Ella Kashti lets us in on a whole new side to the frequently misrepresented Israel
Being a country so widely followed due to its turbulent politics and history, it’s a rare occasion one gets a cultural insight into the leisurely side of Tel Aviv. Home to over 400,000 people, it is a hugely forward thinking, western city with a lot to offer. It has a prominent LGBTQ+ scene, and the pop culture and party scene is second to none—even the Black Eyed Peas claimed it as their favourite place to perform. Were we still in 2009 we would perhaps all be a lot more impressed.
Having grown up with Tel Aviv as my second-most visited city, I’ve been able to experience it without prejudice or fear. Walking around, it is more than easy to forget the context of the country you’re in. It’s a city that feels alive; there’s colour and noise everywhere, and enough eccentric Israelis to keep you on your toes and interested (shout out to Jesus on a moped), but it’s also impressively relaxed, filled with a silly amount of attractive youth with life long tans, sauntering the city and getting drinks with their really attractive faces.
Perhaps surprisingly, the LGBTQ+ scene in Tel Aviv is prominent, with Out Magazine naming it the “gay capital of the Middle East”. There is an annual Pride Parade in Tel Aviv each June with over 100,00 participants, and in 2013 a poll by Haaretz showed 59% support for same sex marriage among Israelis.