• Dan Farberoff



Photo Doc (Tel-ALTernativ | תֵּל–אַלְטֶרְנָטִיב)

I sometimes wonder what might have happened had my grandparents stayed here, instead of emigrating to Palestine in 1933.

– Yorai Sharon

ALTneustadt – or Tel-ALTernativ in it’s Hebrew translation – is a photo doc, a collection of portraits of Israelis living in the Berlin. Their number has grown exponentially over a short number of years from a few thousand to several tens of thousands, and the trend shows no sign of abating. This is even causing consternation among some Israelis, notably among prominent politicians who denounce the leavers for choosing what they see as the easy, short-sighted option, and stirs a quiet hope among Germans that perhaps their darkest hours are indeed past. The project aims to put a face to this phenomenon and ponder its meaning. As usual, Israelis make a far greater noise relative to their numbers, and are seemingly everywhere in this city. I set out to discover who the persons making the move are, what are their thoughts, hopes, disappointments, dreams and desires. The name for the project borrows from Altneuland (Hebrew: Tel-Aviv) — the century-old Zionist vision of a free, egalitarian, mutualist and cosmopolitan society, established in an old-new homeland, which was born from a deep disappointment with the discrimination, aggressive nationalism, and bigotry of Europe at the end of 19th century — and is an allusion to Berlin’s current image as an old-new alternative city.

I feel that there’s a meaning to the fact I’m here, for me and for German society. Some sort of historical thread.

– Michael Shapira

I really want to cooperate with Berlin’s tranquillity, with this heavenliness – the calmness and boredom. It’s very foreign to me and very appealing and scary as well. It feels unreal, as if I’m doing something wrong by being here.

– Tamar Grosz

Speaking on Swedish First Channel SVT Korrespondenterna about Israelis in Berlin. Excerpt.

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