Signs Of Normalcy In Tel Aviv Since Hamas Attack That Triggered Gaza War

Before the war, Tel Aviv saw months of pro-democracy rallies against the right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Signs Of Normalcy In Tel Aviv Since Hamas Attack That Triggered Gaza War

The seaside city was known as the fun, progressive counterpart to the religious hub of Jerusalem.

Tel Aviv, Israel:

On the beaches of Tel Aviv, some elements of normalcy are returning since the devastating Hamas attack that triggered the brutal war in Gaza more than two months ago.

The seaside city was known as the fun, progressive counterpart to the religious hub of Jerusalem.

But there are visible changes now.

Some joggers combine sports bras with a rifle slung over the shoulder -- evidence of a government push to arm the populace after the attack on October 7 when Palestinian operatives burst into southern Israel and killed 1,139 people, according to the government's figures.

Cyclists have portraits on their baskets of some of the 250 hostages abducted by Hamas that day, and road signs have graffiti reading "Bring them home now".

Before the war, Tel Aviv saw months of pro-democracy rallies against the right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Now, many who march are demanding a deal from the authorities to bring home the remaining hostages. Families of the captives meet almost daily to demand their return.

'A medicine' 

Just 70 kilometers south, the Gaza Strip is witnessing unprecedented death and devastation from Israel's air and ground offensive that has claimed at least 18,800 lives according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

But in Tel Aviv, people are turning back to their hobbies in search of respite from the relentless tension.

For Miki Levi, it's surfing.

"I connect with nature, with myself, I meditate. And when you're going through difficult times, it's even more vital," he says.

For Ohel Haim, 47, it's fishing -- "a medicine to forget Hamas". He comes once or twice a week from Jerusalem with friends.

Sara Nazar, a 21-year-old student, took up yoga after October 7 -- first at home and tentatively, out on the beach.

"My body needed it, my muscles needed it," she says.

The threat from above is ever-present as rockets fly in from Gaza and occasionally from operatives in southern Lebanon -- even if Israel's powerful missile defence system usually keeps residents safe.

Friends since kindergarten, Oshra and Dora, who did not give their surnames, never allow the missile warnings to distract from their daily walk along the beach.

"It's a breather from what we see on television -- it's too heavy. We like to open the day with this walk," said Dora.

They rely on their faith to ease their minds: "If anything happens to us, God will decide."

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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