Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Israel – CCCIII. A Return Visit (18 of 19)


Its Hebrew name is Yaffo, and that is the name I will use for I have many memories attached to this name.

If you missed history, don’t worry, we’re back again!  Yaffo goes back many millennium.

Tel Aviv in its infancy used to be a suburb of Yaffo, the young sister to a hostile older sister.  Now the roles have been reversed except that there are no longer any friction between Tel Aviv and its suburb Yaffo.

The centrepiece of Yaffo is Kedumim Square where an archeological dig reveals 3rd century BCE catacombs; the site has been converted into a visitor centre that includes a lively illustrated description of Yaffo’s history.  Tiny alleys branching from Kedumim Square will take you to the fishing port and some unusual stores.

The origin of the name is unclear; it may have been named after Japhet (Noah’s son), who built it after the flood; a more realistic explanation is that it’s derived from the Hebrew word Yaffa (beautiful in the feminine).

Originally a Phoenician city, Yaffo has been a thriving port for 4,000 years.  It was first conquered by the Egyptians, followed by the Philistines.  Joshua is said to have assigned the city to the tribe of Dan, but they weren’t able to take control.

In the 4th century BCE it was the turn of Alexander the Great to conquer the city, followed by the Seulecid rule and the (Jewish) Hasmonean.  Rome, the Arabs, the Crusaders, and the Ottomans were next.  In 1917, the British general Allenby took Yaffo from the Turks.

Clashes between the Arabs and the Jews were numerous and bitter; there were serious anti-Jewish riots in 1929, 1936, and 1939.  In the 1948 war there was intense fighting to conquer the city; the Irgun spilled blood and guts, but were able to keep Tel Aviv – Yaffo in the Jewish fold; after the victory, most of the Arab population fled.  (Enough Arabs remained though to give Yaffo its special atmosphere, and restaurants where you can enjoy some of the best Middle-Eastern fare in the world.  And that`s no exaggeration, the best food I have had during my years in Israel, and thereafter, was in Yaffo).

There are a few sights in Yaffo worth seeing, but we saw the aforementioned archaeological excavation at Kedumim Square.

Needless to say we had our lunch in Yaffo.  The restaurant chosen was Margaret Tayar.  Since you only have one life to live, a meal there is a must.  We had very good and fresh fish which was served with North African salads, hummus, and a unique spicy fish sauce (there are more than one and you select the one you prefer).  And that`s not all, the setting if you dine outdoors allows you to be look directly at the Tel Aviv coastline.

We must have been very efficient for Zouki informed me that we had the time to visit more places around Tel Aviv.  I picked Rishon Le-Tzion and Rehovot.

Rishon Le-Tzion

The name means First to Zion, and that is indeed the place where the first Aliya took place.  The year was 1882, and the first settlers were 17 Russian and Rumanian families; the place where they first pitched their three tents was a dusty and desolate hill that is now called Founders`Square.  And from a handful of people, you now have a city of 230,000; a place where civic pride reigns supreme.  Rishon is a clean city with unique residential areas, beaches, cultural and artistic institutions, shopping centres, and so much more.  You don`t, however, come to Rishon only to see the spot where it all began; you`re no doubt here to visit the Baron Edmund de Rothschild`s Carmel Winery.

We had the time to visit one place only and, of course, we selected the Carmel Winery.  The interesting part was an audio visual show which showed us the wine making process from grapes to wine.  Our tickets entitled us to sample two wines for free; another option was to sample more wines for an extra fee; we didn`t take them up on either offers!  There was also a Rishon Le-Tzion Museum (included in the price) but we didn`t have time to tour it.


The name means Expanses and it comes from Genesis 26:22.  It was founded in 1890 by Polish Jews.  And from that humble beginning, you now have a world renowned city of 116,000 people.

You come to Rehovot to see the Weizmann Institute of Science.  We took the tour, and watched a special documentary movie.  A visit to the institute is to apprise you on the scientific work presently carried out.  After all those years, I no longer remember the projects mentioned by the guide; I do recollect though that we were told that research is not carried out in isolation; there is collaboration with scientists all over the world.

The grounds were carefully landscaped and irrigated; beauty and peace emanate from the whole place which includes Weizmann`s house and his grave.

Dr. Chaim Weizmann was a research chemist who found a new way to produce acetone during WWI; and this greatly helped the British war effort.  The recognition given to Dr. Weizmann in turn played a role in the 1917 Balfour Declaration which called for a Jewish National Homeland

Dr. Weizmann was Israel`s first president, and was instrumental in developing the institution that bears his name.

We were urged to at least go to one more place:  The Ayalon Institute at Givat Hakibbutzim, Kiriat Hamada.  This place used to be the largest munitions factory, and it operated clandestinely from 1945 – 1948.  The openings to this place were camouflaged by a bakery and laundry.  Today, you`ll find at this location a museum which we were unable to visit for it had closed for the day.

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