Israel's Urban Outlier
Writing in City Journal, Sol Stern looks at the history of the city and its status as an affluent beacon in an otherwise stoic country.
"Last year, the first Hebrew city celebrated its centenary. Celebrities and dignitaries from around the globe joined the festivities, often expressing admiration at Tel Aviv's emergence as a dynamic world city. The foreign commentators noted Tel Aviv's reputation as the "nonstop city" and recalled its designation by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for its abundant Bauhaus architecture. Contrary to the skeptics, the neighborhood in the dunes did not become a ghetto: Tel Aviv is now the most affluent, tolerant, and culture-soaked city in the Middle East.
A recent testimonial to Tel Aviv's success, albeit a perverse one, came from Time. On the eve of September's renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the magazine answered the question suggested on its cover-WHY ISRAEL DOESN'T CARE ABOUT PEACE-by citing the country's booming economy, which had supposedly made its citizens complacent. The prime evidence of that economic energy? Tel Aviv. Five of the six photographs accompanying the article depicted young Israelis enjoying the good life in the nonstop city by the sea."