Thursday, October 13, 2011


On a very hot day, if you happen to be in a city which can offer you a view of some snow covered mountain (like Granada, with its Sierra Nevada mountains) or a city offering you a view of the sea (like Tel Aviv with its Mediterranean sea) , then chances are you'll psychologically and even physically feel a little better, cooler.

The other day I had some business to attend to on Geula street in Tel Aviv. It was hot and humid, but as I entered the street and saw the sea at the other end of it I felt as if the sea breeze was reaching and caressing me. It was all I needed at that moment.


This street is placed between two very long, parallel streets: a central, commercial, busy street (Allenby street) and the beach street with its big hotels (Hayarkon street) that runs parallel to the sea. It has a mixture of old, new, and renovated buildings , some shops, and two four-star hotels :Abratel and Savoy.

old building at Allenby-Geula corner

Geula street ('Geula' meaning Redemption) has a story which revolves around a former small hotel named Savoy, located at a very short distance from the beach. In 1975 a group of terrorists came by sea, at night, and took control of the hotel, its guests and staff. A counter-terrorism unit was sent to the place. The terrorists were killed and one taken prisoner, but there were also eleven victims in the action: seven guests, the porter of the hotel, and three soldiers, one of them a highly ranked officer .

In 2008, a brand new four-star hotel was built on the place of the old one. Its front bears a plaque which tells the above story mentioning the names of the victims.

Savoy new four-star hotel

entrance to Savoy hotel

commemorative plaque


  1. Perhaps a new hotel on the spot where tragedy occurred will help keep the memories alive of the innocents lost in the terrible event. Like a Phoenix arriving from ashes...I love to see the ocean and always feel so much better after seeing it or taking a walk near it.

  2. In the midst of turmoil and unsettlement, isn't it amazin' how the sound of an ocean and the whiff of a salty breeze can calm the soul?

    It's great that a new building has arose where such a tragic event occurred.

    I used to spend summers with my Grandmother in Albuquerque New Mexico. It's a town surrounded by the Sandia Mountains where you could see the snow on the crest in the summertime. :o)

    God bless your day sweet Duta!!!

    BTW: Tremendous story as usual.

  3. There is just something calming and soothing about the ocean that calls to our souls.

    I was wondering DUTA if the street being named Redemption was renamed when the new hotel was put up or was it alway that name? The name of the streets seems very fitting considering the history there.

  4. I continue to remain fascinated by your world, Duta. And you are right about being near the sea or mountains. We are near the Pyrenees, and psychologically they give me an enormous lift just by having them nearby.

  5. I would like to change climate -here is getting colder and colder:)

  6. What you shared about psychologial cooling is so true. Sometimes, when I feel the heat, I close my eyes and imagine ice and cool breeze.

    Again you continue to enthrall us with your informative stories.

    Thanks DUTA.

    Joy always,

    P. S: Is Duta your real name? What does it mean? In India, the East of India, the surname Dutta is quite common.

  7. The sea always calm!
    Great city and the history of the hotel,Duta!
    Many greetings

  8. Thanks for the sea view and the story. It's been a long time since a sea breeze has reached me. I'm missing it today.

  9. Cheryl,

    Beautifully put: "like a Phoenix arriving from ashes..".


    I totally agree with you, in that the sight of the big body of water and the feel of the breeze can do wonders to our soul.


    The street's name has always been 'Geula' (Redemption). Of course, after the tragic incident, the name got a lot of significance.


    "fascinated" - that's quite a word. Thanks. Lucky you to live near the Pyrenees!

  10. Ola,

    I too prefer the warm climate, but there are days here which are quite insupportable because of the heat and high humidity.

    Susan Deborah,

    Yes, psychology plays an important role in our lives.

    As for the name Duta - it's what I'm called by friends and family, but not my official name in the ID.
    It so happened that as a child I couldn't pronounce my first name , and what came out of my little mouth was the word 'Duta'. So it stayed with me till this day.


    I suppose the sea was calm when the ship with the terrorists sailed on it. However, everything got pretty 'stormy' after their taking over the hotel.

    JoLynne Lyon,

    You're welcome. I'm a great lover of the sea breeze; unfortunately I don't live near the sea.

  11. This post, as I understand it, is about the irony that inspiring land and seascapes, and peaceful city streets, may abide where unspeakable acts of suffering once occurred. It reminds me of Sara Teasdale's poem:

    There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
    And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
    And frogs in the pool singing at night,
    And wild plum trees in tremulous white;

    Robins will wear their feathery fire,
    Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

    And not one will know of the war, not one
    Will care at last when it is done.

    Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
    If mankind perished utterly;

    And Spring herself when she woke at dawn
    Would scarcely know that we were gone.

  12. To look at the city and the sea, everything seems peaceful and serene. The peaceful calm is a direct contradiction to all of the tragedy that has occurred there.

    I'd love, someday, to see the Mediterranean Sea. The entire eastern border of Wisconsin is Lake Michigan, and it's stunning. I can imagine that the Mediterranean is even more so. Tel Aviv looks very urban and dense. What a beautiful area of the world in which to live.

    Thanks, once again, Duta, for the interesting and historical monologue.

  13. Hi Duta,
    You commented on my blog that nature is ambivalent, being sometimes menacing and others calming. I would say that this is true, and that it extends into human life and interactions, as well. Your story illustrates this perfectly.

  14. Nice place Allenby street and the beach effectively on fotos a mixture of old, new,with this hotel and memorial.greting from Belgium

  15. There is something about the sea, I have always tried to be living near water. Thank you for sharing the photo's I wondered what it is like in Tel Aviv. Sad about the terrorists. I think They should face the firing squad in America. But No - we speed money to feed them and give them a trial.
    Have a nice Simkott.


  16. I enjoy how a place is not just a landmark to you. You've got a gift to always point us in the direction that leads towards a deeper understanding with your pictures and blog. Thank you.

  17. The mind has a way of making the hottest day evaporate when we see water or snow. It is a sad story concerning the hotel but the plaque will help keep others on guard. Peace

  18. Resilient is the human spirit. It is truly wonderful that the new structure is dedicated to those who lost their lives. If only my country could deal with terrorists the way yours does, swift and just. Your city is beautiful and, of course, I love the sea.

  19. Thanks for the lovely poem. It is a sad poem though. It shows Nature as indifferent to, or ignorant of Mankind.

    At Geula street, the adjacent sea follows its routine as if nothing happened 26 years ago.


    Tel Aviv is indeed "very urban and dense". However it's a very lively city. It is a 24-hour city, in spite of its modest size.

    Yes,for good or for bad, ambivalence is an integral part of our lives, and also of Nature's life.


    Glad to have a reader and commenter from Belgium. And what a lovely first name you've got!

  20. Looks like scenes from a movie. Very interesting! I also read the complete story from commemorative plaque and I realized once again movies are very different from story... All movies have a perfect and happy end.

  21. La Petite Gallerie,

    To live near the sea is the wish of many. However, people have second thoughts about this, now with the the phenomenon of 'tzunami' becoming more and more frequent.


    I'm glad you think my blog and the pictures enable a deeper understanding of a certain place. That's a great compliment. Thanks.

    Lady Di Tn,

    Indeed so, it's all in the mind, as they say.

    People would like to forget sad stories, but as they see the name Savoy - it all comes back.

    C Hummel Kornell a/k/a C Hummel Wilson,

    'Resilient is the human spirit" - how true!
    I don't live in this city , but I like it a lot, and not only because of the sea.


    Unlike in the movies, there was no happy end here, unless you consider the building of a quality hotel instead of the old one.

  22. It's nice to know that the victims were commemorated. It should stand as a monument so it shouldn't happen again. Though I guess that tension is never very far away these days. It is interesting that some want to live beside the sea although I moved house 6 years ago from near a river as the threat of flooding and higher insurance policies grew stronger.

  23. J_on_ tour@jayspaze

    I can understand your moving house. People now have second thoughts about living near a large body of water, because of the "tzunami' phenomenon and the danger of flooding.

  24. The rebuilt hotel, honoring those who lost their lives from a senseless act of terrorism is a wonderful tribute. The ocean also somehow signals new beginnings with it's refreshing breeze and calming sound of waves crashing.

    Thank you for the history!

  25. Duta, I have lived on a mountain and also by the sea. I like the smell of the ocean best. i agree.
    it is always refreshing. Sometimes I drive to the cliffs and light house, just to hear the pounding surf. yvonne

  26. Lisa Petrarca,

    Indeed so - a wonderful tribute and a new beginning.

    La Petite Gallery,

    It all sounds very romantic - the cliffs, the lighthouse, the surf of the ocean.

  27. At your blogland, each and every photographs are beautiful and like to stay more and more. Same as, this is so beautiful and perfect place for weekend. I truly saying that I really enjoyed in your blog, my first visit. Will visit soon.

  28. When I saw the first picture, I thought that it is from Romania ... but I kept reading your story and I got into it. I tried to imagine the whole picture of terrorist attack...brrr I got chills on my back...This is a nice story of a "building" rebuilt it from its own ashes and raising to the sky much beautiful then before.

  29. Phivos Nicolaides,

    Thank you.

    easy fundraiser,

    Welcome to my blog! I'm glad you like this post and I'm looking forward to your next visit.

    Lumi Ro,

    The terrorist attack on the hotel was indeed horrifying.
    I totally agree with your beautiful remark about "the building rebuilt from its own ashes".

  30. Remarkable~ The name "Savoy" reached back into my memory & found a connection there. I can remember as a child hearing things about 'terrorists,' hijackings, hostages, Jimmy Carter (ugh!), & Israel...I'm sure this is part of that memory. God bless you, dear Duta, & all of Israel.

  31. Modern hotel...nice pics of the beach. Nice trip (looks to me)

  32. As always Duta enjoyed all of your post. It is so sad to me that there is so many terrorists that only care a bout themselves and do not care who they hurt in their travels. The new hotel is beautiful and a great tribute, but a sad one I would think. Thanks for sharing your world with us.
    until next time... nel

  33. Nel,

    Your emphasis on the word 'sad' is appropriate. The place is a sad reminder of a sad and tragic event in the past. Let's hope there'll be no recurrence of such events.