When Lawrence Davis and his group meet Rent-a-Guide Tours creator Reuben for the first time, he tells them all about the city of Jaffa, a suburb of Tel Aviv. Jaffa is a mixed city with Israelis and Arabs and it used to just be sand dunes and mountains. The sand dunes come from the Nile, describes Reuben, and the Northern stream in the Mediterranean pushes the sand. He tells the group that through digging, archaeologists have found earlier civilizations covered by sand dunes. Over time, Jaffa has gone through tremendous growth and the prices of property have risen enormously.
To hear Reuben describe where the sand dunes come from, click here: (Coming soon!)
Reuben takes Davis’s group into his wonderful office and shares a wealth of knowledge with them right away.
He explains that in the biblical times, the port of Israel was the Jaffa port and from there, the sinners of Lebanon were brought to build the Temple in Jerusalem. When Solomon built the Temple, it is written that he brought the sinners of Lebanon through Jaffa. As one comes to Jerusalem, they see the Jaffa road. This is the beginning of the road connecting Jerusalem to Jaffa, which was actually the exit of Jerusalem to the Mediterranean. After introducing the group to his friendly staff, he shows them some of the awards displayed on his walls.
Reuben informs the group that the hill they saw on the way to his office is called “Tel” in Hebrew, which means an artificial hill that is built, so over time, different layers of different cities become a hill gradually. Tel Aviv got its name because its ruins reflect and symbolize the past. When Nahum Sokolow translated the book of Herzl, the founder of Zionism, he found that Herzl predicted that the Jewish people would come back to live in Israel in 1898. Herzl wasn’t a greatly religious person but he had a dream, and 50 years later, in 1948, Israel was established. Herzl wrote a very interesting book so Nahum Sokolow translated the book into Hebrew and wanted to translate the name Tel Aviv in a symbolic way. “Aviv” means spring in Hebrew, so the new land is like spring time to the Jewish people, Reuben clarifies.
From Reuben’s office, he shows Davis’s group the Shalom Tower, an office building, and a painting of the famous Herzliya High School which was removed to the northern part of Tel Aviv.
In the time of Little Tel Aviv, Herzl Road, one of the first and main streets of Tel Aviv, went under Herzliya High School, Reuben began. The school had a gate at the entrance in those days. Today if you go to the new Herzliya High School, in a very exclusive part of Tel Aviv, they have a replica of the same gate. Reuben’s daughter just graduated from this high school. All of Reuben’s paintings are by Nachum Gutman, who lived in Little Tel Aviv in the old days. Reuben calls him “the most famous painter of those days.”
Reuben has so much more to share about the city. Tel Aviv was established in 1909. In the biblical times only Jaffa existed. There were waves of immigration and there wasn’t enough space in Jaffa so the people went to the North, but this area was almost covered in sand dunes. The first neighborhood out of Jaffa of Jewish settlers was called Neve Tzedick, and it became the first neighborhood in Tel Aviv. Gradually, Tel Aviv was developed from the South towards the North. The further you go towards the North, the more you see new and modern places, Reuben points out. As Davis’s group learns all this, they also learn they are in Little Tel Aviv because then Tel Aviv was very little.
Inside a beautifully new Mercedes car, Reuben talks about Old Jaffa and New Jaffa. Driving through New Jaffa is very busy at night but dead in the day time. Old Jaffa is filled with artists and it is where tourists go to find shopping, jewelery and art. The group passes an Arab Juice Bar that seems to be popular. Signs outside the store say that they serve coffee and ice cream, along with fruit and juice.
Then Reuben tells Davis's group about a restaurant that has “the best pita bread” called Abu-Nassar-Hinnawi restaurant. The restaurant is owned by an Arab and the group heads there for lunch.
Reuben introduces the group to the restaurant’s owner, and she graciously keeps the food coming and coming, making for a scrumptious meal.
After lunch, the group heads to Davis’s Aunt and Uncle’s hotel, the Sheraton Moriah Tel Aviv Hotel. Their hotel has an incredible view of the ocean. To read a full review on the Sheraton Moriah Tel Aviv Hotel, click here: (Coming soon!)
Davis takes a cab to Jerusalem for his stay at the Jerusalem Plaza Hotel, a hotel that he really enjoys. The cab driver is full of knowledge about Jerusalem, and Davis is happy to take it all in. The view from Davis’s room at the Jerusalem Plaza Hotel is beautiful during the day and even more special at night.
Tomorrow, a new day with a new tour guide will begin, and Davis’s group knows that the trip is only going to get better and better.
To read an article about his ride from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and what happens next in his trip to Israel, click here.
To read about Rent-a-Guide Tours, click here.
To read about Davis’ trip to Tel Aviv, click here.
To read about Davis' interview with the Sheraton Jerusalem Plaza Hotel's Executive Chef, click here.
To read about Davis’ trip to Jerusalem, click here.
To read about Davis' trip in the Old City of Jerusalem, click here.
To read about Davis' trip to Jerusalem from his Uncle's perspective, click here.
For more information go to Rent-a-Guide Tours