In the Footsteps of Israel’s Founders
Perhaps one of the best ways to get to know Tel Aviv is a walk along its beach and promenade. Already at sunrise you’ll find scores of people – both young and old – swimming, running, walking, playing paddle ball and even standing on their heads, as David Ben Gurion, the founder of the State of Israel, used to do!
Ben Gurion apparently learned about the benefits of yoga from a conversation he had with Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, and practiced standing on his head with Moshe Feldenkrais, his personal trainer. Ben Gurion was extremely well read, a true renaissance man and enough of a “realist” (even when standing on his head!) to have said in an interview 1956 with CBS that: “In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles.”
On this tour you will both experience the vibrancy of Tel Aviv and “meet” some of the key figures that have shaped modern Israel.
One of the most prominent viewpoints along the Tel Aviv beach front is found at the impressive monument of London Square – where we’ll begin this tour (there is also a large underground parking conveniently located here).
As you walk along the beach front promenade from London Square to Atarim (also known as Namir) Square, stop along the way to read the historical plaques.
Opposite London Square you’ll find one dedicated to a ship called the Altalena, sunk off the Tel Aviv coast in the summer of 1948. Walking farther you’ll find another marker (in Hebrew – just opposite the French Embassy) dedicated to the elite pre-state “Palmah” fighting unit which had its headquarters here.
Continuing along the promenade you’ll find a plaque (on a wall on your right) dedicated to one of Israel’s most well-known peace activists – Abbie Natan – who for many years ran a pirate radio station, offshore – “Somewhere in The Mediterranean” – called “The Voice of Peace.” Make sure you press the button to hear the recorded jingle of the station.
Next, you’ll walk via Atarim square to Ben Gurion Boulevard, a wide, shady, tree-lined lane, with separate paths for both pedestrians and bicycles, that often hosts street events. A visit to the home of David Ben Gurion is a must!
The final leg of this tour crosses Ben Yehuda street and then follows Dizengoff Street, where you can begin to “L’hizdangeff” – which means that you’re simply “hanging out on Dizengoff Street.” While this legendary street began to decline in popularity in the 1970s and 80s, in recent years it’s undergone a kind of renaissance. The street is famous for its square and landmark fountain in its center, designed by artist Yakov Agama..
Tips: Wear comfortable walking shoes
Download the Tel Aviv-Jaffa City Pass which, after being stamped by your hotel concierge, provides discounts for museums, cinemas, restaurants and shopping.