Tel Aviv has been very sababa. Sababa means cool in Hebrew.
The western edge of the city is all beach and the weather has been beautiful, even in the heart of winter, though an Israeli told me the locals would think you are insane if you went to the beach when it is this cold. What he describes as “cold” has been t-shirt weather during the day for me.
I have had some delicious Israeli food, a great cheeseburger, and even a nice slice of late night pizza in the first hour of the new decade. In recent years, I have enjoyed staying home for NYE, watching the ball drop, and waking up feeling good for the first day of the new year, but last night we rang it in at a club called Ruby and it was a blast.
The people in Tel Aviv seem generally kind and hospitable and I have not once felt unsafe. I have not seen any guns besides the one of our security guard who has been traveling along with us. We asked a few people of various backgrounds to share their thoughts on the Israeli government and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Their responses seemed genuine and the only consistencies were their appreciations for the complexity of the problem and their deep desires for shalom (peace).
Jerusalem is next. The trip only gave us about 24 hours in Tel Aviv, but I am confident I will be back.