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Apr 10, 2011

Medinat Tel Aviv Does Not Exist

One of the common pokes at Tel Aviv, is a comment on how disconnected they are from the rest of Israel, how they think themselves better. More sophisticated. More "European", perhaps.

The catchphrase for this is "Medinat Tel Aviv", or "The Country of Tel Aviv". As if to say they are seperate from the rest of us. They have determined a different fate for themselves than what the rest of us can hope and expect.

Well, I am proud, or maybe sorry, to say that Medinat Tel Aviv is really just a figment of our imagination. Or maybe of their imagination.

Tel Avivians are no different, for better or worse, than the rest of us.

On Friday I spent the morning running through Tel Aviv and the environs as a participant in the Tel Aviv Marathon.

While expecting a European level of order and arrangement, and an international level of event planning, the reality was a purely Israeli event in so many ways.

The top ways in which I noticed it are:
  • the high number of participants who did not bother registering for the event but ran in various races anyway. The organizers said there were 19,000 participants among the various events. I don't think that included the unregistered, which would probably bring the numbers up to 35,000. Most of the people I know who ran did so unregistered (I found out later). And the organizers did not care and were not pulling people off.
  • There were many situations that were purely managed by the "Yehiyeh B'Seder" (it will be ok) attitude, such as the "sadranim" (ushers) not knowing where the various tents were, in the pre-marathon preparations, or a few minutes before the starting time the lines for the gear check-in were moving slowly.
  • This is the main one that prompted me to write this post: After the marathon they were totally unprepared for the number of people who actually ran. They did not have enough food to give out, not enough yogurts, they did not give out any popsicles despite the heat (popsicles are pretty standard after marathons). No fruit! No fruit! That is basic. In Tiberias they had crates of pomelo, grapefruit, and oranges. In Jerusalem they had plates and baskets of oranges and apples. In Tel Aviv they had nothing. The only thing they had enough of was water. they were totally unorganized.
So rest assured that Medinat Tel Aviv is just a  figment of someone's imagination, and they are as Israeli as the rest of us.


  1. I'm wondering did you run in the Jerusalem Marathon?
    if yes, was it the same "story"? same kind of issues you wrote about the T.A. one?

  2. Jerusalem was a more difficult run, but a much funner course, a more interesting marathon, with breathtaking views and runs through city neighborhoods. Far more enjoyable.
    And they had popsicles, fruit, yogurts at the end, along with other things. It had things go wrong as well, but overall jerusalem was far better experience overall.

  3. I guess nothing can be perfect but cool that you enjoyed the Jerusalem one even though it was more difficult.
    Way cool that you did 2 marathons so close one to the other!

  4. Is the all food that's provided in the Israeli marathon's that you've done kosher?

  5. so far. excluding Tel Aviv, as they didnt have any by the time I finished....so i dont know about them (though the yogurt for sure was)

  6. Good to know as I might do a half or full marathon in Israel at some point if I can plan a vacation at the same time.


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