Israel Day Nineteen
It was yet another incredible day for Biluim Israel. We started the day at 6:45, and after a classic Israeli breakfast headed to the bus. Tired yet excited for the day, we drove into Israel’s urban hotspot: Tel Aviv. Fortunately, both buses left their respective kibbutzim during rush hour, allowing for some extra rest on the bus.
Our first stop of the morning was the popular and trendy Tel-Aviv neighbourhood, Florentin. Here, amid cafes and boutiques, we toured the graffiti that makes this part of the city so popular, and full of character. On our walking graffiti tour, we learned about various artists and individual pieces. Florentine is currently undergoing large-scale modernization, however, the majority of the neighborhood is filled with old dilapidated buildings. The unique designs and bold colors of the art in combination with the old-styled architecture make the neighbourhood extremely eye-catching. One of the most famous and captivating pieces was the iconic "Club 27" graffiti mural by Jonathan Kis-Lev, featuring prominent music and art leaders who all died at the age of 27. It was interesting to learn that while street-art is illegal in Israel, authorities tend to turn a blind eye to street-artists working in Florentine specifically, as it has shaped the community and culture of the neighbourhood in such an important way.
After the tour, we headed to the renowned Karmel Market. There, we had plenty of time to explore the chaotic yet charming market and enjoy a pizur lunch. The Karmel Market is filled with jewelry, fruits and vegetables, clothing, spices, candy, and both tourists and locals. We were able to improve our bargaining skills, indulge in freshly-made smoothies, and most importantly, get to appreciate Israeli culture alongside our friends.
Once we got back to Shefayim, the more adventurous half of the group walked to a beach near the kibbutz. We had some time at the beach a couple of days ago in Tel-Aviv, but it was nice to relax today on a more secluded beach. We jumped in the waves, walked along the sand, and did our best to avoid jellyfish.
The evening program tonight was a presentation from IGY: Israeli Gay Youth. This organization was founded in 2002, with the aim of creating an inclusive community for youth in Israel who do not fit into societal norms, and who would not otherwise have a community to call their own. We engaged in a conversation regarding the history of the LGBT+ community, the issues with labels, and initiatives that the organization offers to youth in the LGBT+ community in Israel.
I am looking forward to the next two weeks of continuing to explore all that Israel has to offer.