A Tour of Tel Aviv’s Neve Tzedek: A Day of Fun and Unexpected Delights

Author: Ira Riklis  |  Category: Tel Aviv

Tour Of Neve TzedekNestled within the heart of Tel Aviv, the city that never sleeps, is the beautiful Neve Tzedek, a community of artistry and architectural celebration. Just walking the streets of Neve Tzdek is an adventure worth taking, as the senses delight in the sights, sounds, and scents of a community that pulses with artistic energy. Neve Tzedek offers an eclectic variety of shopping and culinary surprises that will turn your sightseeing tour into a satisfying adventure. Effortlessly blending the best of the ancient with the progressiveness of the modern is a special gift of Neve Tzedek!

A History of Strength, Resilience and Restoration in Neve Tzedek

Neve Tzedek has an intriguing and inspiring history, and that history is visible today as one walks through the streets. Built in 1887, as part of the ‘new’ Tel Aviv, Neve Tzedek was left to decline, with buildings and antique roadways simply crumbling away, until the 1980’s when renewed investment of spirit and effort helped to transform the village and restore its former grandeur. Today, some of the original buildings, expertly restored, provide a focal point for local celebrations and tourism. You can stand on the rooftop of the Chlouche House, the first house built in Tel Aviv, and enjoy the ocean breeze. Explore the outdoor gardens on the patios of the gracious theater, the Suzanne Dellal Center.

Neve Tzedek Today: Sightseeing, Fine Shopping and Extraordinary Cuisine

Neve Tzedek offers an architectural display that is not to be missed! The blend of older architecture and newer building design is astonishingly successful and very beautiful. The decorative style of the outer buildings is also a sight to behold, as though the buildings are a canvas touched lovingly by the colorful palette and fine hand of a skilled artist. And, indeed, this is true- although there were many hands involved in transforming Neve Tzedek into the beautiful village it is today. Opportunities for shopping seem endless, even in such a relatively small area- such is the magic of Neve Tzedek. Don’t miss the shops and restaurants on Shabazi Street for a complete Neve Tzedek day tour.

The History Of Tel Aviv

Author: Ira Riklis  |  Category: Tel Aviv

Aerial View Of Tel AvivOriginally called Jaffa, Tel Aviv is a port city with a history that dates back to at least 1400 BC. The city was of little note, except for some brief mentions in the Bible, until 1099. In this year, Catholic armies from the First Crusade occupied the town. For the next 700 years, the town was repeatedly conquered and refortified, due to its strategic importance as a port town.

Growth Post Napoleon

After the final conquest by Napoleon, in 1799, where he decimated the largely Muslim population, the town started to flourish. Bedouin and Jewish immigrants, primarily Ashkenazi and Yemenite, helped transform the town into a thriving urban community. Its growth was further spurred by the First and Second Aliyah, until the city was officially established on April 11, 1909.

On this day, 66 Jewish families engaged in a lottery using seashells. This lottery parceled out land to each of the families. In just a little over a year, the city had streets and running water to all 66 homes, as well as a publicly funded high school. Over the next few decades, Tel Aviv continued to grow rapidly, adding public electricity to the entire city. It was quickly becoming both an economic and cultural center for the entire area.

Rapid growth ensued shortly before the start of World War II, as Jews fled from Europe. The Jewish population of Tel Aviv reached over 150,000. It became an independent municipality with two airports and even had its own independent port, which rivaled the Jaffa Port.

Life After WWII

For the most part the city went unscathed during WWII and the events leading up to it, though it did experience some problems during the Arab Revolt and was bombed by the Italians. The main effect of WWII on Tel Aviv, though came at the end of the war. When Israel was made an independent state, the now 200,000 population city was temporarily made the capital of Israel.

In modern history, Tel Aviv and Jaffa were officially united as a single city on April 24, 1950. Later in 1991 during the Gulf War, it was the target of Scud Missile attacks by Iraq, which resulted in the deaths of 74 residents.

Today it has grown to a population of over 400,000 and is considered one of the biggest tech centers in the world.

The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

Author: Ira Riklis  |  Category: Tel Aviv

Jerusalem Botanical GardensNestled on 30 acres of scenic land, the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens is a majestic wonder of Israel. Located in the Nayot neighborhood, the gardens boasts the widest variety of plant life in Israel with over 10,000 unique species and invites thousands of visitors each year to its lush environment. A must-see when visiting Jerusalem, the botanical gardens is home to history, greenery, and a renewed appreciation for plant life.

The History of Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

Originally conceptualized in 1926, the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens began on Mount Scopus and hosted the first Biblical Zoo. Less than two decades after planting commenced in 1931, the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens was restricted from the public following the Israeli War of Independence. Much like its homeland, the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens’ establishment faced trials and tribulations, until it was eventually transferred to a new location in the early 1960s. Twenty years later, the gardens outgrew its location, forcing a move to its current location. Today, the gardens serve as a hub of horticultural education and research.

Visiting the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

While taking in everything the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens has to offer may require more than one trip, make the most of your visit to the gardens with proper planning. Consider adding the following exhibits and activities to your itinerary:

  • The Flower Train. Relax and enjoy the colorful scenery on this 30-minute train ride through the gardens’ meandering flower beds, the perfect activity for families and groups.
  • The African Savannah Grass Maze. Step onto safari-like terrain and learn about the many plant species indigenous to Africa in the gardens’ African Savannah Grass Maze.
  • The Bible Path. Have you ever wondered about the significance of Biblical plant life, and its place in history? Tour the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens’ Bible Path to discover herbs, flowers, and trees mentioned in the Bible.
  • Herb and Medicinal Plant Tasting Tour. Awaken your senses and embark upon a journey of discovery in the Herb and Medicinal Plant section of the gardens. Learn about the significance of plants in Biblical medicine and take home a bit of history by creating your own herb-filled sachet.

No Time To Visit, No Worries

Don’t have time to take everything in? The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens now hosts an online course entitled “Flora of the Holy Land,” which provides virtual education about the area’s many plant species and their historical significance in the Bible. The next time you’re brainstorming a new and interesting way to explore the world, add the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens to your list of majestic destinations.

Bible Lands Museum in Tel Aviv: History, Exhibits and Events

Author: Ira Riklis  |  Category: Tel Aviv

Bible Lands MuseumThe Tel Aviv Bible Lands Museum gives visitors an opportunity to wander through biblical history. The museum features a unique collection that depicts the civilizations and cultures of ancient lands of the Bible. The Tel Aviv Bible Lands Museum contains an extensive collection of Ancient Near Eastern art that presents history of the biblical period. There are exhibits, events and collections to delight visitors of all ages. The museum offers daily guided tours as well as an Easy guide audio system that is free with admission to the museum.

History of the Tel Aviv Bible Lands Museum

Completely dedicated to the history of the biblical period of the ancient lands in the Bible,the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem is the only museum of its kind in the world. On May 11, 1992, the Bible Lands Museum opened its doors to the public and has since earned international acclaim for their educational and cultural programs. Civilizations are brought to life through the exhibits featured throughout the museum, including displays of artifacts of the Ancient Near East, which are part of the extensive private collection of Dr. Elie Borowski (1913-2003). The Bible Lands Museum was the inspiration of Dr. Elie Borowski.


Visitors from around the world are amazed at the interactive time capsule as they wander through the galleries and discover the interrelationships of the ancient cultures. The rare and breathtaking ancient treasures of the Bible Lands Museum are displayed in chronological order, which allows the visitors to stroll through history as they trace the dawn of civilization to the early Christian era. Upon entering the museum, visitors are greeted by display items from the sons of Noah that illustrate the unity of humankind through a biblical concept. There are 20 galleries in the museum, each of which represent a historical era and feature unique and rare artifacts from the time period.

Events To See

There are always fun and entertaining events scheduled at the museum. Lectures and courses are available each week for adults, educational programs are available for children and through the holidays, the museum host a variety of creative programs. Some of the upcoming events at the Bible Lands Museum include:

  • Natural Selection-a musical performance that explores the mystical connection of words to Hebrew letters.
  • Lovers’ Words by the Naama Womens Voice Ensemble, which is a wonderful ensemble of love songs through the ages.
  • Story telling is scheduled a couple of times through each month, including a special program for Hamshushalayim.

The museum is open daily as is the gift shop and Kosher Restaurant. Wednesday evenings the museum hosts lectures and Saturday night there are music, wine and cheese programs for visitors to attend. The events change routinely at the Bible Lands Museum, so it is recommended that you contact the museum for details of programs on the days you intend to visit.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Market

Author: Ira Riklis  |  Category: Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv Stock Exchange MarketThe Tel Aviv Stock Market Exchange (TASE) is the only public market in Israel where people can trade stocks. You will find many products here including stocks, bonds, mutual funds and more. This is a highly regulated by the Securities Law of 1968 and monitored by the Israel Securities Authority. There are a few things you should know about TASE.

History Of The Stock Exchange Market

While it was founded in 1953 though the foundations go all the way back to 1935 with the Exchange Bureau for Securities. In 1999 the exchange switched to a completely computerized system. Then in 2006 TASE bought all remaining shares of TASE stock from holders making it a fully owned subsidiary. Even though TASE may have had modest beginnings, today there are 600 companies on the exchange. Of these companies 60 of them represent stock exchanges from other countries.

How is it Doing Now?

As with any market it will fluctuate. There will be some days where it will be down and other days where it will soar. This is why it is important to look at the market over a longer period of time. On the website you can see the graphs over the last three months as well as the year. The market is not at the highest point it has been over the last three months, but it is close. Also, it is significantly higher than it was a year ago. This is a good sign that this market is stable and on the rise, even if it does have the occasional low day.

History of the Tel Aviv White City

Author: Ira Riklis  |  Category: Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv White CityConstructed by Jewish-German architects immigrating to the British Mandate of Palestine following the takeover of Germany by the Nazis in the 1930s, the White City is composed of 4000+ buildings and occupies a portion of Tel Aviv. Employing the International, or Bauhaus style, of architecture in creating the buildings, these innovative architects were preceded by the development of the concept for the White City by Patrick Geddes, a Scottish city planner commissioned by the first mayor of Tel Aviv, Meir Dizengoff.

Architectural Style Of The Buildings

While Geddes arranged the street layout and determine block sizes, he did not decide the architectural style of the buildings. By the middle 1930s, many Jewish architects favoring the Bauhaus school had already fled to the BMP, partly to escape the growing threat of Nazism and partly due to the closing of Berlin’s Bauhaus school. Consequently, the White City’s public and residential buildings were fashioned by these displaced architects because they lived nearby and because an absence of traditional architectural conventions existed at the time they were living near Tel Aviv.

In addition to incorporating features of the Bauhaus movement, the architects also adapted buildings to deal with the extreme desert/Mediterranean climate. The use of light colors, mostly white, to reflect sunlight and rising heat gave credence to why it is called the White City. Incorporating large areas made of glass (a common component of the Bauhaus style) was replaced by recessed windows that were smaller and helped limit the glare and heat. Balconies in the White City are narrow, long and shaded by overhead balconies so that residents can enjoy breezes coming from the sea. Roofs were built to be slanted instead of flat to provide a place for people to congregate during the cool of dusk.

Recognition As A Cultural Heritage

In 2003, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) named the White City as a World Cultural Heritage Site, stating that the city was an “outstanding example of new town planning and architecture in the early 20th century”.

Although many of the White City’s buildings suffered neglect and ruin over the years, some have been renovated and 1500 of them are slated for restoration and preservation after passing of legislation in 2009 by the Tel Aviv municipal government.

Tel Aviv artist spotlight Nelly Agassi

Author: Ira Riklis  |  Category: Tel Aviv

Spotlighting Nelly AgassiArt is in the eye of the beholder. The beauty of Tel Aviv artist Nelly Agassi’s work is that there is something for everyone. Nelly has been termed a performance artist; a multi-disciplinary artist that works in multiple mediums. Her art transcends time and space. The Jerusalem Center for Visual Arts website describes one of her shows in which she knits a dress around her body. During the performance, Nelly transforms the dress into a large “voluminous object” that she later sheds, as if to invoke the image of shedding an empty skin. Her artwork is edgy, unique and subject to interpretation. She uses various mediums such as knitting, fabrics, photography and much more. Her work can be seen in Tel Aviv, Chicago, New York and London. If you are seeking a unique cultural experience in Tel Aviv, check out the work of Nelly Agassi

Background & Collaborations

Nelly was born in Israel in 1973. She received the Master’s of Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art and Design in London, and her Bachelor’s of Fine Art from Central Saint Martins in London. Additionally, she has taken courses in her native Israel. Nelly divides her time between Tel Aviv and Chicago.

Nelly works with artist Claudia Hill. Hill’s website states that she and Nelly collaborate via email, telepathy and in person. Both believe that the resulting artwork transcends their respective cultures and backgrounds to form something unique.


The Dvir Gallery credits Nelly with the following awards and prizes. Each is a testament to the artist’s unique flair.
2011 Ministry of Culture and Sport Prize
2008 Award for artistic encouragement, Israel ministry of Science, Culture and Sport
2003 Nathan Gottesdiener Foundation for Israeli Art Prize, Tel Aviv Museum of Art
2000-01 America-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship

2000 Young Artist Prize

1999 America-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship

The Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center

Author: Ira Riklis  |  Category: Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv Performing Arts CenterThe Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center, which is located in Tel Aviv’s cultural complex, was designed by Israeli architect, Yaakov Rechter, whose father was also an architect. The Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center was first opened to the public in 1994. It is located at Shaul Hamelech Blvd, between Weizmann St and Leonardo da Vinci St.

Construction Of The Arts Center

Constructing the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center within the cultural complex was likely perceived as an ingenious plan, as it opened many doors to performances that had not previously been performed on such a stage in Israel. It is a beautifully constructed modern complex. With its state-of-the art facilities, it is the ideal location for the Israeli Opera as well as the Israeli Ballet, both of which consider the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center their home.

Even the foyer itself is an architectural masterpiece, designed by architect-designer Ron Arad. The foyer features a small amphitheater where performances are enjoyed, along with temporary art exhibits. A café allows guests to enjoy the architectural beauty of the Foyer and the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center itself.

Productions & Presentations for Everyone

The New Israeli Opera presents six productions each season, according to the Tel Aviv Guide. Patrons can also attend a short lecture prior to the performance to learn about the evening performance. Backstage tours are also available, at which time patrons can enjoy even more aspects of the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center. Children’s performances are held periodically and children are given access to Israeli Opera through ongoing education programs.

The Israeli Ballet also performs throughout the year at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center, featuring such prestigious performances as Madame Butterfly. Guest companies from around the world present a variety of dance and musical performances on occasion.

International festivals and unique exhibits held at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center helps to maintain the festive atmosphere and to keep it an attraction that residents and visitors from around the world enjoy. More than one million visitors enter into the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center on an annual basis to enjoy the performances, cultural events and architectural beauty of the TAPAC.

History of the Tel Aviv Airport (Gurion)

Author: Ira Riklis  |  Category: Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv Airport is the primary gateway into and out of the Middle East. Around 14 million passengers walk through its extensive security every year. On its runways, Tel Aviv Airport oversees hundreds of international flights a week. It’s also the home base of El Al, Israir Airlines, and Arkia Israel Airlines. The major transportation hub has seen many ups and downs to reach its current status and high satisfaction ranking among travelers.

The Origins

The Tel Aviv airport first opened in 1936 as Wilhelma Airport as part of the British Mandate for Palestine. The original airport was just four long strips of concrete from which an airplane could land or take off. Located on the outskirts of the Lydda, the small airport was used for military purposes and was the military hub for transport and aircraft ferry operations between military bases in Europe, Africa and throughout the the Middle East. It’s military use peak during World War Two. That changed in 1946 when the airport saw the first civilian international flight take off to New York City.


Up until 1948, the British had control of the airport. On July 10th, the Israelis defense forces officially took control of the Tel Aviv Airport and has maintained control of the airport since. Shorty after, the number of passengers rose to 100,000 a month. In the early 1970s, the airport had two instances with hijackers that resulted in loss of life. Today, the security is heightened with every vehicle to pass through its gates greeted by armed guards. Plainclothes solders walk the airport for increased security and all bags go through a CT or X ray machine.

Ultimate Expansion

The original airport design of four intersecting runways caused some safety concerns as the airport grew. It’s since been redesigned and features three runways. Additional terminals were also built and there are plans for future expansions.

Tel Aviv Airport has played and will continue to play a large, critical role in access to the Middle East. According to Airports Council International, the airport is ranked first among the 40 major European airports and is 8th out of 77th major airplane hubs in the world.

The History of Yedioth Ahronoth-Daily Newspaper

Author: Ira Riklis  |  Category: Tel Aviv

Daily Newspaper written extra extraThe Yedioth Ahronoth is a daily newspaper that is published in Tel Aviv, Israel. The paper was founded in the British Mandate of Palestine in the 1930’s, and is the largest newspaper in Israel by circulation and sales.

The Founding of Yedioth Ahronoth

“Yedioth Ahronoth” was founded by an investor named Nachum Kumarov in the 1930’s. The first evening paper in Mandatory Palestine, its format resembled that of the “London Evening Standard.” The paper was eventually sold to Yehuda Mozes, a wealthy land dealer who was interested in the paper as a long term investment opportunity. Mozes’ sons, Reuben and Noah, took over the running of the newspaper, with Noah as its first managing editor.

Yedioth Ahronoth and Yedioth Maariv

In the 1940’s, much of the staff became increasingly uneasy with their working conditions. The publisher, Yehuda Mozes, was quick to intervene in editorial matters, demanding revisions and deletions based on his personal biases and interests. In 1948, the newspaper’s editor, Ezriel Carlebach, led a large group of the paper’s disgruntled staff and journalists to form a rival paper. The “Yedioth Maariv” became the newspaper’s biggest competitor, and for decades, the two papers were in an on-going battle for sales and prestige. The rivalry peaked in the 1990’s when it was discovered that both papers had tapped one another’s phone lines.

Yedioth Ahronoth Today

Today, Arnon Mozes, Noah Mozes’ son, heads the paper, and Shilo De-Beer is the paper’s current editor. The paper has taken on a tabloid format, with the tone and purpose having transitioned from a sophisticated analysis of current events and more to human interests. It is owned by the Yedioth Ahronoth Group, which also owns stock in several of Israel’s companies, a collection of various local weekly newspapers, several magazine publications and various other non-media companies. The newspaper continues to enjoy its position of prestige, retaining the distinction of being Israel’s most widely read newspaper.