City of Youth 

Analysis / Interpretation / Press


The City of Youth 

In 1963, a revolution took place in the nature of the recreation of the Israeli youth. In the month of August, about sixty years ago, the first youth city was established, announcing to the townspeople from the Tel Aviv area and the surrounding area that it was time to get out of the house and have fun - pure recreation, free of Zionism and values, without parents and teachers, without guides, just them in their own company. The city ran for more than two decades until it died and sank into the depths of the historical archives, without receiving the respect it deserves. Millions of teenagers have visited the city over the years.

And it is amazing to see how the huge cyclical event managed to escape from the hall of Israeli nostalgia and was relegated to a few lines and mentions, almost without pictures, almost without discussion of its formative place in Israeli culture. So what is the story of the city and the youth? City of Youth was an ongoing event of young people and teenagers from the central region. It took place every year, in Tel Aviv, from the 1960s to the 1980s. Night after night, tens of thousands flocked to the "Exhibition Gardens" complex across from Yarkon to flood the pavilions, the competitions, the shows, the amusement park facilities, the restaurants and stands scattered everywhere.

The event lasts two or three weeks, and sometimes longer. It attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors, at a time when the population of the State of Israel was only half of its current population. In the peak years of the youth city, about 600,000 visitors came to the complex in one summer. It was a once a year event. When the big holiday came, the months of July and August, the opening of the Youth City was announced. The municipality of Tel Aviv launched the project in a solemn and solemn ceremony - the real mayor of Tel Aviv "handed the keys to the city" to a young boy, 17 or 18 years old, a student in one of the high schools, who was elected to his position by the student council. The young and symbolic mayor together with the young "council members" around him, managed under the watchful eye of the producers, and together with them, the biggest mass happening known to the young people of Israel in those years. The symbolic ceremony was more interesting to the municipality, the producers and maybe also the journalists who reported every year anew on what was going to happen and then on what was happening.

The symbolic ceremony was of more interest to the municipality, the producers and perhaps also the journalists who reported every year anew what was going to happen and then what was happening.

The young people were just waiting for the moment when the gates would open and they would be able to pour in en masse into the exhibition grounds complex. They arrived on buses on special routes organized by the Dan company, from all over Gush Dan - every bus full and packed with sweat and hormones, in shorts and jeans, in sandals and high heels, in mini and maxi skirts, in mouthwash seasoned with gel fragrances and perfumes of boys and girls, high school students and soldiers.