By: Benji Lovitt
2011, we hardly knew ye. It seems like just yesterday we were wrapping up 2010. While there’s always a tiny bit of nostalgic sadness with putting the wraps on another year, here at Size Doesn’t Matter, we’re proud to have borne witness to another pretty sweet year in Israel.
Narrowing down all the parties, events, news headlines, and innovations to a tidy, little Top 10 was pretty tough but we tried, made easier by efforts to spread the love across a variety of categories, showing some of the cool stuff going down in the Middle East’s most vibrant, diverse, and progressive society.
Well, obviously! Have you been to Tel Aviv? Maybe Community Marketing, Inc., the body who put the rankings together only noticed in January, but Tel Aviv oozes sexuality as much as any city we’ve ever been to and the massive LGBTQ community is a big part of that. If you’ve never been to the TA pride parade, put it on your bucket list, like NOW.
For years, we’ve been hearing about Better Place, Shai Agassi’s company which may alter the world as we know it with their electric powered cars. Goodbye, environment-killing oil from certain countries which will remain nameless…hello, batteries!
This game-changer has to start somewhere and in March, it started with the unveiling of the first car-charging station. Just five minutes of plugging in and you’re good to go. Take that, cell phones!
Groan if you want; we get it. But any way you slice it, Justin Bieber is about the biggest thing in the music world these days (and, hey, he’s Canadian, too). When he performed in Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park in April, it simply took the number of high-profile concerts to another level. 2011 also brought Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, and many other legends and 2012 looks to be even bigger with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and rumors of the Material Girl herself, Madonna.
Fight Club, it’s not, but whereas one isn’t talked about, the Maccabi Jerusalem Boxing Club is proud to open its doors for all to behold. When we profiled Gershon Luxemburg’s 30 year old club back in March, we were impressed to learn that it might just be the only place in the world where Jews and Arabs can come together to fight in peace. Uniting these Middle Easterners from different backgrounds, the boxing club unites these two peoples not out of hatred, but of a shared love for the sport. If these fighters can get along, can’t we all?
This one comes with both good and bad news. The bad news is that US-based Standard & Poor downgraded US-backed bonds to AA+ for the first time since the early 20th century. The good news is that in August, Israel’s rating forecast remained “solid”, on the heels of Moody’s reaffirming Israel’s credit rating at the strong A1 level. Putting aside the United States’ economic state, we’re happy to see the Israeli economy plowing ahead, business as usual, even while economic turmoil continues around the world. They don’t call Israel the “Start-Up Nation” for nothing.
The Dead Sea Scrolls. They contain the oldest known surviving copies of Biblical and extra-biblical documents. Holy cow, they sound like something out of an Indiana Jones movie. First discovered in the late 1940s and early 1950s, these ancient texts can, as of September, now be viewed online, thanks to the Israel Museum where they’re housed and Google technology. If it wasn’t crazy enough that texts from the time of Jesus still exist today, can we agree that the idea that they can now be accessed by anyone with an internet connection is simply mind-boggling? I think my head just exploded.
With Shelly Yachimovich winning the leadership of the Labor party in September, two of Israel’s biggest political parties are now headed by women (joining Kadima’s Tzipi Livni). Can we all agree that this is pretty cool or does it require explanation? Seriously, guys, watch your backs. Men have ruled the world for millions of years. Maybe it’s time to turn it over to the ladies?
This isn’t a political site so don’t think we’re about to start now. But regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, watching a young man return home in October to see his parents for the first time in over five years will put your tear ducts into action. The biggest day in Israel in years.
After hearing of the recent audacity by the United States Congress to call pizza a “vegetable” in school lunchrooms across the country, this one had to make the list. In November, the Israeli cabinet proposed an anti-obesity program costing over a quarter of a billion shekels to promote healthy living. Hey, nobody said looking fit in a Mediterranean oasis nation was easy. When the waistlines of countries across the world are expanding faster than you can say “McDonald’s”, this was a breath of fresh (and slimming) air.
December. Conan. Clare. Partying. TEL AVIV. Questions?