Urban camping with a Tel Avivan twist, summer '11
Despite the magnitude of the protests, it's important to remember that they are completely different from those that have rocked the Middle East in the past several months. What Israel is experiencing this summer is a wave of peaceful protests that are more social than political in nature. Government stability is not in question, and there is minimal impact for travelers.
The one notable exception is along Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard, the famous thoroughfare of Bauhaus architecture and epicenter of the city's 24-hour cafe culture. For weeks now the promenade down its middle has been the scene of hundreds of tents pitched by young people who are demanding more reasonable housing costs. For visitors, the atmosphere is electric: every few blocks, there's a different musical act, or poetry reading, or -- yes -- fruit juice stand to shake things up a bit.
Tel Aviv, Ibn Gabirol Blvd at night
If you're looking to save money on a hotel in Jerusalem, it's fun to stay at the YMCA -- literally. For as little as $152 a night (a bargain in Jerusalem), you can stay within walking distance of the Old City in a dramatic building designed by the same architects who built the Empire State Building. Or, stay in a former convent.
Beat the high cost of Tel Aviv hotels by renting a furnished apartment. There's always value in Israel, as long as you know where to book.