In the past year, American student Ken Ilgunas has become famous for his pieces in Salon.com and The New York Times. He explains how he completed an MA without becoming mired in debt. For two years he lived in an old van in a distant parking lot at Duke University, cooked his suppers on a gas burner and showered in the campus fitness room. Dark curtains concealed the little apartment he had set up. He later published a book on his experiences, “Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom.”
Back in Israel, one of the main reasons for the 2011 social protest was the high price of real estate, whether buying or renting. And these prices have only gotten higher. But while most Israelis are forced to bear the burden, others are like Ilgunas: They refuse to accept a situation in which they can only dream of buying a home.
One of them is Yossi Tayar, whose lives in a prime area of Tel Aviv only a few meters from the sea. When he wakes up in the morning he’s greeted by the sound of waves. Ordinary people have to pay millions for such a quality of life – but Tayar doesn’t pay a thing. He’s living free of charge in one of the most beautiful places in Israel because his home is a 12-ton truck in a parking lot by the sea. He doesn’t have to pay property tax and has no electricity or water bills. Even the parking is free.
Don’t let the word “truck” fool you; Tayar’s house is a bourgeois dream made of wood and covered by solar panels, a jewel more reminiscent of the compact luxury apartments seen in lifestyle magazines. The interior, which Tayar built himself, includes a work area, a sitting area for guests, a dining area, a small room for his 11-year-old daughter, a small storage area, a fully equipped kitchen and a sleeping area with a full-size double bed. The solar panels provide most of the electricity, and the water comes from an 800-liter container that Tayar fills once every three weeks.
Tayar, who is in his early 50s, has been living in the truck for three years. But it wasn’t poverty that dictated this lifestyle; he’s a successful animator, sculptor and painter. He simply wants his freedom. The project cost NIS 800,000, a quarter of the price of a Tel Aviv apartment by the sea. Now he’s focusing on a more ambitious initiative: launching a community of people living in trucks in a common space.
by Andrew Lee
This time, it was the beautiful Mamluks architecture close to the Cotton Merchant’s Gate. Although I walk through the same road before, and have stopped in from of the same gate, all I did was glance at the Dome of the Rock but ignored the Mamluk architecture surrounding it. I was always in such a rush that I never just stop and take in the beauty of the old city of Jerusalem. The major tourist sites are truly mesmerizing, yet the subtle beauty of Jerusalem, the hidden splendor within the old city was what truly captured my heart. My love for the architecture of Jerusalem really blossomed due to a class on Muslim architecture in Jerusalem and ever since then, everywhere I look, I see in terms of architecture. Especially in the old city, Crusader, Mamluk, Ottoman, all are present in Jerusalem and many of the works are a fusion of older architectural styles. If I came as a tourist I would think I would never have been able to relish it because I would be too preoccupied and rushed. I sat, near the washrooms in the Arab quarter, and just stared at the architecture near the entrance of the washrooms for about half an hour. And every time a group of tourists walked by me, some glared and scowled at me, and some looked around to try to see what I was looking at. Yet, the latter, after a few seconds, gave up and continued to the washrooms. Even after being here in Jerusalem for 10 months, I still feel that I have only scratched the surface of all that Jerusalem has to offer.
The giant Ferris wheel, which has become a popular tourist attraction in London and other cities around the world, is making aliyah and will arrive at the Tel Aviv Port in April 2014.
International company Freij Entertainment, which built the London Eye and the world’s largest mobile rides in Hong Kong, New York, Paris and other cities, will erect the Tel Aviv Ferris wheel as well.
The wheel will be 80 meters (263 feet) tall and will include 42 sealed and air-conditioned passenger capsules, which can hold up to six people each.
In the capsules, passengers will be able to watch videos about the history of the first Hebrew port. Those wishing to upgrade the experience will be able to use one of the wheel’s two VIP compartments and enjoy a meal from one of the port’s restaurants.
“A Ferris wheel is one of those recreational activities which is popular among all people, of every age, and we are excited to be bringing it to the Israeli audience,” says Iris Baratz, CEO of the Otzar Mifalei Yam company, which operates the Tel Aviv Port.
“Shenkar is a very unique school,” says Prof. Yuli Tamir, president of Shenkar College of Engineering and Design (http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/IsraelExperience/Forging_fashion_tradition-Feb_2011…), on introducing a new exhibit about the Ramat Gan-based school.
“It combines art, design and engineering. What is so special about this event is really a lot of people come here to see the state of the art. This is an opportunity to see the beautiful young creative side of Israel, the side we are very proud of. This is Israel at its best.”
Deli Delatore, a graduate of the fashion design school, says, “Shenkar College is the kind of place that pushes you to your limits.”
But in the opinion of teacher Marlin Nowbakht, the creative push comes from the students themselves: “I think Israeli students are very targeted on what they do….They’re pushing the boundaries of their thoughts. They don’t accept every answer as it is. And there is a lot of creativity within that breaking-the-boundaries kind of approach.”
Have you always dreamed of grabbing a hammer and smashing a wall getting in your way? More than 20 years after German citizens tore down the Berlin Wall, the residents of Haifa will have an opportunity to do the same in their own city.
The Haifa Municipality has been trying to expand the city’s promenade for several years now, but an old wall belonging to the Navy’s training base has been disrupting the plans and blocking the view.
According to an agreement reached between the Haifa Municipality and the defense establishment, the Navy will withdraw from the shoreline between the Bat Galim neighborhood and Hof Hashaket (“the serene beach”), allowing the construction of a 5-kilometer (3-mile) esplanade, which will encircle the city’s entire shoreline.
The promenade, which will cost about NIS 40 million ($10.4 million) to complete, will include deck flooring, sitting stairs and benches facing the sea. A bicycle trail is also planned along the promenade, and the municipality is considering a request to build a small bridge under which Navy vessels will pass on their way to the open sea.
As they tried to come up with ways to break down the wall, municipality officials recalled Pink Floyd’s concert tour “The Wall,” which featured a giant wall smashed on stage, and decided to organize a festival in the city focusing on the special event.
The festival, which will likely be held this weekend, will include a performance by a Pink Floyd tribute band, which will perform the song “Another Brick in the Wall” as local residents smash the training base’s wall with hammers.
One of those residents will be Mayor Yona Yahav. “As a national cultural city, we combine all matters of the city, such as the development of infrastructure and tourism, in the cultural issue,” he said Sunday.
“Residents will take an active role in this festival and help make it even more colorful and meaningful.”