Palestine/Israel off the Beaten Track

Fred Schlomka

I had a request today from a tourist who wanted to get off the regular tourist routes in Israel by himself so I made this suggestion:

There's a great Saturday market in the Arab village of Tira in the center of Israel, just west of the Green Line. The market is a mix of a flea market, fruits and vegetables, factory seconds, and even a few stalls with tourist trinkets. Lots of great Arabic-style fast food. There's rarely any tourists there although hoards of Israelis flock to the market every week.

The stall owners are also mixed, and it's one of the few places in Israel where you can see a hijab-wearing Muslim woman selling iced lemonade and pita sandwiches, next to a stall where a Sabra (Israeli born Jew) is hawking cheap shoes, next to a Russian Jewish immigrant pushing plastic kitchen products, next to an old Bedouin selling water pipes and crafts. Although few Jews went there at the height of the Intifada, when times are good, it's coexistance at its best.

You'll need a car or taxi. Tira is quite close to one of the main north/south highways, Route 4, about 20 kilometers NE of Tel Aviv. Check the map - Tira is just north of the town of Kfar Saba. From Tel Aviv take route 1 north to route 5 east, to route 4 north, after about 15 kilometers you'll come to the 'Ra'anana/Kefar Saba exit. Don't take it. Keep going another 2 kilometers to the next exit. ('Ra'anana Tsomet Tzafon' in Hebrew). TURN RIGHT towards Kfar Saba. Go to the second light. TURN LEFT. You'll then be on Tchernahovski Street. Keep going straight for about six kilometers to Tira. You'll find the road leading to the village lined with cars. I suggest that you park at the first spot you see and walk a few hundred meters the rest of the way.

There's no buses from Tel Aviv on a Saturday and a taxi will cost about 150 shekels. The market is open from 9am-3pm. Have a great time!

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