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Tayelet Tableau

Tel Aviv’s famous promenade ... the tayelet

I'm having breakfast at a table for two, overlooking the Tel Aviv promenade (tayelet). Strolling couples, runners and cyclists of all ages and parents with prams and dogs on leashes fill the walkway. White sailboats dot the horizon and a large colony of shimmering seagulls create a series of graceful waves across the teal blue sky. A hesitant swimmer in bathing trunks considers entering the cold water while a black-hatted Chasid cycles by and another intrepid motor-cyclist flies a yellow banner proclaiming in large, black letters,"מספיק לכיבוש"(End the Occupation).

The sun is making its way to center stage and for a short while lights up the beige sand. Tentatively, light gray clouds begin to overtake the sky and children start returning a little earlier from school. A Friday morning on the shores of Tel Aviv.

I leave my luxurious perch at the Dan Hotel and join the pedestrians southward. The January sun now shines a pale light and a pleasant, cool wind accompanies me. Helmeted roller skaters, toddlers on tricycles, sports enthusiasts playing volleyball and gymnasts working out at the Sports Park on the beach enjoy the ambience of a mild winter morning on the Mediterranean seashore. Surfers are preparing their gear while safely-seated readers are absorbed in their books. In front of the Shlomo Lahat Promenade, plucky pigeons, unaware that they are paying homage to one of Tel Aviv's former mayors, jostle each other to feast on generous leftover bread slices, dispersed by a parked cyclist with peyot (side locks) and a beard.

Prints of selected paintings of the seashore by Nahum Gutman, Reuven Rubin, Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky and Henri Matisse are among those exhibited along the Promenade Museum on the Beach. A couple stops to ask me if I know where they can find a kosher restaurant.

Continuing my stroll, I meet two young tourists from Czechoslovakia and Poland who have just arrived in Israel for the first time for a two-day trip. They are standing in front of a Memorial for the Ha'apala (illegal immigration) before and during World War II, reading of the difficulties Jews had in reaching the shores of Palestine during this time. I offer them unsolicited advice: "Enjoy your stay in Tel Aviv today and spend tomorrow touring Jerusalem." 

 

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Sunday, 13 June 2021

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