Mayor of Tel Aviv, Ron Huldai, may have lost (temporarily?) the support of his more radical and liberal constituents, following the heavy-handed way his municipal inspectors treated the new wave of social protestors in recent weeks, but at least on the pages of the Monocle, the international jet-set's style bible, he is still one of the most inspiring city leaders on the globe.
The monthly magazine's July-August edition is dedicated to "cities that do it better," and Huldai is number four on a list of "ten smart governors" who according to Monocle's editors are "mayors with big ideas and bold vision - civic leaders that put their homes on the map for all the right reasons."
Monocle salutes Huldai's 14 years in office as "the urban equivalent of alchemy," crediting him with rescuing the first Hebrew city from the brink of bankruptcy, rejuvenating its "crumbling infrastructure," filling it with cultural and sports centers, transforming it into a major tourist destination and "a magnet for young tech entrepreneurs."
A special mention goes to the city's nightlife - Tel Aviv apparently has no less than 1,748 bars, one for every 220 residents, though the housing shortage which makes it almost impossible for young families to live there doesn't warrant a mention. This is after all Monocle, the thick glossy that costs twelve Dollars and educates its readers on the merits of the essentials such as Issey Miyake lanterns and the perfect Berkel prosciutto slicer.
Neither do the tens of thousands migrant workers living in stifling conditions in the south of the city warrant mention, Monocle is concerned with a different kind of working traveler and it is on their behalf that they tackle Huldai on "Israel's restrictive working visa policies." Monocle readers, that is what Tel Aviv needs "to become an international business hub," and Huldai promises them that "he's petitioning Jerusalem," to make it easier for them to live and work in Tel Aviv.
This glowing commendation will certainly be useful for the mayor when he starts campaigning for his fourth term, but it may be useful for voters to have a wider read through the magazine. Despite Huldai's achievements (he is featured on the list along with leaders of desirable locales such as Kabul and Phnom Penh), the Monocle team would not like to live in Tel Aviv themselves, the city did not make it on to the list of the 25 "most liveable cities," the magazine's ranking of "the world's best places to live and work."
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now