News / City Life

An Israeli salute to: Ethiopia, Africa

Ethiopia flag
© Shutterstock


Gili Yalo, 36 years old, is a musician who combines his Ethiopian roots with jazz, funk, soul, and world music



Favorite word in Amharic: fek’er (love) - Favorite word in Hebrew: Ahava (love) -
© Michael Topyol


Gili Yalo discovered music at the age of four during his arduous journey from Ethiopia to Sudan, and eventually, Israel. The young Yalo sang the whole way there and his musical path only flourished once arriving in Israel, where he continues to produce new material – “Israel is a very tense place. It makes you get up every morning and do your very best to try to stay relevant.” Yalo admires the Israeli music scene, though wishes he could import the scenic Ethiopian landscape (featured in his just-released, self-titled debut solo album’s music videos) to match. On most nights, you can find him at Rothschild 12 or the Jackson in Florentine, or at an under-the-radar bar in Neve Sha’anan owned by Eritrean and Sudanese refugees where he loves to “hang out and explore new cultures.” 


Catch Gili’s album release show at the Barby on December 20.

Find a local slice

  • Embrace the rhythms of West Africa at Tel Aviv’s weekly drum circle hosted by TamTam at the Dolphinarium Beach every Friday afternoon.
  • Throw all caution–and cutlery–to the wind and dip into the Kerem for a traditional Ethiopian meal at Balinjera. The charming eatery offers vegan and veggie casseroles, meat dishes, authentic beer, and a colorful array of side dishes. This communal culinary custom of eating with your hands shows respect for your friends and family.
  • Gather around the table of Tenat for a homey vegan Ethiopian feast. Set your sights on the injera bread, a gigantic sourdough flatbread resembling a spongy pancake made from nutrient-rich teff flour, topped with an assortment of slow-cooked stews and toppings.
  • Isaac and Orna Yvel’s “Megemeria” collection (meaning “Genesis” in Amharic) on is a unique line of contemporary gold-plated brass jewelry, inspired by Ethiopian immigrants’ pasts and futures. Many of the designs feature hopeful Amharic messages, such as: “forever,” “love,” and “friendship.”


Here’s a TIP:

Check out Menilik (4 Ben Avidgor St), a cool venue bringing in musicians from Ethiopia for monthly shows.

And, that’s not all!


Get lost in the winding roads of Neve Tzedek and find yourself in a Moroccan riad. Ewa Safi is adorned with colorful ceramics and vibrant purple sofas that beckon diners to unwind with traditional North African fair. Try their lamb tagine served on a bed of fluffy couscous.


Nothing like some decorative relics to remind you of home. Inspired by a natural spring in the mountains of Sinai, Washwashi ( imports eco-friendly furniture, textiles, and home accessories from Egypt to leave you dreaming of clear blue waters and Sinai's red sands.

South Africa

While Bunny Chow is the obvious place to find Savanna Dry, the go-to South African cider can also be found sprinkled around other Shuk HaCarmel market stalls like Arepa's.


Kuchinate, an African Refugee Women's Collective, incorporates art-making and financial stability for single and pregnant mothers in Israel. The women handmake beautifully-colored crocheted baskets and rugs (Kuchinate means “crochet” in Tigrinia). Their studio in South Tel Aviv is open to the public for sales and workshops in learning the technique, and they also host a series of pop-up shops in different locations throughout the year.