Running with the bulls

Taking the bull by the horns, Tel Aviv's sculptures augur well for the stock market.

tatues of bulls along Tel Aviv's Sderot Rothschild are creating quite a stir. There are 100 bulls all together, some of them with their nostrils flaring and tails in the air. Others are dressed in pink and blue fun fur, studded with colorful mosaics. Not a single matador is in sight. Instead, every 50 meters or so is a guard wearing a day-glow vest designated by the city to keep human beings from climbing onto the creatures. What looked like the Greek Minotaur was missing part of an arm and others had paint peeling and signs warning of work in progress last Sunday afternoon; but despite the obvious injuries to some of the bulls, folks from all over the country had come out to see the collection. Many were took photos of the bulls and walked along the boulevard as though they were in a gallery. Meanwhile, life went on as usual in the cafes and sandwich bars along the tree-lined avenue. The bulls exhibit was put on by the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, which chose the country's top 100 companies to represent a growing and healthy business climate. The stock exchange has adopted the symbol used in business-speak by economists worldwide: a bull market indicates an increase in share prices, while a bear market implies a drop in investments. For the Chinese, the bull symbolizes life; for the Greeks, potency. Called "Bulls and Exchange Rates," the exhibition marks the stock exchange's 70th anniversary. With the help of an artist, each company designed a bull to reflect the company's spirit. Based on the size of the herd, it looks like Israel will be enjoying a thriving economy in the coming year. Many bulls were adorned with coins and laminated in currency from around the world. Some of the folks on the boulevard had heard about the bulls on TV, while others had friends involved in the project. Many didn't know much about the stock market and were just thrilled to see the colorful statues lining the famous Tel Aviv avenue, where trendy sitting spots dot the street. Rothschild is one of the city's main traffic arteries, and a favorite for dog walkers, joggers, cyclists and parents with children. One tourist, Benny Maissner, a cantor from the Holy Blossom Reform temple in Toronto, was in the neighborhood visiting the location of his old elementary school, Bilu on Sderot Rothschild, where he used to sing as a young boy. "It's very artistic, unique and cosmopolitan," said Maissner, drawing reference to a similar project in Toronto with the large northern deer moose. "Each one is better than the previous as we walk along the street," exclaimed Tel Aviv resident Chaya Reshev, who started the tour at Rehov Allenby and was planning to walk in the direction of Rehov Cremieux, where the last bull is placed. "It's a great opportunity for the artists to expose their work." Peter Lubelski, who came from Jerusalem, liked the bull that is covered in words from different languages. Smadar Peled and Ilana Tsur, seniors who had come from Lod to see the bulls, agreed that the exhibition was excellent. "It's a celebration of color," said Nitzan, a potter who sells her wares at the Nahalat Binyamin artists' market. "When the bulls opened last week, you wouldn't believe how crowded it was and how many people were here. It was like a big festival."