12 hours in a city pulsating with life in the face of tragic death.
For nine months of the year, Tel Aviv and Jaffa are warm and sunny. During the hom yuli-august, the “July-August heat,” they are blisteringly hot. Now, however, the summer is finally coming to an end, the first rains have fallen, and the temperatures are, at long last, going down.
As the short autumn and rainy winter approach, Tel Aviv and Jaffa take on their own kind of beauty. The two cities are intimately connected but almost polar opposites. Jaffa is ancient; Tel Aviv is intensely modern. Tel Aviv is predominantly Jewish; Jaffa has a large Arab minority. Tel Aviv is a center of high-tech innovation; Jaffa still lives off the sea, as it has done for centuries.
Tower photographer Aviram Valdman captured the beauty of both cities as he walked from the Tel Aviv port in the north to Jaffa port in the south. Along the way, he saw fishermen, swimmers, bicyclists, Frisbee players, windsurfers, and fellow pedestrians, all grasping at the last moments of summer. Here the sea meets the sand, the ancient meets the modern, and the sun sets over the Mediterranean Sea—a sight that can be seen only in Israel and Lebanon.
Valdman also photographed one of the more tragic aspects of autumn in Tel Aviv: The anniversary of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination. Rabin was killed by a Jewish extremist on November 4, 1995 after a peace rally in Kings of Israel Square. Each year, thousands of people crowd into what is now Rabin Square to remember his life and legacy. This year, 100,000 people turned out to mark the 20th anniversary of the murder, including former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
This singular combination of the splendor of the natural world and human tragedy seems appropriate to Tel Aviv and Jaffa in autumn. They too are a singular combination, and yet they both enjoy a transcendent beauty all their own.
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Banner Photo: Aviram Valdman / The Tower