CBS’ “60 Minutes” paid tribute to Tel Aviv Monday evening, showing off some of the best aspects of the city. Reporter Bob Simon sat down with Israeli natives to talk about beaches, bars and startup companies, but also pointed to a possible apathy toward the political, calling the attitude part of the “Tel Aviv bubble.”
The 12-minute segment opened with shots of stunning water, roller skaters and Tel Aviv’s vibrant gay community. Actress Noa Tishby and columnist Gal Uchovsky both spoke to Simon about Tel Aviv’s blasé approach to sexuality, with Tishby saying, "It's such a non-issue in Israel. That's the thing, being straight, or being gay is a complete non-issue. I mean gays in the military, what's the problem?"
Businessman Yossi Vardi talked about the aggressive startup culture, crediting the ambition of Israel’s youth to an old stereotype.
“Every startup kid here has a Jewish mother who drives him crazy, who will push them and challenge them and inspire them,” he said.
At one point, Simon came upon Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Asaf Zamir, enjoying a vodka and soda outside a club at 2 am.
Still, it wasn’t all cocktails and suntans. Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy was on hand to discuss the West Bank and his opinion that Tel Avivians turn a blind eye to violence occurring just an hour’s drive away.
"It's all about the next vacation, the next Jeep, the next restaurant,” he said. “And the good life in Tel Aviv enables you to ignore the real questions."
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai called his city “an island of sanity in this country.” But he did agree that there were certain tensions that have to be put out of one’s mind in order to go about the day’s business.
"This is our life. What else we can do?” he said. “When you go out of your home in New York, you have the chance to get in a car accident."
To watch the full segment, visit www.CBS.com.