Tag Archives: israel

Rishon LeZion – a residential area with a surprising concentration of festivals

My time in Israel was limited, but everyone who knows my interest in urbanism wouldn’t be surprised that when I got an invitation from a new friend and active couchsurfer Yaniv to explore his town, Rishon LeZion, I couldn’t say no. The town is close to Tel Aviv and people can commute between them relatively easily. From the first sight it is an upper middle class suburb, which even reminded me of Luxembourg. But rents are lower than in Tel Aviv, and living there allows one to have more personal space. I was curious to hear that Rishon LeZion hosts several festivals, like an world food festival, international skate hockey championships, and big events on the Israeli Independence Day.

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Sde Boker, Mitzpe Ramon and sleeping out in the desert

Everyone was telling me that seeing the desert in Israel is a must. So, having collected a few tips, I set of to explore the desert. Before that, the South-most point I had visited in Israel was Be’er Sheva. There are buses to some of the desert towns, but we decided to choose a more adventurous way to get there rather than to spend about six hours on a bus. Continue reading

Hiking in Haifa

Haifa is probably the most beautiful among the larger cities in Israel. I am always happy to visit there, as it is such a special place. Haifa is known for rather peaceful coexistence among the ethnic groups, and life is not as stressful there as it is in Tel Aviv, where living costs are high and everyone seems to be competing. “People in Haifa look into your eyes – not at your clothes,” N. said once, comparing his native Haifa to Tel Aviv. When I went hiking around Haifa with friends three years ago, I wrote this in Lithuanian and this in English.

The previous time we went to Ein Hod, an artist village that was set up on top of a previously Arab village, and one of the nature trails, on which we were able to see and even pet people’s livestock (horses and donkeys). This time my local friend picked a trail that goes from the Etzba Cave to Ein Hod. Continue reading

Taking the time machine in Meah Shearim

The Meah Shearim neighborhood in Jerusalem is considered to be one of the must-see places in order to get the full picture of the multicultural landscape of the city. Yet going there needs preparations: first of all, one must be “modestly dressed”, moreover, it is good to know at least a few basic things about the culture in this neighborhood.

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Be’er Sheva: intercultural encounters

Be’er Sheva is the main city in Israel’s South and home to a prominent university. As I had to revisit the university after three years from the first visit, I had a chance to take a closer look at its unique architecture and color palette. When I visited it for the first time, I wrote this blog entry. At the end of winter, it is like an entirely different place. The desert is covered in green and flowers are blossoming. In fact, more than that felt surprisingly different. Continue reading

Visit to Ramleh + some reflections on Lithuania

Some Israeli friends invited me to visit an unrecognised village in Ramleh, where they took part in an artistic protest. They told me that the families that live there were expelled from their original villages after the Independence of Israel was announced and in a period of rather lawless situation many Arab residents were forced to leave their homes. Many of them did not stay in Israel at all.

Visszontlatasra Tel Aviv, and shalom Budapest

So, just as you know, I continue to move around. Greetings from Budapest this time! One week in advance I was already worried: I’ll be travelling with lots of things, including books, notes in a rare language, and so on. I had heard legends of Israeli border controls, but only my small luggage had previously aroused their suspicion.

No peace for Abraham to rest

The ancient town of Hebron (West Bank) once looked very promising. Its ancient Jewish community, more or less continuously living in the city, which claims to host the tomb of Abraham (considered both the first Jew and the first Muslim in history), had many things to share with its Arab neighbors. For example, one prayer house, built by Herod, used to serve both.

Tel Aviv Drum beach

Dozens of drummers showing what they can without any coordination, sharing the joy of music and togetherness until the sun sets and Shabbat descends – this is what the Drum Beach in Tel Aviv is about. The beach is on the southern part of the city’s coastline, and it’s proud to be the capital of musical, dance and acrobatic improvisation every Friday, as long as it’s warm.

It’s best to go there a little before the sunset in order to find a place to sit and enjoy the performance. Eventually sitting won’t matter, when everyone sinks into the tornado of dance. Dozens of drummers improvise and are joined by people playing other instruments, acrobats and dancers. There are always about 10 photographers jumping around. Let me tell you something, ever since I took a Visual Anthropology class, my usual habits have been transformed. Taking close-ups of people even in the most public of all public spaces feels like stealing their soul. However, when I. told me that taking photos on the Drum Beach is not only allowed, but even encouraged, I rejoiced at finally having the opportunity to show my readers some beautiful faces of the locals. Continue reading