about them, because you are evil) there are zero Jews in the “Arab” countries today , if you are not a hyposrite you an evil NAzi fraud!!!!!! find the articles about them evil, there are none, just like the 15 car attacks at random Jews in ISrael by nazis ainstigated by you in the past month no articles about those either, there were 3 million Jews in the Arab countries 200 years ago, find a way to blame that on the Jews themselves quickly because you are the wortst piece of shyt who ever lived.

      • MissDemeanor

        just like every single one of the 57 muslim countries is!

        or where the 57 countries before islam slaughtered its’ way around the ME 1400 years ago, uninhabited??

        but i guess muslims are allowed everything, including throwing out millions of jews and christians from their lands, and persecuting and murdering them en masse….

        • john

          You’re losing it!

          • MissDemeanor

            no, it’s the muslims around Israel that are losing it

            from where I’m sitting, Israel is doing better than ever, you should get used to it, really, cause it isn’t going anywhere

          • ROBERT BROWN

            No, youv’e lost it, you never had it, still don’t get it, you are one dumb guy, is your real name Dave Spart by chance?

        • Benjamin Zac

          What a disgraceful and vile thing to say. Have you no knowledge in that head of yours. Muslims when they conquered Spain worked with all faiths for the attainment of knowledge which led to the Golden Enlightment across Europe and beyond. They didn’t kill the Jews or Christians, they didn’t force them to convert but they lived together until the Christians in Spain rose up and started the Spanish Inquisition. If you are talking generally about the Crusades then all faiths are guilty of war crimes at one time or another. The point is this how do we turn the situation in the middle east around towards peace and reconciliation?

          • Dallasyaherd

            everything you ever did was stolen from the jews.

      • JackBlack1

        Oh good lord… It isn’t stolen land there was never a Palestinian Arab State, in fact the last independent state in the region before Israel existed was The Kingdom of Judea. Palestine was merely the provincial name of a region of the Ottoman Empire, “Palestine” being derived from the Roam regional name “Syria Palestina” which in turn was derived from “Phillistines” which is translated as Southern People. This is because the Phillistines were a seafaring people from an area of the Aegean Sea, their original base being an area of Southern Europe near Western Anatolia.

        In addition there have been countless attempts by Israel and the international community to create a Palestinian state, all of which have been rejected by the terrorists that run the PA’s authoritarian regime.

      • Tom M

        The arabs were offered a partition plan in 1947, UN181, the plan defined borders. A two state solution. The arabs chose not to accept it. There has been no agreement since then as to borders so how do you reckon the land belongs to the Palestinians? The borders are to this day unresolved.
        Unless of course you belong to some extremist organisation which denies the right of existence of Israel.

  • mahatmacoatmabag

    In Tel Aviv a woman in tank top & shorts can walk the streets safely at nights unlike Tower Hamlets . Hopefully the Arabs in the 4 illegally created states of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon & Jordan will tear each other apart for the next few millennia & leave us alone to live our lives in peace

    • ROBERT BROWN

      Hear hear to that…..look at the silly bastards chanting and firing in the air, what a rabble, everything they do and think is as ‘Allah wills it ‘ they are so backward.

  • Michael Hanlon

    Athletic? And then some. Four years ago I ran the Tel Aviv marathon. Looking around at my fellow runners at the start line I seriously wondered if I would actually come last. Even the fancy-dressers looked like sub-six-minute milers.

  • Richard

    Julie,
    Did you miss the demo in Tel Aviv about African criminals?

    • sarah_13

      I believe that’s called a democracy. We have demos in this country also by many extreme groups. Try having a demonstration in Gaza – that’s just it they can’t – unless its a government approved subject like anti israel. As long as it doesn’t talk about government corruption, where the billions of dollars that have been poured into the region have gone, the minority status of christians, lack of any jews in Gaza or PA etc.

      • Richard

        I was pointing out that Israel’s attitude to Africans and the behaviour of Africa’s in Israel was causing serious conflict.

        • sarah_13

          I was pointing out that all democracies have difficulties, but that concerns are not suppressed by government but aired and that is the difference. A tiny country with a small population’s will be even more polarised than a large country where immigration is concerned. Many ethiopians and africans have indeed been absorbed, darfurians crossing many islamic countries to get to israel because it is a democracy. That is the point.

          I believe an honest debate is necessary as opposed to the one dimensional disproportionate focus of some individuals on Israel. Israel has thousands of human rights workers taking the government to court itself, people within the country, to the supreme court and gaining rights. These human rights workers are able to do this because it is a democracy and it has a functioning liberal supreme court. Not so in Egypt, not so in Libya, not so in Syria, not so in Saudi Arabia (where jews are forbidden to even set foot on the soil and no churches are permitted to be built), not so in Iran, not so in any majority islamic state and I include the much cited Indonesia where christians are persecuted. That is the point I was making.

        • Dallasyaherd

          Which Africans? Ethiopian and Nigerian Jewish Africans are basically fully integrated at this point. American Africans, have a community which hasn’t committed a violent crime in over a decade, even one.

          • Richard

            Eritreans and Ethiopians. Plenty of news stories available detailing serious crimes.

  • AndrewMelville

    What a twit – equating anti zionists and anti semites. Who is this Julia Burchill? From which cereal package did she learn to read and write English?

    • JackBlack1

      Zionism – The movement trying to find ways to protect Jews from Anti-Semitic racism.

      Seems to me the only reason someone is anti-zionist would be if the are anti-semitic.

      • AndrewMelville

        Dear Jack,
        please grow a frontal lobe. Many Jews were/are anti-Zionist (perhaps the vast majority one hundred years ago) – were they all anti-Semitic?

        Do you not think it possible that someone who likes and supports Jews might not think that the creation of Israel is / was not the best outcome for the Jewish people? Or that regardless, of its impact on Jews that it might not be ethical for Israel to be built on the ruination of the society that was already there?

        The modern trend to equate these two quite separate views is frankly despicable. I fear that it might harm Jews in the long run.

        Please help by stop claiming that black is the same as white. It is not. Saying so repeatedly, loudly and threateningly doesn’t make it so.

      • Dallasyaherd

        MLK Jr. said “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism”

  • Bruno’s Beach

    Although we may not fully understand why we use them, we tend to follow the ways learned from the lessons of others’ experience.

  • Benjamin Zac

    Whilst this article is clearly aimed at promoting israel, the truth is far greater than the ‘travel advert’ written here. In fact as a piece of journalism it is pithy and if it wasn’t for the writers ego getting in the way, it may have said a lot more about why so many young jews are escaping to Tel Aviv to avoid conscription, and to escape the brainwashing, soul sapping siege mentality of the rest of Israel. The sad thing about Tel Aviv is the amount of alcoholics falling out of the bars…..since freedom tastes like cocktails these days, and the increasing use of drugs used by soldiers coming out of the service. As for those artists who have played here, shame on them, to make money on the back of a situation that for 66 years has seen the Palestinians suffer the most inhumane treatment is disgraceful and damn right shameful. These are the kind of people who have no morals, and could do a lot worse than learning about israel’s occupation of Palestinian, and its continuing breach of International Law and human rights, including the rights of children. By the way there is no such thing as an arab israeli or whatever. They are all Palestinians; this categorisations stems from Israel desire to separate people into tribes and then punish them accordingly. The facts on the ground speaker greater than any trumped up holiday brochure.

    • nuakhti

      you represent an extremist situation that doesn’t represent the norm. It is the typical wishful thinking of an anti-Semite.

      • Dallasyaherd

        This guy is such an evil antisemite.

        • Benjamin Zac

          It so easy for folk to label others behind the comfort of their computers as anti-Semite. Do you even know what an anti-Semite is? I would call you guys islamophobic given the bile you rant on Palestinians. The situation I represent is the truth otherwise the young generation wouldn’t be fleeing Israel for Europe. I don’t see thousands of human rights workers taking Israel to court again another piece of rambling rubbish because you haven’t bothered to check the facts. Human Rights organisations and their supports have come across substantial difficulties in getting any justice for Palestinian victims because the courts are set up to work against them as is the entire justice system. And this isn’t my view but the view of respected professors and human rights workers. The Un report on Gaza made the same conclusions and Ban Ki Moon has commented on the unfair justice system that operates in a country supposedly meant to be a democracy. But above all of this is the point that when Jews stand up for the Palestinians within Israel they are beaten down by the settlers, right wingers or the Israeli police. What you guys are saying when you call me anti-Semite is that you are die hard supporters of Zionism with its regime of apartheid, ethnic cleansing, genocide and fascism. So who is more evil? those on the side of truth or those in denial about the facts on the ground.

          • Dallasyaherd

            You are evil and a vile lying antisemite. You have nothing to do with truth.

  • Dallasyaherd

    With all the antisemite lies below, Israel still has a much lower murder rate than Chicago, or Detroit look it up (67% of this year’s murders in Israel were done by Arabs with nationalistic motives). Israel has a higher life expectancy than the US. Israel has virtually no rape, (almost 100% of the total rapes of the past decade, in Israel, were done by Arabs who consider themselves palestinian). Israel has no death penalty.

    • Dallasyaherd

      They just discovered who the Rapist was of Rinat Raus was.

Close