Postcard from ... Tel Aviv

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  • a great aticle!

    glad u like this diverse & happening urban center!

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  • what a great holiday Tel Aviv was for me!

    sunny, beautiful and full of action :)

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  • Great Article!!!

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  • Love the way you painted Tel Aviv in such a bright, vibrant and colorful city! I couldn't have captured it better myself!

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  • The comments above a load of twoddle and BS. Think of white phosphorus and the consequences of its use (before going on about all the bightness and color in Tel Aviv)!

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  • Yes, and I am sure that the overly frequent ID checks of local Palestinians add to the 'vibrancy'

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  • Natalie, I suggest you think about how long your passport was kept by Isreali officials when getting in to the country - if it left your sight at anytime then you should contact your national embassy just in case its been cloned. Good luck!

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  • Tel Aviv sounds like other perennially warm 'Cities by the Sea' - think Miami, Rio etc. Full of shallow, suntanned types thinking about their next Botox injection.

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  • To anonymous at 1125am, I suggest you learn to spell Israel (per Isreali). Its typical that so many people have opinions and attitudes about Israel without knowing much about the place, it starts with knowing how to spell the name of the country.
    Falafel boy, at 1125am, if you are a practicing lawyer then offer some pro bono advice for ethnic minorities who suffer under stop and search by the MET police in London if you are that considerate of people who suffer in these circumstances.
    To the other anonymous person on 12 April bringing up Israels war in Gaza, think of how many people were murdered by the British/US/other European armies in aid of oil in the middle east before you even be so critical of another countries policies. Despite how right or wrong they may be..
    This is a nice article, but leave politics off from your sticky keyboards.

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  • Great article, I'm jealous !
    As for the reader comments, its funny but when other similar articles on say China or Saudi appear, there never seems to be anyone pointing out their appalling human rights record, vicious street policing and repression of undesirable religious or sexual affiliation....I wonder why that is ?
    Just a few thoughts : If you think UK secret services haven't cloned passports and liquidated murderous terrorists, you're even more stupid than you already appear
    What is a local Palestinian ? Israeli Arabs enjoy full and equal rights and parliamentary representation. Can the same freedoms be enjoyed in any Arab country ?
    As for "shallow" , everyone, including those ladies does military service.....and have a look at the Tel Aviv high tech sector....I wonder why Microsoft and Buffett invested....those guys must just be dumb !

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  • You must be kidding me. Please get us a postcard from Gaza or at least Ramallah. Real estate confiscation and ethnic cleansing law is very popular these days in Jerusalem and other parts of Palestine. No more Palestinians left in Tel Aviv so all of the lawyers had to move their practices east.

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  • It is with great sadness and dismay that I read this piece. For transparency's sake, I must state that I am a Palestinian. However, this fact neither impacted my feelings whilst reading the article nor my response to it. Laymen and religious zealots may overlook the law, but we as lawyers are obliged not to. For all of its public relations campaigns, Israel cannot wash away the fact that she is in violation of International Law (most notably the pre-emptory norms of self-determination and the acquisition of territory by force), International Humanitarian Law, the laws of war and armed conflict, not to mention is in breach of countless UN resolutions (Security Council and otherwise). Israel seeks to somehow have us overlook these realities and focus rather on the temperate climates that allow one to enjoy their skinny lattes in Tel Aviv's many cafes or the availability of certain chocolates. Heaven forbid we mention that one and a half million Palestinians are slowly being starved in Israel's embargo and complete sealing off of Gaza. Do not waste your concern on them, for Ms. Seef cannot find "salt and vinegar crisps and Cadbury’s cream eggs." Israel should not be allowed to stand with impunity above the law, most definitely not by those of us charged professionally with upholding it. Justice is the essential ingredient to any real peace.
    Noticeably absent from Ms. Seef's writings are the Palestinians. Not unlike Israel's premeditated and calculated ethnic cleansing of historical Palestine, as has now been so clearly embodied in the "IDF's" latest military order, Ms. Seef's depiction of Tel Aviv is completely void of anything Palestinian, or Arab for that matter. Somehow the piece states that it should be acceptable to me and everyone else that she is entitled to go there, work, enjoy the nightlife which is "unsurpassed," all while the Palestinians are being driven out from the residual slivers of their land, and barring very limited exceptions, completely denied from entry to Tel Aviv itself. If that is the case, and I as a Palestinian must (for now) settle only for a postcard from Tel Aviv...I cannot accept that this is the one I get.

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  • Funny, isn't it, that as soon as Israel is mentioned, the holier-than-thou brigade come out to play.
    Why should it be unacceptable to decree (in public, at least) that you are enjoying yourself, living in a country as an expat, without expressing disgust at the regime (which, unlike many other cities to which lawyers get sent, is actually a democracy).
    No doubt those who have felt the need to comment on life in Tel Aviv, will be just as eager to criticise postcards from Dubai, where you can wind up in prison for kissing someone on the cheek in public, postcards from Singapore whose capital and corporal punishment systems are a real delight or postcards from Beijing where you can't find out what's going on in the world because of government censorship.
    I choose not to live in any of these places because I don't approve, but that doesn't mean to say that I can't fathom someone else living there could actually be enjoying herself.
    Give Natalie a break- the article is called "Postcard from Tel Aviv" not "thesis on the rights and wrongs of a state that most readers know pretty little about".

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  • to Aaron I-M
    "To the other anonymous person on 12 April bringing up Israels war in Gaza, think of how many people were murdered by the British/US/other European armies in aid of oil in the middle east before you even be so critical of another countries policies."
    I was under the impression that 2 wrongs don't make a right ... thanks for clearing it up for me though

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  • Very well said RM.
    This article is meant to be a snapshot of what life is like in Israel. Despite what any of the commentors would have us believe, life in Israel (and incidentally, Gaza/ the West Bank) is NOT all about the conflict. There is internal strife, internal joy, mundane activity and a full range of goings-on.
    For those who seem so keen to claim that Tel Aviv is a symbol of the dispossessed (and it is TA that the article is about, not Israel as a whole), you should go back to your history books. TA was established on barren land NOT taken from anyone else.
    Thanks Natalie for sharing your interesting and alluring perspective.

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  • For me Israel is as despicable as Iran so I look forward to a postcard fromTehran.

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  • Was this article ever expected to not attract the Israel/Palestine debate? Bizarre editorial selection for a lawyer's forum.

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  • To Judeh Khamis Bahnan , the Palestinian. You have done well for yourself working as a practicing Lawyer having risen out of the 'refugee camps'. Did you study in Israel? where Arab men and women study freely and study whatever they want, go to Haifa in Israel, prime example.
    Perhaps you can write us all a postcard from Saudi on your next secondment and watch - wait for it - NO ONE will get on the band wagon of slating its human right records or horrendous discrimination record.
    PS. Dont kiss any women in Dubai though, you'll go to jail if you're not married to them.

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  • I happen to know the author, Ms Seeff, personally and I find it laughable that her ethics or articulation on politics be questioned. The opening comment by Judeh Khamis Bahnan is completely misplaced in what is a light-hearted section of this website- ie. to see what our fellow lawyers are up to around the world. If Bahnan still needs more convincing on this point, then the reference to cream eggs and salt and vinegar crisps, that she herself has cited, really should have set the tone, even for her, not angered her about the plight of the Palestinians. Does she really think thelawyer.com briefed Ms Seef with "we would like an elaborate insight into the currentl political situation of the Palestinians and their living situations". I do not.
    Would you get all offended at a travel article in the back of a magasine with a similar tone? If you want to try to show off and/or present yourself as academic and politically-savvy then go to another blog where maybe someone might care!
    Here, we are interested in the interesting journeys of our colleagues around the world- not in treading on egg-shells to not offend you!

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  • Despite all the self-righteous and hypocritical comments from most of the critics of this article (who are so brave to identify themselves), I found it to be lighthearted and well meaning. Not everything written about israel (the only democracy in the Middle East) is hateful. It may come as a shock to such biased detractors, but Israel does offer vibrant and electrifying cosmoplitan centres (such as Tel-Aviv) which not only Israeli Jews can enjoy but also Israeli Arabs (who make up a fifth of its polutation and have equal rights and liberties).
    We could go into a whole debate about the rights and wrongs of the Middle East (at the end of which an objective observer would come to the view that the Palestinains' predicament is as much their doing as anyone's else - if not more) but that would defeat the purpose of this column. If the persons who expend so much negative energy and hate (as some have done on this postcard) would channel and focus that energy into positive acts of reconciliation, what a better - and more lighthearted - world we would have.
    Thanks Natalie for the light humour and colourful description of what I agree is a great place to visit.

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  • L Meister, I couldn't have put it better myself. The point of this 'postcard' is not to offer an opinion on the Arab-Israeli conflict, but to provide an insight in to the writer's experiences as being a lawyer based in Tel Aviv.
    The Arab-Israeli conflict is not black and white. It cannot be reduced down to simply blaming one side or another. Israelis and Palestinians do not all think with one mind. They do not speak with one voice, and they certainly don’t act as one body.
    There are moderates and extremists on both sides of the conflict. Posting incendiary comments on TheLawyer.com doesn't highlight the plight of the Palestinian people or condone Israeli policies in the West bank and Gaza. There is a time and place for debating Middle Eastern politics and this isn't it.

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  • Meister would love for us to buy the vacuous "only democracy in the ME" line - well buddy there was also a democracy in Europe which caused much damage to humanity. You should try to talk sense into your settler friends who want to cleanse the occupied lands. Once you achieve that then you will have the right to preach.

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  • L Meister continues to live in his make belief world - genocide and ethnic cleansing cannot be justified on the basis that Israel is a "democracy". Israel cannot claim its a civilised nation until it stops the occupation and allows Palestinians the right to basic utilities and food imports.
    You cannot expect to promote Tel Aviv without also accepting the crimes being committed on a daily basis by Israel.

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  • I can't wait for Postcard from...Belfast

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  • As a little aside to my earlier point: actually, if anything, lawyers in Israel play a very important role in highlighting human rights issues and in pursuing them in the courts. The Israeli Supereme Court very often challenges Israeli government decisions.
    So to the "haters" - perhaps you could actually be more constructive and support a legal community which often goes to great lengths to support a cause you believe in.
    That said, I also want to re-iterate that this article is NOT about the political situation, nor is it about "lawyering" in TA per se. It is merely about how one particular lawyer feels about living there.

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  • Obviously missing Cadbury's Creme Eggs so much that they have become "cream" eggs in her tortured mind...

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  • Natalie, this is a great article, thank you! Finally something positive on Israel. What a change from all the negative we usually read when it comes to Israel.If the people who wrote the negative comments had visited Israel, they would actually understand how different the reality is there from the views that anti-Israeli or pro-Palestinian groups try to promote!
    Yes Israel is a democracy, yes, Tel Aviv is a great city, one where Arab and Jewish families have barbecues next to each others on the see front during the weekend ... so much for the cleansing some are mentionning.
    I don't want to enter in a political debate as this is not the forum for. I just want to say that this a fine article but you probably need to be open-minded and and not too stupid to understand it!!

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  • This is an article about a lawyers experience in Israel, not a political debate on Israel. Its like talking to a wall sometimes, the middle east is populated by authoritarian regimes with appalling human rights records. Israel is home to at least 80 human rights organisations, a vibrant free press, a democratically elected government (with Arab, openly gay MP's), a judiciary that frequently rules against the government, a politically active academia, multiple political parties and probably more journalists per capita than any other country in the world.
    On the other hand, the Iranian regime, and most Arab regimes, remained brutal, closed and autocratic, permitting little or no internal dissent.
    the UN could be greatly beneficial to citizens of those countries, but they were instead being ignored as report after report on Israel is compiled and you all swallow it like everyone else down at the student union.
    Its really just fashionable nonsense to criticisize Israel..

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  • Paddy and Henry G are seemingly the same people? judging by the timings, grammar and opinion. I would also go as far to say that he is also Sean Fein that returned later to see if he had any replies.
    This method of blogging is just to make out that ones particular opinion is very popular with others.. just saying... get a life..

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  • Natalie, thanks for a great piece. You've described Tel-Aviv as it is and have evoked the spirit of the city.

    To the sneerers (the 'cadbury's egg' comment is one example) and the other bitter armchair warriors: Let's see you write similar hateful comments about other countries who are in a state of war. Oh, I forgot...these standards (double?) only apply to Israel.

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  • Interesting article - I've heard good reports from friends visiting Tel Aviv and would like to visit, the nightlife being a drawcard!
    On the political note, its hard to avoid the fact that Israel let's itself down. As a country born from oppression of its people, its a shame it has not 'treated others as it wanted to be treated itself'. Yes some ME regimes are despicable (see comments on Postcard from Riyadh). However, Israel's policies in Gaza and the West Bank are disgraceful - just because Israel has democracy unlike most ME countries is irrelevant to this fact. The admirable Menachem Begin, former terrorist (against the British), President of Israel and then Nobel Peace Prize winner, said he had no doubt that Israel would be judged "by its treatment of the Palestinians" - with the siege of Gaza, the illegal colonisation of the West Bank, the building of 'the wall', the continued occupation of foreign lands and disregard for international law including basic human rights.... perhaps 'apartheid' is a suitable description?

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  • This is an excellent article.
    Reading the comments on your piece from others, it is a shame that some people seem incapable of distinguishing their one dimensional political views from Natalie's personal reflection on the city where she works.
    It is undoubtedly their loss.

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  • Sounds like a nice place but there's no getting away from the (sad) reality that the country in which it's located is guilty of crimes against humanity.

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  • Peter, do yourself a favour and actually don't visit Tel-Aviv, there's a good chap. you might bump into some people who recall how, after 1939, the British refused to let Jews escaping from the Nazis into Palestine. And your comment about how other countries' (presumably Arab) lack of democracy and Human Rights gives them some 'get out of jail card' is rank hypocrisy.

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  • Anonymous@7.03 pm: After the Iraqi and Afghan wars, I presume that you won't be visiting the UK very soon, then!

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  • Great article, great country.
    Why is it whenever there is an article about Israel vitriolic comments appear - "genocide" "apartheid".
    Israel is a small country surrounded by enemies that question its fundamental right to exist (Iran/Hamas and others). It is is a democracy struggling to resolve a complex political issue. Most Israeli's accept there has to be a fair and just resolution of the Palestinian issue but as in most democracies getting a consensus is not easy.
    The vitriol does not help. A more considered (lawyerly) approach to the issue would go a long way.

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  • Anyone with a brain and a conscience can discern that Israel is a complicated place with a dramatic history. At times, Israel as a state is deserving of criticism, as is any other state in the world.
    I am alarmed, however, at the unrestrained venom that many of the comments here express. As much as I am reluctant to equate anti-Israel rhetoric with anti-Jewish racism, I can only conclude that much of the unsubstantiated vitriol levelled against Israel by readers of the article is motivated by prejudice and bigotry.
    I fail to understand how it is relevant or proportionate to unleash a hail of hate against Israel upon reading a light hearted commentary on a vibrant Mediterranean city.

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  • It sounds great. I'm sure the newly-orphaned children growing up in the Gaza slums would love to live in such a land of opportunity!
    The point is, no one is denying what a fun place it might be to visit, but try not to be seduced by the bright lights.

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  • I daren't make any negative statement against Israel for fear of being crucified. You can't justify evil acts against others on the basis that they have been perpetrated on people like you in the past.

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  • I spent a couple of months at Heskia Hacmun Law Firm and it was realy great. Really recommended for interns.

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  • I'm so lucky to have met this adorable person called Natalie through my time in TLV.

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