A Tale of Two Cities

Yesterday on 60 Minutes there was a report on Tel Aviv. It was interesting to watch this on Jerusalem Day.

While Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, there is no doubt that career-wise, Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel. It is the privileged who can both live and work in Jerusalem.

I’ve done the commute – going up and down the 1 like a pendulum.

Living in Jerusalem, but working in Tel Aviv isn’t impossible, but it takes it out of you.

You are leaving the house at 7am and you will be lucky if you are back by 7pm. That isn’t too bad but if you have kids, it means your better half has to do the dinner-bath-sleep routine on their own.

After a long day who has the energy to fight for a spot on the 405 or 480? Even worse is the prospect of having to stand the whole way back. Always assume there is going to be some sort of traffic jam, this way you will avoid disappointment.

Finally you enter Jerusalem only to crawl into and then out of Tachana Mercazit. Thank god for the 100!

These are the sacrifices you make. What do you get in return? First and foremost, a salary that is higher than what you could make in Jerusalem. Secondly, Tel Aviv is where the action is. Working in Jerusalem allows you a good living, but by being in the eye of the Tel Aviv storm you are exposed to far more opportunities.

Tel Aviv is the big stage and there is a pull to working with and against the best. This is the same reason why all the top footballers end up in England, Spain and Italy and the ones looking for a golden handshake end up in America, China and Japan.

Obviously for government related jobs, Kottel tour guides and Light Rail drivers, Jerusalem is where it’s at, but for white collar workers, nearly all roads lead out of Jerusalem.

It’s definitely a toss-up and one that’s hard to know the correct answer to, especially if you have young kids. When I was working in Tel Aviv, it made my wife’s life a difficult juggle. That being said, kids are expensive and the extra income is definitely appreciated.

If you don’t have kids it’s less of an issue. Getting home late isn’t as much of a big deal, but do you really want be getting home at 9-10pm?

I’ve heard of people who live in Jerusalem but sleep up north during the week. The Park and Ride has made the commute, significantly better than what it was but still you feel as if you’re spending your whole week going up and down the 1.

That is why I was thrilled to join a SEO company in Jerusalem that allows me the best of both worlds. Leaving the office now at 6.30 means I’m home at 7 and not 8.

A motivating force definitely is to build something that will allow Jerusalem-based colleagues the chance to work in the capital in a challenging and ambitious environment that doesn’t make them feel like they’re missing out on something.

There are specks of a business district in Har Hotzvim and the Gan Technology in Malha, but in no way can they be compared to the Azrieli and the other skyscrapers in Tel Aviv.

Life is too short to be spending 3+ hours a day commuting.

About the Author
David Wiseman plays cricket in Israel. When not doing this he likes to do jigsaw puzzles.