Four months after my first visit to Israel, in Jerusalem, I was given the opportunity to go to Israel again, this time to Tel Aviv for the Ex Libris System Seminar 2009. Tel Aviv is a modern city, only 100 years old, located on the sea, far from the West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon. The allegedly 4000 years old port of Jaffa (Yafo), originally an Arab town, is part of the Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality.
Unlike Jerusalem there is no large orthodox Jewish neighbourhood in the city center.
But on Shabbat (when religious Jews are not allowed to work, which includes operating machines), my experiences were:
In our hotel:
– No scrambled eggs, but only boiled eggs
– Bread toaster had been removed
– Espresso coffee machine (button operated) had been removed, only ready made coffee
– On the other hand, besides the Shabbat elevator (stops at all floors, no need to press a button) the other elevator operated normally
In the streets:
– No buses, only taxis
– Tel Aviv quiet (less cars, shops closed), Jaffa very busy
Hotel reception says everything is closed, but the Tel Aviv Museum of Art is open (fortunately)
In our hotel in East Jerusalem (Arab area), there were no such restrictions.
In Western Europe it is unthinkable that there is no public transport on Sundays. Even without the problematic Jewish-Arab relationship Israel is a very complicated society.