Jerusalem is a fastest-growing tourism destination in the world according to a report from UK-based Euromonitor International. The city had 32 percent increase in international visitors compared to last year, and the numbers continue to swell. It is the fastest-growing destination among 100 major cities, and when the numbers for 2018 are published it is expected to break its own record by achieving a 38 percent growth.  

Wouter Geerts, who conducted the research, predicted that Jerusalem will lead growth in inbound tourists and is one of the top four cities to watch in terms of tourism popularity; the others are Mumbai, Porto and Osaka. Israel’s capital was placed 63rd on the list of 100 most visited cities in 2018. The top spot went to Hong Kong.

The Euromonitor report also showed an increase of 47 percent in the number of overnight stays in Jerusalem from incoming tourism. Jerusalem offers about 20,000 hotel rooms and the number is increasing.

In November, the all-time 2017 record for incoming tourism to Israel was broken by surpassing 3.6 million tourists. The Ministry of Tourism is confident that when the numbers are confirmed at least four million tourists will have visited Israel – a 15 percent increase compared with 2017. It is estimated that 85 percent of incoming tourists visit Jerusalem.

“We are very happy to see that the world placed Jerusalem at the same line with the top tourist destinations, such as Barcelona, London and Lisbon,” said Ilanit Melchior, tourism director of the Jerusalem Development Authority, pointing out that the city offers a range of accommodations from five-star luxury to youth hostels.


Two news items from New York, totally unrelated.  

Israeli company Moovex has won a contract to improve the New York airport shuttle services. It has combined with US-based airport shuttle provider Go Airlink to create an optimized dynamic operations plan for its service at three New York-area airports – JFK, LaGuardia and Newark.

The software platform will help Go Airlink take into account real-time data on traffic, drop-off locations, arrivals and departures, the number of passengers and available vehicles.

Founded in 2008 in Misgav, northern Israel, Moovex offers a platform that enables a full view of the ride-sharing process, from ride order through supplier approval, ride tracking to invoicing. Clients can use the platform to produce reports, analyse usage and enhance operations. The company counts more than 200 Israeli corporate customers and is used in Russia by ride-hailing company Gett.

Balaboosta New York

Chef Einat Admony is familiar with the stress of opening a new restaurant, having opened 13 restaurants throughout her career. But the days leading up to the reopening of her latest eatery, Balaboosta, felt more intense than usual. The original Balaboosta (meaning perfect housewife and mother) was aunched in 2010.

”We had a short amount of time to pull everything together. But with our brand-new menu and beautiful setting, we are excited to continue the Balaboosta institution.” 

In late September, the Israeli-born chef and her husband reopened Balaboosta, which offers New York City diners a selection of dishes that express Admony’s unique take on modern Israeli cuisine. The popular Bowery establishment is now closed with Balaboosta sited on 12th Street just the other side of Greenwich Village. 

Chef Einat Admony is building up a New York eatery empire she says, “Balaboosta has been an institution for nine years. It’s not just a restaurant. It’s a kind of community where people create memories – that first date, birthday celebration, anniversary and so on. We wanted to keep that energy going after a short hiatus,” she explained.

Admony enjoys exploring new ideas, playing on Israeli and Middle-Eastern classics while continuing to innovate with ingredients, flavours and techniques. “This is what makes my Israeli cuisine so exciting.”

Admony’s new Balaboosta menu features dishes such as lamb neck with preserved lemon, dates, chestnuts and freekeh (roasted green durum wheat common in Levantine cuisine).

”We have all-time favourites such as the cauliflower with lemon, currants, pine nuts, parsley and crushed Bamba (an Israeli peanut butter-flavoured snack), and fried olives with labane and harissa oil.”

New creations include the short rib zabzi with hand-rolled couscous, herbs and almonds; and red snapper with pickled okra tempura and sour Fresno chili in okra chraime sauce.

Customers can also choose from an extensive wine list including Israeli wines. The dessert section features malabi and halva crème brûlée.

While Admony opened her first restaurant in Miami, New York has served as her base for much of her career. She first introduced the vegetarian falafel joint Taïm (tah-eem meaning tasty) with her husband in Manhattan’s West Village in 2005.  There are now four branches of Taim in Lower Manhattan.  This year Kish-Kash was added, a West Village Moroccan couscous bar-eatery named after one of the kitchen utensils, a sieve, used to hand-roll couscous.  All meat dishes there are kosher.


Porto, Portugal’s second city, is gaining more and more popularity with flights from Gatwick, London City, Luton and Stansted. It sits on the River Douro and is the centre of the wine industry with plenty to do and see.

Located right in the centre, in Boavista, and near the Synagogue Kadoorie Mekor Haim, is the four-star Hotel da Música. A beautiful modern hotel with a strong musical theme, the property is part of, and directly connected to, the iconic Mercado Bom Sucesso Market, a public marketplace with food stalls and cultural activities. It is also very close to one of the popular squares of Oporto, Rotunda da Boavista, where you can find the Casa da Música.For travellers who keep kosher, Hotel da Música is really a no-brainer and an excellent choice for accommodation. The hotel offers kosher meals, consisting of Portuguese cuisine and vegetarian meals, for breakfast, lunch and dinner and there is a kosher store connected to the hotel. No problems with the doors for observant guests on Shabbat. The kashrus is coordinated by the Oporto Rabbi, Daniel Litvak, whose supervision is recognized by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.