Europe / Israel / Tel Aviv
Salsa in Israel. This ancient land is as exciting as the many stories it tells. It is the land of Abraham father to Isaac and his half brother Ishmael the patriarchs of the Arabs and the Jewish people. Patriarchs born of Sarah and Hagar. It is the land of Jesus and his many stories. It is the land where all three groups claim Jerusalem as holy.
For the Jewish it is because of King David, King Salomon, the two temples, the tomb of King David and the Western Wall. The Muslims regard it as the place from where the prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven in the birthplace of Christ, the via dolorosa and the cruciction. Each group has a “gate”. Why even the hamburger chain McDonalds seems to have gotten their “golden arcs” from one of the gates.
At 71 years of age, Israel is one of the youngest countries in the world. Needless to say the country is deeply divided, with serious challenges facing its leaders. A majority is required to govern effectively. While 80 % is said to be secular (non-religious ethnic) and 16% ultra-orthodox, the ultra-orthodox control the swing vote. To be Jewish you must be born of a Jewish mother, or converting. Around 500,000 Latinos are Jewish citizens.
This is around 5% in a country of 8.5 million people. The population is very diverse. Listening to people talk, at times I felt that I was in Russia. The migration from the former USSR comprised for over a million immigrants. The Roman Empire could not afford rebellion in Judea as it was the crossroads between Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Massada is the conformation of the determination to be a free people.
Ultra orthodox 16%
As a new nation the argument that tradition, culture and religion had to be nurtured and recaptured was presented by the ultra-orthodox. As its first Prime Minister it is said that David Ben-Gurion gave some 50 persons a waiver from obligatory military service. Much to the displeasure of many seculars, the ultra-orthodox have since grown in numbers and receive government assistance so that they are free to do nothing else than to study. However with the control of their swing vote, the ultra-orthodox continue to be exempt from obligations. After finishing mandatory school, all citizens must render military service, two years for the women and three years for the men.
Although the official capital is Jerusalem, the modern city is TelAviv, followed by its Port City of Haifa. The Tel Aviv nightlife goes way beyond 2 a.m. The city is very modern, and everything seems to work right on schedule.
The architecture speaks of free growing ideas
Diverse migration is accompanied with the cuisine of the immigrants. As a result, Tel Aviv boasts of a wonderful variety of cuisine.
The women walk the streets in the wee hours of the night without a care, which speaks of the public safety. Tel Aviv was voted “friendliest gay city in the world.” It is said that the annual gay pride parade was attended by more than 250,000.
250,000 people attend the LGBT community friendly parade
When visiting Bethlehem, the church of the Nativity, West Wall, and tomb of King David, you have to enter into Palestinian controlled territory. Our Israeli tour guide explained that they had entered into an agreement of cooperation with the Palestinian tour guides
Palestinian tour guides
An Israeli bus took us to the border and we then transferred to a Palestinian tour bus. The Palestinian tour guide took over and gave us our tour, a visit to their gift shop and then returned us to the border where the Israeli bus and guide were awaiting for us.
For those of you who are always looking for a place to go dance Salsa, our recommendations are two places only, Salsa Carlos and Havana Club.
Havana Club caters to those new salsa dancers with a large main floor and three or four side rooms for specialties like Bachata, Cumbia, etc. For those of you looking to find a more Latino place, then “El Propio” is Salsa Carlos.
What got you going in Salsa? Carlos says that he grew up hearing Salsa in Cali. It runs in his blood and his heroes were El Gran Combo, Los Hermanos Lebron and Beny More. Even the bell in grammar school to signal recess, played in Salsa. In Israel some Colombian friends asked him to organize a Salsa event and it was successful. To his knowledge, he is the first person to introduce Salsa in Israel. Since then Carlos has been organizing events in Tel Aviv at places like the “Old Port”. Apart from special events, he holds every Friday night at 11:30 pm, Salsa Carlos at Carlbach 3, Tel Aviv. He is accompanied by DJ Manuel.