Tel Aviv to teach Eurovision tourists Hebrew

Municipality working to recruit locals to host visitors for Shabbat dinner

April 18, 2019 15:40
2 minute read.
A communal meal organized by EatWith

A communal meal organized by EatWith. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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There’s nothing quite like Israeli chutzpa or Israeli hospitality.

That’s what the Tel Aviv Municipality is banking on during the Eurovision competition next month. This week, the city announced two new initiatives to help welcome the expected 10,000 tourists who will be in town the week of May 12.

The Tel Aviv Municipality said that every evening at 5pm in Eurovision Village – which is open May 12-18 in Charles Clore Park – it will hold a free lesson in basic Hebrew. The classes, the city said, will be taught by experienced Hebrew teachers and offer a set of basic words and phrases helpful for visitors.

A Eurovision-themed photo frame stationed in Tel Aviv (Credit: Tel Aviv Municipality)

Eurovision fans’ interest in Hebrew peaked when Israel’s winner last year, Netta Barzilai, told millions of viewers “capara aleichem” – a largely untranslatable phrase that’s used as a term of endearment. Fans were also intrigued by her newest single, “Bassa Sababa,” which loosely means “Bummer, Great.”

Once tourists have picked up a few phrases of Hebrew at the Eurovision Village, they might be able to try them out during a Shabbat dinner.

On Thursday, the municipality announced it is partnering with the social platform EatWith to host tourists in the homes of Tel Aviv residents on the Friday evening ahead of the finale.

Interested locals can sign up to be a host at, and agree to provide a meal to 2-6 guests, and be paid NIS 50 per guest (the same amount that visitors are charged for the evening). Interested hosts can choose to have a traditional Shabbat meal or a “Proud Shabbat Dinner” specifically geared toward the LGBTQ community. Interested tourists will be able to sign up to attend via EatWith closer to the date of the competition.

According to EatWith, several local luminaries have already been recruited to host, including chef and MasterChef judge Haim Cohen, musician and “Toy” co-writer Doron Medalie, conductor and pianist Gil Shohat and more.

“We’re working nonstop to make this year’s Eurovision quality and experiential,” Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said. “It’s no less important to us that our residents enjoy the tourism boom in the city. The welcoming Shabbat initiative is one of the ways to connect the thousands of tourists to Tel Aviv families and to expose them to the unique holiday spirit of Shabbat evening in Israel.”

The mayor said that he has “already told Yael, my wife, to reserve the Friday before the Eurovision finale so we can cook.”

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