Most cities enjoy long-distance relationships. It is rare that one comes to another. But tomorrow, Tel Aviv comes to London. For British Jews who can’t travel, it is as close as they’ll get to the real thing.
Notwithstanding this week’s 3,000 mile journey, Tel Aviv has come a long way since 11 April 1909, when 66 Jewish families met on a sand dune north of Jaffa to draw lots for land using seashells.
The name of what would later become Israel’s cosmopolitan hub was always meant to symbolise a Jewish renaissance in the ancient homeland: the word ‘aviv’ is Hebrew for spring, meaning renewal.
The city’s coat of arms even includes a quote from the Book of Jeremiah: “I (God) will build you up again and you will be rebuilt.”
So it was.
The city’s residents are still renewing their destiny, still forging their own path into the future. Today’s Tel Aviv hosts the best that the region has to offer in terms of culture, art, food, music, dance, film and theatre, science and technology.
It is also where people can feel comfortable whatever their religion, gender, sexuality, race or ability.
This weekend, amid the inevitable inane anti-Israel protests, we welcome Tel Aviv to London and hope to return the journey one day soon.
In the meantime, it is a pleasure to see this vibrant long-distance relationship continue to blossom.