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Tel Aviv: A City on Edge Amid Escalating Conflict

Tel Aviv and its vibrant culture gives way to fear and resilience as rocket attacks and clashes disrupt daily life. Explore how its residents

Tel Aviv, the vibrant and cosmopolitan city of Israel, grapples with an unprecedented crisis as the conflict between Israel and Hamas intensifies. Known for its rich culture, lively nightlife, and beautiful beaches, the city now faces rocket attacks, sirens, and empty streets. This report provides a detailed overview of Tel Aviv’s current situation and how its resilient residents are dealing with this crisis.

Rocket Attacks and Sirens

On Saturday, October 7, 2023, Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, firing thousands of rockets from the Gaza Strip. These rockets triggered alarms as far north as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, plunging the population into panic and chaos. Some rockets struck buildings in Tel Aviv, causing injuries and substantial property damage. In response, the Israeli military swiftly executed devastating airstrikes on Gaza, resulting in the loss of hundreds of Palestinian lives and the destruction of two high-rise buildings.

Rocket attacks continued on Sunday, October 8, 2023, as Hamas claimed to have taken a significant number of hostages into the Gaza Strip. In response, the Israeli cabinet declared a state of war and mobilized thousands of reservists. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a stern warning that Israel would retaliate with substantial force in response to the relentless Hamas attacks.

The constant blaring of sirens has become a source of anxiety for Tel Aviv’s residents. They rush to shelters or fortified rooms upon hearing them, often feeling stressed, scared, and helpless as they await the unpredictable descent of rockets or their interception by the Iron Dome defense system.

Empty Streets and Supermarket Shelves

The crisis has disrupted Tel Aviv’s customary vibrancy. Most cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops have closed their doors, leaving the streets eerily vacant and silent. The few who venture outside walk their dogs, cycle, or simply take solitary walks. Some are curious to see rocket damage, while others contribute to the war effort by delivering food to soldiers or donating essential blood supplies.

Even the supermarkets have not escaped the repercussions of this crisis. Many residents stockpile food and essentials in anticipation of prolonged conflict. Consequently, certain supermarket shelves are barren or offer limited supplies of basic items such as bread, milk, eggs, and water. In the midst of this turmoil, grievances arise regarding price gouging and shortages of essential products.

Clashes Between Rival Eritrean Groups

Adding complexity to the turmoil in Tel Aviv are clashes between opposing factions of Eritrean protesters. Eritrea, embroiled in a devastating civil war since 2018, compels many Eritreans to seek asylum in Israel, where they face discrimination and deportation threats.

On Saturday, September 2, 2023, Tel Aviv witnessed violent confrontations, leaving over 100 people injured. These clashes unfolded during a protest led by anti-government Eritrean demonstrators, who marched to the Eritrean embassy in a passionate plea for an end to the war and an alleviation of human rights abuses in their homeland. Their procession met a group of pro-government supporters who vehemently accused them of being traitors and spies. The confrontations escalated into exchanges of stones, bottles, and fireworks, while Israeli riot police fired warning shots into the air to disperse them.

These clashes further heightened the prevailing sense of insecurity and instability in Tel Aviv, particularly in the crowded and marginalized neighborhoods where many Eritreans reside. While some Israelis extend sympathy to the plight of the Eritreans, others blame them for causing trouble and violence.


Tel Aviv now stands at a crossroads, grappling with an uncertain and challenging future as the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues to escalate. This city, accustomed to being a thriving hub of culture, entertainment, and tourism, has been transformed into a war-torn landscape. The residents of Tel Aviv do their utmost to navigate this crisis, yet they remain apprehensive about the uncertain path that lies ahead, both for themselves and their beloved city.