Jason Fredric Gilbert
Pushing the boundaries of weird since 1978
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The Tel-Aviv you’ve never seen

Turning a lens on the murkier -- and quirkier -- corners of the White City

You’ve been to Neve Tzedek like a million times. You know Shenkin like the back of your hand. You may even know how to wind your way around Dizengoff center without ending up in that weird section on the other side of the street. You’ve had breakfast, lunch and dinner at Benedict’s (the spinach egg ballz are amaze-ballz) like a gazillion times.

This is for you.

You only buy your fish at that one guy at the shuk. Even have lunch at one of those worker restaurants in the Yeminite quarter. You know where to get vegan Malabi.

Vegan Malabi. It's a thing now.
Vegan Malabi. It’s a thing now.

You voted Meretz like seven times in the three years you’ve been here.

This is for you.

You pay like seventeen thousand shekels a month in rent to share a shitty loft near Shocken Street. You don’t even have an air conditioner. Or a dishwasher. Or a closet. Or a washing machine.

You do pilates on that place on Salame (it’s not pronounced Shalma you dim witted tourist). You only eat Hummus at Abu Hassan in Jaffa.

You know who you are.

This is for you.

The top 10 neighborhoods of Tel Aviv you’ve probably never been to.

1. Neve Shaanan. The Old Central Bus Station. If you’re here you’re looking to score some heroin, have unprotected sex with a transgender streetwalker or learn how to speak French as spoken in Brazzaville. Good for you brave explorer. This place is one of Tel Aviv’s treasures and will make you feel like you’ve gone abroad on vacation. But on a personal note, I miss the old days when the most dangerous thing they sold there was a Zohar Argove bootleg cassette or a Van Damme flick on VHS.

Trying on shoes at the olf bus station.
Trying on shoes at the old bus station.
December 5 Bus Station 066
No comision? No English either.

2. Nahalat Yitzchak. If you made it to this quiet little neighborhood tucked away behind the Azrieli Center it’s only because you’ve made a wrong turn. Azrieli is right on Yigal Alon. Not left. But stay awhile. Admire the water tower. Or the High Rises. And the country club that you’ll never be able to afford. Because you’re poor.

December 26 -Nahlat Yitzhak 053

3. Florentine. I know what you’re thinking. I live in Florentine. Or I’ve been to Florentine plenty of times. Had tacos and sangria at Mezcal. Whatever. I could tell you were a hipster asshole. Stop reading this right now and go wax your stupid mustache. It totally isn’t cool anymore anyway. Move to Givatayim or something.

November 28 - Tel Aviv 008

Did you fall down the stairs again, Wendy?
Did you fall down the stairs again, Wendy?

4. Kfar Shalem. How did you end up here dude? Oh, I know. You saw an ad on Yad2. Two Bedroom. In Tel Aviv. Less than four thousand a month. Quiet. You thought, “Hey, how bad can it be?” It’s not bad at all. Just don’t tell anyone that you voted Meretz. Or that you don’t like Karaoke parties.

Kfar Shalem strip mall.
Kfar Shalem strip mall.

5. Yad Eliyahu. The hand of Elijah. As in the back side of his hand. And you know this place well, right? You still eat at Dixie. You’re a big fan of Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball. You go to all of their games. But there’s so much more to Yad Eliyahu than basketball. There’s the defunct and creepy Cinerama. The library for the blind. And of course, an old age home. Have fun.

Old age home
Old age home

6.The Tikva Neighborhood. Which translated means the “Hope” neighborhood. As in ye who enter shall abandon all hope. If you find yourself in the Tikva neighborhood and you’re not there to score smack, RUN. I’m kidding. It’s not that bad. Maybe a fast paced walk.

Tough times
Tough times

7. Jaffa Daled. You may think you know Jaffa. You have overpriced brunches at Pua in the Peshpeshim. Or you get your hummus from Abu Hassan. Take all your friends from the States to Old Jaffa and snap a picture on that stupid wishing fucking bridge. Or with the wings at the port. Whatever. You ain’t tough. You ain’t street. Take your tourist ass to Ajami. Or better yet. Take your Meretz voting ass to Davidoff Park in Jaffa Daled. If you survive the junkies and the degenerate criminals you definitely won’t survive a routine procedure at Wolfson hospital.

Ajami Beachfront property
Ajami Beachfront property

8. Abu Cabir. If you know about this neighborhood you are most likely serving time in the penitentiary. Good for you. You’ve either been charged with tax evasion, involuntary manslaughter or some other crime. Very impressive. When you’re done serving your time there’s a great place to get shishlik and kebab at the gas station on the corner of Ben Tzvi and Herzl Streets. Or take your car for it’s annual inspection at the Makhon Hadarom where your car will be probed and prodded while you get yelled at for an hour to TURN YOUR FUCKING STEERING WHEEL! STOP. HIT THE BRAKES! I SAID HIT THE BRAKES! HARDER!!!

December 5 Bus Station 077

9. The “Argazim” Neighborhood. Literally translated it’s the “boxes” neighborhood. In 1992 the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said this wonderful neighborhood of Tel Aviv reminded him of “the Jabalya Refugee camp”. I would take pictures of it but I have way too much to live for.

10. The Ezra neighborhood. Probably the only neighborhood in the whole country to benefit from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. After being hit with a scud missile in the first gulf war (oh, you seem so quaint and avuncular now Saddam compared with those ISIS meshuganas) the whole neighborhood received an extreme makeover. Well, not extreme but better than it was.

Trash at Begin Park
Trash at Begin Park

So the next time a relative or a friend wants you to show him or her the real streets of Tel Aviv forget about Rothschild and HaBima square

The Bima Theater
HaBima Theater Promenade

Take them on an unforgettable tour of the Tel Aviv no one sees.

And if you survive you’ll have one hell of a story to tell at Buddha Burger while you eat your Seitan Burger.

The saddest part about this whole blog is that I couldn’t afford a two bedroom apartment in ANY of these neighborhoods. Not even the refugee camp AKA “Argazim.” Nope. None.

And, I’m guessing, neither could you.

So vote Bibi. Again. That will help.

A bit heavy handed but a political message nonetheless. Torn Israeli flag near a high rise tower for the "Youth"
A bit heavy handed but a political message nonetheless. Torn Israeli flag near a high rise tower for the “Youth”
About the Author
Jason Fredric Gilbert is a film and music video director, published author and acclaimed parallel parker; His Independent Film,"'The Coat Room" won "Best in Fest" at the 2006 Portland Underground Film Festival. He is also the author of two books of screenplays, "Miss Carriage House" and the follow up collection of screenplays "Reclining Nude & The Spirit of Enterprise" He currently lives in Or Yehuda and solves crossword puzzles in the bathroom. Please slap him in the face if you see him.
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