There are many dissimilarities between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. In this post I would like to focus on a very specific difference of deep cultural significance which nobody talks about. It’s about dog pets.
Anybody who visits Tel Aviv can see all around the city many people taking their daily walk with their dog. You can see them in Rothschild boulevard, Habima square, sea shore and every street corner. Dogs are welcome to all coffee houses. In most coffee houses they will find a fresh water drink and in some cases will even get a tasty biscuit. In all streets the dog owners will find boxes with collecting bags. These bags adhere any bad odors to their internal walls. The city is very clean.
In every park and many public gardens dogs owners will find an enclosed area where dogs can run freely and play with their best friends. To summarize: Tel Aviv loves pets and that love is part of its liberal culture.
Once you move to Jerusalem, you rarely see a dog in the street. I tried to understand the origins of the difference between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem regarding dogs. I asked many people, mainly Jews and Arabs, and here are my conclusions ( taken with a grain of salt ):
Over 40% of Jews in Jerusalem are “Haredim” – ultra orthodox. Haredim don’t like dogs. They believe that a dog is a defiled animal. They also generally live in very small apartments, are occupied with studying Torah and bringing up many children. Haredim never had dogs in the diaspora. So a Haredi dog is out of question.
Regarding Arabs who make up to 30-40% of the population of Jerusalem, they mostly fear dogs. Also according to Islam a dog is considered a defiled animal. I have also been told that an additional reason for the fear of dogs is that Arabs never had pet dogs. Throughout history they had watch dogs in their villages. Dogs were expected to attack burglars or bark when a person entered the village. So one should generally fear a dog.
Regarding Christians in Jerusalem, you don’t expect to find a dog in a monastery or near a church.
The only symbol of deep love of dogs which I have found in Jerusalem is the tombs of two dogs, Rab and Bruce, located in the entrance of the beautiful St Andrew’s Scots Memorial Church. They were buried there by a British officer who owned the dogs in the eve of world war II.
Since I personally love dogs very much and own a lovely one, I am inspired by Tel Aviv love of dogs and tried to paint the dog atmosphere of the city whenever I saw a significant “Doggy situation”. I am often visiting the St Andrew church in Jerusalem since it also serves as a lovely guest house. So Rab and Bruce were painted on my smartphone.
I hope that you will enjoy the doggy atmosphere in the Digital Free Hand paintings.