Tim Boxer

Nina Boxer

Take Malev To Tel Aviv
And Get Budapest Too

Photos by Tim Boxer

Majestic Budapest

Matthias Church

Buda Castle Turrets

INSTEAD of flying direct From New York to Tel Aviv, we decided to take an airline that would make a stop in Europe long enough to afford a tour of the city while waiting to change planes. So chose Malev, the airlines of Hungary.

Good choice. The crew was extremely friendly, helpful and always attentive. The youthful flight attendants couldn’t do enough for you. And the bright and cheery cabin had plenty of legroom for comfort.

Forget about eating. Try sleeping during the flight, so when you land in Budapest early afternoon you’ll be up to touring. As we were scheduled to resume our flight late at night, we had almost eight hours to explore.

We linked up with a professional guide, Haim Golan Nagar (,, who escorted us on a whirlwind tour of this intriguing city, which included a leisurely cruise down the Danube as the sun started to set.

Budapest has become the choice of Hollywood moguls. Steven Spielberg, lured by low labor costs and English speaking crews, spent six weeks for the filming of Munich. Of course, the 20 percent tax allowance didn’t hurt, either.

Other films just made here include vampire film Underworld, the Brad Pitt/Robert Redford thriller Spy Game, The Day of Wrath and the fantasy film Eragon.

For more information visit


Ultra-religious quarter of
Mea Shearim during Succot

Luxury condos at David’s Village facing
walls of the Old City.

WE usually stay at one of the major chain hotels in Jerusalem, but this time we opted for the cozy digs of the Eldan. This was also a good choice, as the hotel sits across the King David Hotel, and a short walk left to the Old City and a shorter walk right to the Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall and the commercial strip of Jaffa Road.

Reception manager Yehuda Ben Baruch made us feel comfortable at this 4-star hotel at 24 King St. (02-567 9777). A room, bundled with an Eldan car rental, is a very attractive deal.

If you book online ( you get a 20 percent discount. Also, your fourth night is free.


Arab kids in Moslem Quarter

THANKS to Jeffrey Seidel we got an insider’s look at the Moslem Quarter in the Old City. Jeffrey, 24, came here from Chicago in 1981. He runs the Jewish Student Information Center.

"There are 450 Jews living in the Moslem Quarter," he said as he escorted us up and down the narrow alley streets. Many more Jews lived in the area prior to the Second World War, but Arab riots emptied the quarter of all Jewish residents. In recent years Jews have been making a comeback, buying apartments and re-establishing their presence.


Security fence north of Jerusalem

ONCE a year Eugen Gluck, a prominent New York businessman, brings four busloads of fellow philanthropists to Bet El to dedicate another newly constructed facility. This time they opened the Morris Friedman Center for Computer Science.

In past years Gluck funded a medical center, security post, girls’ school residence, a student dining hall and more. He has quite a record of achievement in this flourishing town just north of Jerusalem.

The mayor, Moshe Rosenbaum, said 15 families founded the town 28 years ago. Today there are 1,000 families and 5,000 people.


Checkpoint on road to Hebron

Barak and Shifra Weinberger at
home in Negohot

Hebron street

YOSSI BAUMOHL, executive director of American Friends of Hebron, arranged a tour of Hebron for us. On the way we made a pit stop at the small settlement of Negohot. With only 25 families, it stands as a sentinel between Judea and the Mediterranean.

Nehemia Krakower, who has lived here for four years with his wife and six children, pointed westward and said, "You can see Ashdod from here."

He said that ten years ago Ariel Sharon stood on this site and decided to establish a town to serve as a barrier against the encroaching Bedouin. "Now you know why the army is guarding a settlement of 25 families."

Shifra and Barak Weinberger invited us into their home. It was clean, airy and comfortable. He opened a bottle of wine, which he made himself. He is very proud of his local vintage, which is quite good.

Safed street

Artists center

THE mystical town of Safed (Tsefat) is always alluring. We made a day trip up to the north to visit ancient restored synagogues, and to meditate in the Ari Ashkenazi Shul. The town is also a magnet for artists, and the art shops were brimming with treasures, both old and modern, religious and secular.


FOR our one day in Tel Aviv we hurried over to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. The main entrance is the Meshulam Riklis Hall, dominated by a mammoth mural donated by Roy Lichtenstein in 1989. A new building will open in 2009 to house galleries for local artists.

In the outdoor Lola Beer Ebner Sculpture Garden we admired such works as Scream (1998) by Menashe Kadishman, Feuille D’Arbre (1974) by Alexander Calder and Sacrifice III (1949) by Jacques Lifschitz.

We’re told that after the new city of Tel Aviv was built from the ground up, Marc Chagall said to the first mayor, Dizengoff, "Nice city. You have a hospital, but no museum. A city without a museum is not a city."

Chagall promised that if Dizengoff would open a museum he would contribute the first painting. See for yourself at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

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