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A day of fancy dress and mini carnivals, Purim commemorates events in ancient Persia, in which an attempt to kill the Jews was decisively overturned. The story is told in the Book of Esther, still read in synagogues on this day. Celebrations involve giving gifts and all manner of zaniness, including cross-dressing. This is the one day of the year on which religious Jews are encouraged to get drunk and act the fool.

Date: 09 March 2020 - 10 March 2020
Venue: Throughout the city.


Pesach (Passover)

The year’s biggest Jewish festival, Pesach, starts with 'Seder Night,' a festive meal when friends and family get together to read through the story of the Exodus and eat ritual foods. Nothing 'leavened' is allowed all week, including bread and beer. The first and last days are national holidays, so many shops and business are shut.

Date: 08 April 2020 - 16 April 2020
Venue: Throughout the city.


Israel Independence Day (“Yom Ha’atzmaut”)

Israel Independence Day, or Yom Ha’atzmaut, celebrates the declaration of the State of Israel with concerts and picnics. Grand official events are broadcast live and a big fireworks display explodes over Rabin Square. It is also a convivial occasion for family and friends to party together. Expect to see plenty of blue-and-white decorations everywhere. The day before is the sombre Yom Hazikaron, in memory of fallen Israeli soldiers and victims of terrorist attacks.

Date: 09 May 2020 - 09 May 2020
Venue: Throughout the city.


Tel Aviv Pride

Israel's biggest, loudest and most ostentatious gay celebration rivals any in the entire world. As the locals say: Tel Aviv doesn’t have a gay neighbourhood, because the gay population is widespread. Officially opened by the mayor of Tel Aviv, this huge parade of brilliant colour, exuberance, noise and raunchy costume (plus plenty of bare flesh) winds through city centre streets and down to the beach in celebration of sexual freedom.

Date: 07 June 2020 - 13 June 2020
Venue: Centre city and waterfront.


Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)

Israel’s two-day New Year celebration is a family holiday complete with gift giving. The year starts with a festive evening meal, followed, for many, by synagogue in the morning. ‘Sweetness’ is a running theme through the holiday and key foods include apples in honey and honey cake. In Tel Aviv, many shops and restaurants remain open throughout the holiday.

Date: 18 September 2020 - 20 September 2020


Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles)

For one week, locals erect colourful little shelters called sukkot. These outdoor huts supposedly recall the simple shelters erected by Jews in the desert after the exodus from Egypt. Some are big, some tiny, and it’s a religious commandment that Jews should ‘dwell’ in their sukkah. That’s usually taken to mean eating and relaxing in it, though some people do sleep in them. Tel Aviv’s sukkahs host a series of cool events featuring art, music and sports around the city.

Date: 02 October 2020 - 09 October 2020
Venue: Throughout the city.


Hanukkah (Festival of Lights)

In homes, workplaces and in the street, hanukkiot candelabras are lit in the evening with one extra candle each night for a week. Hanukkah (also spelt Chanucah) is sometimes compared to Christmas, but Hanukkah is relatively uncommercial. It’s a happy, child-oriented time with low-key gift-giving, traditional games, traditional songs and traditional foods, especially latkes (fried potato patties) and suvganiot (sugar doughnuts).

Date: 22 December 2020 - 30 December 2020
Venue: Throughout the city.


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Featured Hotels



The longest standing of Tel Aviv’s upmarket beachfront hotels, the Dan's unusual low-rise building and colourful exterior (on the beach side) makes an interesting change to the identikit high-rises that surrounds it. However, because of its age, some rooms seem to be at a lower standard than the price and reputation suggest.

The Diaghilev

This is a hotel where art takes centre stage. The décor combines white walls with bright furniture and even brighter artworks, all of which are for sale. Rooms are pleasant and comfortable and there's a restaurant serving excellent local fare on site. All the city centre attractions are close by.

Cinema Hotel

Formerly a Bauhaus cinema, this stylish little hotel is right in the city centre, just off Dizengoff Square. The comfortable, attractively furnished rooms have plenty of amenities, among them a fridge, beach towels and free Wi-Fi, and there’s a free sauna, rooftop terrace and business lounge too.

The Beachfront Hostel

A basic combination of hostel and hotel, The Beachfront is a little shabby and has amenities that some may find inadequate, particularly the dormitory-style rooms. But there’s hardly anywhere cheaper to stay in Tel Aviv, and it’s right on the beach. Breakfast is not included, but is offered at a restaurant next door.

David InterContinental

A gargantuan 5-star hotel, much of the David InterContinental’s clientele are here for business, but don’t let that put you off – a night spent here feels surprisingly intimate. Just across the road from Charles Clore Park and the beach, it’s a few minutes’ walk from Carmel Market and the Yemenite Quarter. Good value, apart from expensive Wi-Fi.

The Rothschild

Housed within a gorgeous, buttercup yellow building that’s almost as old as Israel itself, The Rothschild is a real sanctuary thanks to its tranquil courtyard and sympathetic décor. Service is top quality, as is the food served in the restaurant. Elsewhere, the emphasis is on natural – including the toiletries.