We can't wait to launch iXperience in Tel Aviv! As 2019 will be our inaugural year in the historic city, we've asked some of our more experienced alumni to give us their views on what it's like living, working, exploring, eating, and interning there. Gabriel Low, iX alumni of 2018, describes what a typical day in the 'Miami of the Middle East' looks like, from sunrise jogs, to fireworks at bars.
iX alumni, Gabriel Low, exploring Tel Aviv
From Fall 2015 through Summer 2017, I had the honor of serving in the Israeli Army as a combat infantry soldier. I was stationed all over Israel’s borders and had the unique opportunity to explore a vast majority of the land. I did not, however, have the opportunity at the time to experience Tel Aviv, as most of my excursions were mission-based on the outskirts of Israel. It wasn’t until a summer internship in 2017 at a VC firm that I had the privilege to truly explore Tel Aviv and all it has to offer.
Oreo pancakes for breakfast
Tel Aviv is a nexus of heritage and innovation. Every morning, I had the privilege of running on the Tel Aviv Promenade, admiring the exquisite European architectural ensemble on my left as the sun rose over the Mediterranean on my right. I’d wave emphatically to an upside-down statue of Ben Gurion and reassure him I’d return in just a few short hours. I'd reward myself with tastes of home at the American-style Benedict restaurant, and tuck into their signature Oreo pancakes, complemented by a nutritious fruit smoothie from Jusa nearby. Then it was time to start work.
The allure of Tel Aviv as the financial center and technology hub is indisputable. Israeli companies like Via, Waze, SodaStream, and Mobileye continue to innovate and grow globally in a manner that positively influences citizens all around the world. As an intern, I had the privilege of sitting in on meetings with investors from America, China, and South Africa, who were looking into Israeli startups. Everyone wanted a piece of the Middle Eastern cake and I was the de facto translator for the various nuanced dialects of English. I witnessed firsthand how different interests and expertise are nurtured, cultivated, and encouraged in the Israeli economy. In short, I felt equipped with career experiences in a professional, and safe environment.
Sampling Tel Aviv's cuisine
For lunch, I allotted time to meet local and international friends as we sampled the authentic, and epic Mediterranean cuisine. But more impressive than the food is Israel’s transportation system. It proved to be extremely intuitive and advanced. I felt like I was back in New York! I mastered the bus system instantly and could not believe the accuracy of Moovit–Israel’s transportation app. Within minutes, I successfully travelled from my office to remote restaurants, with the help of Israel’s intricate and efficient bus system. 30-shekel (8.3 USD) business lunch options filled the air as we’d alternate between shakshuka (eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chilli peppers, and onions), shawarma (thin slices of meat prepared on a vertical rotisserie) and falafel meals. Although the locations varied, we always made sure to eat our weight in homemade, rich hummus and artisanal bread before settling our afternoon work obligations. Following a productive workday, I basked in the afternoon sun, engaging in all-out battles of matkot (a popular padel ball game played on the beach) and backgammon with local Tel Avivians.
As the beach cleared out, and the sky darkened, it was time to embrace Tel Aviv’s vibrant night life. Restaurants with ethnic flare and savory specials such as The Old Man and the Sea, as well as Meatos, provided me with adequate sustenance for the night that lay ahead. I set out for bars of any and all kinds: indie vibes bars, dance bars, underground techno bars, wine bars, and “six shekel shot” bars. The adventure culminated in my excursion to Tel’Aviv’s notorious beachside club, Shalvata. Here, I was able to see the melting pot of Tel Aviv converge in one location. Russians, Ethiopians, South Americans, secular Israelis, and more, danced the night away. As I enjoyed the best of Israeli pop music, I could see a custom bottle of Tubi 60, a potent liquor that originates from the northern city of Haifa, served on a boat with firework candles approach from the distance. I poured myself a glass and made a toast to the city that made it all happen.
The opportunity to immerse myself in Tel Aviv’s exceptional and diverse culture for an entire summer was truly one of a kind. I can confidently say that I gave my all I can to the country I love, while also receiving much more in return.
Thank you, Tel Aviv. I look forward to seeing you again soon.