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Highlights from Tel Aviv, August 2007: I want to marry a Jew

4 September 2007

I have a new favorite city. Forget Costa Rica. Forget the Swedes. Enough with the French Canadians. I want to marry a Jew. Tel Aviv is the most incredible place I have visited in my entire life. Sure, I might have more friends in Tel Aviv than in all other cities combined, but I still believe Tel Aviv is a very, very special place and absolutely one of a kind. Do me a favor and ignore the media which chooses to portray Israel, as a whole, as a very dangerous place. Please. I beg of you. A trip to Tel Aviv will touch and change your life regardless of your religion, race and social interests. All you need is an open mind, a passion for life, and the ability to speak English or Hebrew. And a love for hummus. LOTS of hummus.

Highlights from Tel Aviv, August 2007

Good People

Drinks at Claras with favorites Nelly and David

Drinks at Claras with favorites Nelly and David

In general, the people you meet in Tel Aviv are friendly, smiley and fun. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people and visiting friends I have made through the online gaming industry, but there are several individuals who went over and above the call of duty while I was in town. First and foremost, David, formerly of Euro Partners, now of Wingate Ventures, put a roof over my head, taught me fun Hebrew words such as "frecha" (not that he has dated any), introduced me to backgammon and hookah in Jaffa, and listened to my life story as we jogged along the ocean each night. Even though David might hide in his room and play weird computer games from time to time, I still love him and miss him dearly. One of David's closest friends, Daniel, the Swede from Euro Partners, was also an incredible host and somehow managed to fit me in his crazy busy schedule just about every day I was in town. There are very few people that I enjoy spending time with as much as I enjoy spending time with Daniel, even though I feared for my life when he took me for rides on his motorcycle. Ron from GrandBilliards.com is another friend I must mention as he brought me into his world from the minute I landed until the minute I left. Literally. Like, I went to the airport straight from his Saturday night Summer Soze party. All jokes aside, Ron was my official Tel Aviv nightlife tour guide and I will never forget the time and attention he dedicated to me while I was in town.

Nelly and Traffic Sales

Authentic Israeli hummus lunch with Traffic Sales

Authentic Israeli hummus lunch with Traffic Sales

There is another person who went so far beyond the call of duty that I would like to dedicate an entire paragraph to her and her company. Nelly, my main point of contact at Traffic Sales (the media arm of Euro Partners, responsible for the online and off line marketing for the platforms), picked me up from the airport, took me out for coffees, shopping, and drinking, called me every morning to make sure I was OK, brought me into the Traffic Sales/Euro Partners office for lunch and a tour, and treated me to an entire day at the spa. All thanks to Traffic Sales and her incredible friendship. When I came in to visit her office, Nelly and Warren (the head of Traffic Sales...Scottish...prefers sharing a room with Daniel when traveling) took me to an authentic Israeli restaurant for hummus, vegetables, spreads, poultry and meat. I enjoyed every minute of it. Throughout my days in Tel Aviv, Nelly became a very good friend of mine and I know we will remain in touch for the rest of our lives. She is one of the most incredible media buyers I have ever worked with and one of the most incredible people I have ever met in my life.

Claras and Other Adventures

Shots with Ron and Josh at Claras

Shots with Ron and Josh at Claras

The nightlife in Tel Aviv is unmatched by any other city I have visited. We are talking bars and clubs with the best looking crowds, the nicest people, the best music, all along the beach and open all night long. It is not normal. Every single night I was out until at least 3am, but more like 5 or 6am because I have friends like Jonathan and Sharon from 888.com, Kyoto's PR director Evan, Daniel from Euro Partners, Ron, David, Hilly, Josh, Nelly, Assaf, Sherri, Valerie, Rami...and the list goes on. As expected, I paid a visit to the infamous Claras two Thursday nights in a row and had a fabulous time, despite the fact that it was 1 million degrees outside and the place was crawling with French tourists. My second visit to Claras was arranged by Josh from Prime Casino who came straight from the airport to meet Ron from GrandBilliards.com, Hilly Rami and Keith from World Poker Tour, Tal from 21 Magic Casino and I. Too bad Josh remained at Claras for about 10 minutes before he announced his departure by claiming he had to "take care of some business", whatever that is supposed to mean.

Lunches and Dinners

Night out with Assaf and his wife, my BBQ hosts

Night out with Assaf and his wife, my BBQ hosts

Due to the fact that I have so many friends and business contacts in Tel Aviv, my lunches and dinners were booked solid for the 1.5 weeks I was in town. I was treated to lunch at an authentic Kosher restaurant by the World Poker Tour crowd (no post-lunch cappuccinos allowed!), more hummus in Old Jerusalem and a sushi dinner thanks to Shay from Rummy Royal, stuffed vine leaves with Tomer, an Absolute Poker player I met in the Bahamas, Tapas with Sharon from 888.com, and several dinners at Kyoto with Evan from Bestpaidaffiliates.com. Wait, no, I never went to Kyoto...but apparently I should have. In addition to many restaurant visits, my main point of contact from Vertical Traffic, Assaf, and his wife invited me to a BBQ at their house along with several friends. Yep. Didn't get home until 3am that night. Also, I was honored to receive an invite to an actual Shabbat dinner. The dinner table was surrounded by family and friends of all ages, people living in Panama, Montreal, Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Boston, and Paris, languages ranging from English to French to Hebrew, and more food and wine than you can imagine. The experience of a lifetime.

Office Visits

888.com friends and Evan, Kyoto's #1 fan

888.com friends and Evan, Kyoto's #1 fan

During my time in Tel Aviv I could not help but arrange a few office visits, even though this trip was supposed to be a "vacation". I was able to walk to the Casino Pays office from David's apartment for a quick visit, I took the full tour of the Traffic Sales and Euro Partners office thanks to Nelly, Warren and Mark, I actually had to turn down a visit to the 10 bet office but my contact Lennart met me for coffee instead, and I also had the opportunity to check out the brand new 888.com office in Herzliya. Let me tell you, this 888.com office is pretty nice...these guys have a prime spot near the ocean, they have a running club, they have funky new furniture, a plethora of 888.com branded decorations, and a very nice rooftop. Oh, and get this...the rooftop includes not only a pool, but a hot tub, spa, open bar and DJ. No messing around over there!!

Security

The coastline of Tel Aviv.  Safe and beautiful

The coastline of Tel Aviv. Safe and beautiful

I am sure most of you are wondering if Tel Aviv is a safe place to visit and what the security is like. First of all, I felt safer on the streets of Tel Aviv than I feel walking to my car every morning in South Boston. I cannot even begin to tell you the number of times I walked home alone in the middle of the night without one ounce of hesitation or fear. Before entering a large public area such as a mall or restaurant your bag might get searched, but you will not see police roaming the streets with machine guns because Tel Aviv does not need it. The airport security is pretty intense however, and I do not recommend facing security at Ben Gurion straight from a night at the club. Why? I was so out of it when checking in at the Alitalia ticket counter that I pulled off the security clearance tags by accident when pulling off my luggage tags from my previous flight. So guess what...I had to go through round one of security AGAIN. This time around they went through every single item in my suitcases, no exaggeration. Every single item! Lucky for me, the security personnel felt bad, probably due to the fact that I looked like hell, so Alitalia upgraded me to business class and I was personally escorted to my gate by one of the security guys. I even got to bypass security checkpoint number two. It's because I'm a young, small, white, non-threatening looking American girl, I know.

See why I love this country?

Highlights from Tel Aviv, August 2007: I want to marry a Jew is republished from iGamingAffiliatePrograms.com.
Rebecca Liggero

Rebecca Liggero loves meeting new people and traveling – perfect qualities for someone who has won friends and influenced people in the worldwide online gaming community.

After graduating from Bates College with a degree in psychology, Rebecca spent four years in Washington, DC, working in relationship management, dreaming all the while about someday making it big in online gaming. After turning down an opportunity to live in New Zealand, she moved back to Boston and signed on as Senior Account Manager for Casino City – the beginning of a dream come true!

Rebecca’s work on behalf of Casino City (and later for the GPWA as well) took her to trade shows and conferences everywhere – Amsterdam, Barcelona, Costa Rica, Montreal, London, Las Vegas, Macau and many other ports of call – and along the way she began chronicling her incredible around-the-clock adventures in a wildly entertaining and industry-savvy weekly column that quickly became – and still remains – must reading for everyone who is anyone in online gaming. Following almost three years with the Casino City team, Rebecca spent a few months at Everest Affiliates where she was the Brand Manager of the affiliate program. While working on “the other side,” she realized that she truly missed her weekly column and the affiliate side of the business and decided to return to the Casino City family.

One and a half years later, Rebecca resigned from Casino City and joined industry icon Calvin Ayre to serve as the Bodog Global Brand Ambassador and the head on-site reporter for the online gambling industry tablog, CalvinAyre.com. In her new capacity, Rebecca continues to travel the world, and when asked where she is based, her response is usually "on an airplane."

Contact Rebecca at rebecca@liggero.net. Be careful, though – she might quote you.
Rebecca Liggero
Rebecca Liggero loves meeting new people and traveling – perfect qualities for someone who has won friends and influenced people in the worldwide online gaming community.

After graduating from Bates College with a degree in psychology, Rebecca spent four years in Washington, DC, working in relationship management, dreaming all the while about someday making it big in online gaming. After turning down an opportunity to live in New Zealand, she moved back to Boston and signed on as Senior Account Manager for Casino City – the beginning of a dream come true!

Rebecca’s work on behalf of Casino City (and later for the GPWA as well) took her to trade shows and conferences everywhere – Amsterdam, Barcelona, Costa Rica, Montreal, London, Las Vegas, Macau and many other ports of call – and along the way she began chronicling her incredible around-the-clock adventures in a wildly entertaining and industry-savvy weekly column that quickly became – and still remains – must reading for everyone who is anyone in online gaming. Following almost three years with the Casino City team, Rebecca spent a few months at Everest Affiliates where she was the Brand Manager of the affiliate program. While working on “the other side,” she realized that she truly missed her weekly column and the affiliate side of the business and decided to return to the Casino City family.

One and a half years later, Rebecca resigned from Casino City and joined industry icon Calvin Ayre to serve as the Bodog Global Brand Ambassador and the head on-site reporter for the online gambling industry tablog, CalvinAyre.com. In her new capacity, Rebecca continues to travel the world, and when asked where she is based, her response is usually "on an airplane."

Contact Rebecca at rebecca@liggero.net. Be careful, though – she might quote you.