Tel Aviv’s residents start venturing out | Israel-Palestine conflict News

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The Israeli city wakes up from its shock and confusion, making timid efforts to confront a new reality.

As the fighting between the Israeli army and Hamas rolled into its second day, Tel Aviv began to wake up from its daze.

Biking through the streets was eerie, and people looked at one another with fear and even veiled suspicion on their faces.

While beaches and public spaces remained mostly empty, a few residents could be seen walking their dogs, going for a bike ride or just taking a walk.

Curious people stopped and gathered around crews working to clear rubble from the side of a road. Two buildings had been struck by a Hamas rocket barrage on Saturday night, injuring four people.

A few residents walk their dog in Tel Aviv
A few residents walk their dog in Tel Aviv on October 8, 2023 [Adam Sella/Al Jazeera]

Most restaurants have remained closed.

A few reopened their commercial kitchens for the war effort, such as a pizzeria that had a pick-up truck outside with hundreds of pizza boxes stacked in its bed, ready for delivery to soldiers.

The pizzeria has stopped selling to the public, making food only for soldiers.

People approach the volunteers preparing food for delivery to the south, asking how they can help and offering to donate.

Some restaurants are still serving Tel Aviv, and some food delivery scooters sped down the empty streets, bringing food to the many Israelis who are still indoors, glued to their televisions and watching the news unfold.

Police patrols pass by, stopping people here and there to inquire about where they are going.

Last flight out

On Saturday night, Israelis and tourists alike flocked to Ben Gurion Airport to try to snag a last flight out of Israel. On Sunday, major airlines cancelled flights to the country.

Delivery scooters speed down empty streets in Tel Aviv
Delivery scooters speed down empty streets in Tel Aviv on October 8, 2023 [Adam Sella/Al Jazeera]

On Saturday night, those who had confirmed tickets waited anxiously to see if their flight would take off.

Others came to see if they could buy a last-minute ticket.

One traveller described the scene, saying that there were many more people in line at check-in, waiting to see if they could get a ticket, than there were past the security lines at the boarding gates.

Many people are bewildered and frightened, made more so by the official declaration of a state of war by the Israeli cabinet on Sunday.

A day earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had told Israelis in a video statement: “We are at war. … I call on all citizens of Israel to unite, to achieve our highest goal – victory in the war.”

Since Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel on Saturday morning, various sectors of Israeli society have seemingly put their differences aside and focused on the war declaration.

For now, the people of Tel Aviv are slowly shaking off their caution and venturing out to try to connect with each other again.


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