During Cease-fire, Israelis Head Out to Malls, Restaurants, and Beaches

After nearly three weeks of rocket fire, Israelis venture out in large numbers.

Tomer Appelbaum

After nearly three weeks of rocket fire directed at the south and center of the country and even to points further north, Saturday’s 12-hour cease-fire prompted Israelis to venture out in larger numbers.

Although life in the center and north of the country has proceeded relatively normally over the past three weeks of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, consumers have curbed their spending to some extent, and appear to have been staying closer to home in many cases.

With the declaration of a humanitarian cease-fire between Israel and Hamas from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M. Saturday, Israelis ventured out in large numbers during the course of the day, although rocket fire resumed in the evening.

Beaches, cafés, restaurants and movie theaters were busier during the day, as were those shopping centers that are open on the Sabbath. Residents of the south, who are closer to the Gaza Strip, came out in smaller numbers, however.

The Tel Aviv Port retail complex on the city’s waterfront, which has seen business dip substantially during the past three weeks of hostilities, was again bustling, although numbers were still lower than on a typical Saturday.

Business at other entertainment areas in the center of the country also experienced a drop in business compared to a normal Saturday, but traffic was higher than last Saturday.

“At most branches in the center of the country, traffic still didn’t return to routine [levels],” said the CEO of the Aroma Israel café chain, Danny Mishel.

“At our branches on the seafront promenade in Bat Yam and at the Seven Stars Mall in Herzliya, sales are down by about 10% compared to regular vacation days. Nonetheless, though, there was an improvement compared to the previous days,” Mishel said, in reference to suburban locations just north and south of Tel Aviv.

Many movie theaters attracted larger numbers than usual yesterday. Cinema City in Rishon Letzion, just south of Tel Aviv, reported 30% higher traffic than a regular Saturday, with parking in high demand and long lines at restaurants at the complex.

Similar scenes were reported at Azrieli Group malls in Ramat Gan, Givatayim and Modi’in in the center of the country.

Cinema City in Rishon Letzion, July 26, 2014. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum