The time has come to reveal a deeply hidden secret that has been covered up since the country's earliest days: Why do Tel Avivians choose to live in Tel Aviv instead of Jerusalem? It's not because Tel Aviv is such a great business center, and it's not because of all the free-time and leisure activities. And, no, it's not because of the security situation.
These are all good reasons, but they are not the main one. I'll let you in on a big secret. We prefer Tel Aviv because Jerusalem has no beach. And no, I don't mean the lack of sunbathers or people playing paddle ball (and certainly not the jellyfish).
Natural, artificial light
When Tel Avivians travel to Jerusalem, they feel a sense of awe. Some would even say holiness, that the city does "something" to them. They even love Jerusalem. How could they not? For Tel Avivians, Jerusalem feels a little like walking into a synagogue. But a synagogue is a place to do soul searching, to purify oneself, to strive for new heights. It's not a place to live. For the Tel Avivian, life is outside, in the open spaces.
Tel Avivians need their beach and their open spaces in order to feel free. Free to do business, free to live their lives. Therefore, they leave Jerusalem to build their homes and businesses in Tel Aviv. Jerusalem is left in the background, protracting rays of light from afar. In the meanwhile, Tel Aviv makes due with the light from the Azrieli Towers, but deep down, those who are honest with themselves know there is a difference between natural and artificial light.
Sound of silence
People who visit Tel Aviv discover that it really is a city that never sleeps: People are always working, always out enjoying themselves, always moving. Things are always moving, such that there is never a break to look in the mirror, to think, to soul-search.
But true Tel Avivians know that for all the noise, for the huge array of sounds to be heard in this great city, the strongest sound of all is created by stopping. It is the silence to be heard in Tel Aviv on Yom Kippur.
This silence penetrates our hearts, and shows us that this old, noisy city knows that the source of all the "doing" in Tel Aviv is there, at the source of purity, in awe of the holy.
Under this cover of secularism, Tel Aviv has a deep connection to Jerusalem. It is no coincidence that Israel's Route 1 runs connects Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and Tel Aviv back to Jerusalem, as if to remind us all that the terrific creativity, the industry and activity in Tel Aviv must draw its life force from Jerusalem, the source of holiness.
So, for me, Tel Aviv is the beach. It is the waves, and the creative energy that fuels a hopping music, theater and arts scene. It is the business world, the hi-tech parks, the culture stages and health clubs, and the tremendous future of this city, if it knows to draw its energy from the wellspring of holiness.
Because Tel Aviv to me is also huge, desolate synagogue, and the bad energy of foreign culture that is trying to enter this huge vacuum that was created by the lack of purity of holiness, by the lack of soul. Tel Aviv is my home. And my home is waiting for some original Jewish-Israeli content. From Jerusalem.
Amir Berger is a member of the Ma’aleh Eliyahu yeshiva in Tel Aviv