Tel Aviv Museum of Art
Founded almost as soon as the city itself was born, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art is by nature a celebration of the modern and contemporary. Exhibitions, permanent and temporary, range from emerging Israeli artists to 20th-century big-hitters from Peggy Guggenheim’s collection, shored up by workshops, screenings and concerts. The building itself is a work of art, since a striking wing was added a decade ago, lofty galleries pierced by a central shaft of light.
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 27 Shaul HaMelech Blvd; tamuseum.org.il/en
The grand old man of Hebrew poetry, Chaim Nachman Bialik, moved to Tel Aviv from Berlin in 1924 and had Bialik House (“Beit” means house in Hebrew) built on a patch of sand. For a decade, his splendid home was a salon for the new city’s intelligentsia, and the place Bialik wrote until he died. You can visit his exuberantly painted, decorated and tiled house; ask for a tour in English.
Bialik House, 22 Bialik Street
For a flip-side view of Israel, Jerusalem is everything Tel Aviv is not – heavy with history and disagreement, grandly beautiful with antiquity, sites of great importance to different faiths, a place for praying, not playing. A whole world away, but only a 45-minute drive.