In defense of Bat Yam – A truly great place to live - opinion

Life in this area couldn’t be easier.

BAT YAM – Life in this area couldn’t be easier.  (photo credit: COOKIE SCHWAEBER-ISSAN)
BAT YAM – Life in this area couldn’t be easier.
I found myself baffled by the results of the “quality of life index” of large cities (The Jerusalem Post, 12/30/20) – which resulted in Kfar Saba, Ramat Gan and Rehovot leading the pack, with Jerusalem, Ashdod and Bat Yam having the distinction of being the lowest ranked or, another way to put it, the least desirable places to live in Israel.
It was just a year and a half ago when my husband and I found ourselves at the end of our work life due to a number of unexpected reasons not anticipated by us. Having lived in what could only be described as our dream home midway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem – since each of us worked in those cities – we soon came to feel that the large two-story house in the forest, far from many conveniences, no longer suited us. Thus began our search for the perfect retirement apartment. Wanting to live in a high-rise tower with great views and good shopping, we began the hunt in our preferred city of Tel Aviv. After viewing a number of very overpriced apartments with closet-sized rooms and kitchens that mostly needed to be gutted, we began to wonder if our budget – which we considered to be quite healthy – would be able to buy us anything closely approaching the standard of our stylish, comfortable home which we would be leaving.
It was right about that time when we received a phone call from a Bat Yam developer who was selling apartments in the southern end of the city that bordered Rishon Lezion. I immediately let him know that we were only interested in a Tel Aviv property, not knowing how he even got my name and number. The next few days were absorbed in more and more viewings, all of which produced no results. Yet this pest of a developer continued to call and urge us to come see his offering. After several annoying calls, I suggested to my husband that we go just to get him off our back.
I will never forget pulling up to the front line, oceanfront tower in Bat Yam, taking the elevator up to the 31st floor and standing on the balcony facing what can only be described as a knock-out, drop-dead gorgeous view. The rooms were spacious and well-planned, and since the building was newly built everything was done to a high and up-to-date standard. While we did not purchase that particular apartment, we did purchase in the building next door. Having spent the last year, mostly in lockdown, I cannot think of a better place in which to live. Being able to walk down to the beach just 100 meters from our door, when visiting friends and family was not an option, definitely saved our sanity. Gazing at the ocean, with its teaming life and beauty, filled our souls with inspiration and hope for better days to come.
Life in this area couldn’t be easier. Within walking distance of our apartment are six major supermarkets, countless bakeries, tons of restaurants, ice-cream parlors, a mall, a tailor, several shoemakers, fromageries, Home Center, pharmacies and our kupat cholim. Everything is right at our fingertips. It goes without saying that we paid a fraction of the exorbitant prices that were being demanded in Tel Aviv for twice the space and front-line ocean views. Shop owners are warm and friendly, happy to deliver their goods to your door for free and willing to accommodate on every possible level. Within our building are those who are happy to give you whatever ingredient you’ve run out of while cooking the minute they see your WhatsApp request; and how great is it to have farmers come to your parking lot with their fresh produce that was just picked from the fields?
I can’t think of a better quality of life than this. No congestion or traffic, no noisy protests and enjoying a lifestyle that otherwise would have financially escaped us without doling out a few million dollars for what we now enjoy which didn’t approach that kind of money.
If the life quality measurements are such parameters as housing density, satisfaction with the housing, cleanliness of the area and other similar standards, I cannot imagine a better place than Bat Yam, whose municipality works tirelessly to beautify the beachfront area with seasonal flowers, aesthetically pleasing synthetic grass and one of the most beautiful boardwalks you’ll ever want to find.
Keep Rehovot, Ramat Gan and Kfar Saba. Bat Yam is my city of choice, and once the secret gets out, I bet others will agree that it’s got it all over Tel Aviv!
The writer is a retired elementary/middle school principal who made aliyah in 1993 and frequent contributor to the Letters to the Editor column.