“Cool” Tel Aviv proudly boasts of citizens’ role in brutal Israeli occupation army

A city-sponsored ad in Tel Aviv boasts of the high participation rate of city youth in the Israeli army.

The Electronic Intifada

The city of Tel Aviv has become one of the main “products” Israel tries to sell internationally to soften its image as an apartheid state that brutally occupies millions of Palestinians.

A QR code on bus shelter ads leads to downloadable images of the posters.

Tel Aviv is marketed as a cool destination of culture, care-free fun and gay life, especially to counter the growing international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign.

But at home the Tel Aviv municipality is proud to trumpet the city’s contributions to the very same occupation and war crimes that its friendly image is used to obscure in international Brand Israel propaganda.

One ad sponsored by the municipality currently appears on bus shelters and boasts that the “IDF enlistment rate from Tel Aviv city schools is 91% for girls and 92% for boys.” The online version of the ad also brags that Tel Aviv is the city with the largest number of career officers in the Israeli army.

The photo at top was shot by an activist on Ibn-Gvirol street, between the City Hall and the ethnically cleansed Palestinian village of Sumail, which is now subsumed by Tel Aviv.

Another city-sponsored ad highlights Tel Aviv’s facilities for dogs

In effect, the poster expresses pride in the high participation of city youths in the brigades that blockade and shell Gaza, occupy the West Bank, hold up ambulances and pregnant women at checkpoints, stand guard as bulldozers destroy homes and confiscate land, and carry out night raids pulling Palestinian children from their beds, or just shooting them with impunity.

It can also be read as a dig at Jerusalem, which has a much higher religious population, and likely a lower enlistment rate.

The poster is part of a campaign called “Did you know?” that highlights different aspects of the city. Another ad boasts, “In Tel-Aviv-Jaffa there are approximately 50 dog parks, used by more than 20,000 dogs.”

There is, however, no poster saying that Sudanese refugees or native Palestinians are welcome in Tel Aviv. That’s just not part of the image the city is trying to project.

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Did you know Israel's settlements are unanimously declared illegal by all applicable UN resolutions, international law statutes and human rights conventions?

Did you know that 192 of 193 UN member states (or 99.5%) condemn Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian and Syrian land?

Did you know Israel uses Jewish settler families as human shields by placing them in subsidised settlements deep inside occupied enemy territory?

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To express pride in participating in military operations which have devastated, de-moralized, and de-humanized the indigenous, defenseless Palestinian people, is to confess one's own moral bankruptcy. We should be praying as hard for the safety and welfare of the Israelis as for the Palestinians. Harder. For they alone face the judgement: "You alone have I chosen, Israel. Therefore, you alone willI punish". ( The Book of Amos )

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.