(Israel Twitter)Tel Aviv,Tel Aviv-Yafo,תֵּל־אָבִיב-יָפוֹ, Hebrew for "Spring Mound"-Jaffa, تل أبيب, Tall ʼAbīb), is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400.The city is situated on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline, on a land area of 51.4 square kilometres (19.8 sq mi). It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, home to 3.3 million residents as of 2010. The city is governed by the Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality, headed by Ron Huldai. Residents of Tel Aviv are referred to as Tel Avivim.
Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 on the outskirts of the ancient port city of Jaffa (Hebrew: יָפוֹ, Yafo; Arabic: يافا, Yaffa). The growth of Tel Aviv soon outpaced Jaffa, which was largely Arab at the time. Tel Aviv and Jaffa were merged into a single municipality in 1950, two years after the establishment of the State of Israel. Tel Aviv's White City, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, comprises the world's largest concentration of Bauhaus buildings.
The name Tel Aviv (literally "Spring Mound") (to imply Hertzl's Altneuland - Ancient New Land) was chosen in 1910 among many suggestions, including "Herzliya". Tel Aviv is the Hebrew title of Theodor Herzl's book Altneuland ("Old New Land"), translated from German by Nahum Sokolow. Sokolow took the name from Ezekiel 3:15: "Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel Aviv, that lived by the river Chebar, and to where they lived; and I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days."; this biblical Tel Aviv is an unidentified site in Mesopotamia and not the modern Tel Aviv. This name was found fitting as it embraced the idea of the renaissance of the ancient Jewish homeland. Aviv is Hebrew for "spring" (the season), symbolizing renewal, and tel is an archaeological site that reveals layers of civilization built one over the other. The name is also transliterated as Tel-Abib in the King James Bible.
Theories vary about the etymology of Jaffa or Yafo in Hebrew. Some believe that the name derives from yafah or yofi, Hebrew for "beautiful" or "beauty". Another tradition is that Japheth, son of Noah, founded the city and that it was named for him.
The ancient port of Jaffa changed hands many times in the course of history. Archeological excavations from 1955 to 1974 unearthed towers and gates from the Middle Bronze Age. Subsequent excavations, from 1997 onwards, helped date earlier discoveries. They also exposed sections of a packed-sandstone glacis and a "massive brick wall", dating from the Late Bronze Age as well as a temple "attributed to the Sea Peoples" and dwellings from the Iron Age. Remnants of buildings from the Persian, Hellenistic and Pharaonic periods were also discovered.
The city is first mentioned in letters from 1470 BCE that record its conquest by Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III. Jaffa is mentioned several times in the Bible, as the port from which Jonah set sail for Tarshish; as bordering on the territory of the Tribe of Dan; and as the port at which the wood for Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem arrived from Lebanon. According to some sources it has been a port for at least 4,000 years.
In 1099, the Christian armies of the First Crusade, led by Godfrey of Bouillon occupied Jaffa, which had been abandoned by the Muslims, fortified the town and improved its harbor. As the County of Jaffa, the town soon became important as the main sea supply route for the Kingdom of Jerusalem.Jaffa was captured by Saladin in 1192 but swiftly re-taken by Richard Coeur de Lion, who added to its defenses. In 1223, Emperor Frederick II added further fortications. Crusader domination ended in 1268, when the Mamluk Sultan Baibars captured the town, destroyed its harbor and razed its fortifications. To prevent further Crusader incursions, the city was ransacked in 1336, 1344 and 1346 by Nasir al-Din Muhammad. In the 16th century, Jaffa was conquered by the Ottomans and was administered as a village in the Sanjak of Gaza. Napoleon besieged the city in 1799 and killed scores of inhabitants; a plague epidemic followed, decimating the remaining population.
Under the British Mandate
Builder in Tel Aviv, 1920-1930
Under British administration, political friction between Jews and Arabs in Palestine increased. On May 1, 1921, the Jaffa Riots erupted and an Arab mob killed dozens of Jewish residents. In the wake of this violence, many Jews left Jaffa for Tel Aviv, increasing the population of Tel Aviv from 2,000 in 1920 to around 34,000 by 1925. New businesses opened in Tel Aviv, leading to the decline of Jaffa as a commercial center. In 1925, Patrick Geddes drew up a master plan for Tel Aviv that was adopted by the city council led by Meir Dizengoff. The core idea was the development of a Garden City. The boundaries he worked within, the Yarkon River in the North and Ibn Gvirol Street in the East, are still regarded as Tel Aviv's real city limits although it has since grown beyond them.
Tel Aviv continued to expand in 1926, but suffered an economic setback between 1927 and 1930. The Ben Gurion House was built in 1900-02, part of a new worker's housing development. At the same time, cultural life was given a boost by the establishment of the Ohel Theater and the decision of Habima Theatre to make Tel Aviv its permanent base in 1931. Tel Aviv gained municipal status in 1934. The population rose dramatically during the Fifth Aliyah when the Nazis came to power in Germany. As the Jews fled Europe, many settled in Tel Aviv, bringing the population in 1937 to 150,000, compared to Jaffa's 69,000 residents. Within two years, it had reached 160,000, which was over a third of the country's total Jewish population. Many new immigrants remained after disembarking in Jaffa, turning the city into a center of urban life. In the wake of the 1936–39 Arab revolt, a local port independent of Jaffa was built in 1938, and Lydda Airport (later Ben Gurion Airport) and Sde Dov Airport opened between 1937 and 1938.
After Israeli independence
The inauguration of the Yarkon Bridge, which crosses the Yarkon River, in 1958
When Israel declared Independence on May 14, 1948, the population of Tel Aviv was over 200,000. Tel Aviv was the temporary government center of the State of Israel until the government moved to Jerusalem in December 1949. Due to the international dispute over the status of Jerusalem, most foreign embassies remained in or near Tel Aviv. In the early 1980s, 13 embassies in Jerusalem moved to Tel Aviv as part of the UN's measures responding to Israel's 1980 Jerusalem Law. Today, all but two embassies are in Tel Aviv or environs. The boundaries of Tel Aviv and Jaffa became a matter of contention between the Tel Aviv municipality and the Israeli government in 1948. The former wished to incorporate only the northern Jewish suburbs of Jaffa, while the latter wanted a more complete unification. The issue also had international sensitivity, since the main part of Jaffa was in the Arab portion of the United Nations Partition Plan, whereas Tel Aviv was not, and no armistice agreements had yet been signed. On 10 December 1948, the government announced the annexation to Tel Aviv of Jaffa's Jewish suburbs, the ex-Arab neighborhood of Abu Kabir, the ex-Arab village of Salama and some of its agricultural land, and the Jewish 'Hatikva' slum. On 25 February 1949, the abandoned Arab village of Sheikh Muanis was also annexed to Tel Aviv. On 18 May 1949, Manshiya and part of Jaffa's central zone were added, for the first time including land that had been in the Arab portion of the UN partition plan. The government voted on the unification of Tel Aviv and Jaffa on 4 October 1949, but the decision was not implemented until 24 April 1950 due to the opposition of Tel Aviv mayor Israel Rokach. The name of the unified city was Tel Aviv until 19 August 1950, when it was renamed Tel Aviv-Yafo in order to preserve the historical name Jaffa. Tel Aviv thus grew to 42 square kilometers (16.2 sq mi). In 1949, a memorial to the 60 founders of Tel Aviv was constructed. Over the past 60 years, Tel Aviv has developed into a secular, liberal-minded center with a vibrant nightlife and café culture.
Tel Aviv has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification: Csa), with hot, humid summers, unpredictable springs and autumns, and cool, rainy winters. Humidity tends to be high year-round due to the city lying on the coast. In winter, average temperatures are usually between 9 °C (48 °F) and 17 °C (63 °F), with temperatures as low as 5 °C (41 °F) occurring on average 2.1 days a year and as high as 20 °C (68 °F) occurring several times a winter. The highest rainfall in one month was 424.9 mm on January 2000. The highest rainfall in 24 hours was 133 mm on November 8th 1955. In summer, the average is 26 °C (79 °F), with daytime temperatures sometimes exceeding 32 °C (90 °F). Despite the high humidity, precipitation during summertime is rare. Tel Aviv averages 530.7 millimeters (20.9 in) of precipitation annually, which mostly occurs during autumn, winter and spring. Winter is the wettest season, yet snow is extremely rare, with the last recorded snowfall within city limits occurring in February 1950. Tel Aviv enjoys plenty of sunshine and long daytime hours with more than 300 sunny days a year.
Tel Aviv is divided into nine districts that have formed naturally over the city's short history. The oldest of these is Jaffa, the ancient port city out of which Tel Aviv grew. This area is traditionally made up demographically of a greater percentage of Arabs, but recent gentrification is replacing them with a young professional and artist population. Similar processes are occurring in nearby Neve Tzedek, the original Jewish neighborhood outside of Jaffa. Ramat Aviv, a district in the northern part of the city, that is largely made up of luxury apartments and includes the Tel Aviv University, is currently undergoing extensive expansion and is set to absorb the beachfront property of Sde Dov Airport after its decommissioning. The area known as HaKirya is the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) headquarters and a large military base.
Historically, there was a demographic split between the European northern side of the city, including the district of Ramat Aviv, and the southern, more Sephardi and Mizrahi neighborhoods including Neve Tzedek and Florentin.
The city has a population of 404,400 spread over a land area of 51,400 dunams (51.4 km2) (20 mi²), yielding a population density of 7,606 people per square kilometer (19,699 per square mile). According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), as of 2009 Tel Aviv's population is growing at an annual rate of 0.5%. Jews of all backgrounds form 91.8% of the population, Muslim and Palestinian Christians make up 4.2%, and the remainder belong to other groups (including various non-Arab Christians and various non-Jewish Asians).As a multicultural city, many languages are spoken in addition to Hebrew. According to some estimates, about 50,000 unregistered Asian foreign workers live in the city.Compared with Westernised cities, crime in Tel Aviv is relatively low. According to Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, the average income in the city, which has an unemployment rate of 6.9%, is 20% above the national average. The city's education standards are above the national average: of its 12th-grade students, 64.4% are eligible for matriculation certificates. The age profile is relatively even, with 22.2% aged under 20, 18.5% aged 20–29, 24% aged 30–44, 16.2% aged between 45 and 59, and 19.1% older than 60.
Tel Aviv's population reached a peak in the early 1960s at around 390,000, falling to 317,000 in the late 1980s as high property prices forced families out and deterred young couples from moving in. Since the mass immigration from the former Soviet Union in the 1990s, population has steadily grown. Today, the city's population is young and growing. In 2006, 22,000 people moved to the city, while only 18,500 left,and many of the new families had young children. The population is expected to reach 450,000 by 2025; meanwhile, the average age of residents fell from 35.8 in 1983 to 34 in 2008. The population over age 65 stands at 14.6% compared with 19% in 1983.
The city has its fair share of houses of worship, including 544 active synagogues with daily prayers,including historic buildings such as the Great Synagogue, established in the 1930s. In 2008, a center for secular Jewish Studies and a secular yeshiva opened in the city. Tensions between religious and secular Jews before the gay pride parade ended in vandalization of a synagogue.One of the city's famous landmarks is the Hassan Bek Mosque, on the Tel Aviv beachfront. The number of churches has grown to accommodate the religious needs of diplomats and foreign workers.
The population is 93 percent Jewish, 1 percent Muslim, and 1 percent Christian. The remaining 5 percent are not classified by religion.Israel Meir Lau is chief rabbi of the city.
Tel Aviv was built on sand dunes, so that farming was not profitable, and maritime commerce was centered in Haifa and Ashdod. Instead, the city developed as a center of business and scientific research.Economic activities account for 17 percent of GDP.
Yoo Towers, a luxury apartment complex
The city has been called a "flourishing technological center" by Newsweek and a "miniature Los Angeles" by The Economist. In 1998, the city was described by Newsweek as one of the top 10 most technologically influential cities in the world. Since then, high-tech industry in the Tel Aviv area has continued to develop. The Tel Aviv metropolitan area (including satellite cities such as Herzliya and Petah Tikva) is Israel's center of high-tech, sometimes referred to as Silicon Wadi.
Tel Aviv is home to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE), Israel's only stock exchange, which has reached record heights since the 1990s. The Tel Aviv Stock exchange has also gained attention for its resilience and ability to recover from war and disasters. For example, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange was higher on the last day of both the 2006 Lebanon war and the 2009 Operation in Gaza then on the first day of fighting Many international venture-capital firms, scientific research institutes and high-tech companies are headquartered in the city. Industries in Tel Aviv include chemical processing, textile plants and food manufacturers.The city's nightlife, cultural attractions and architecture attract tourists whose spending benefits the local economy.
In 2008, the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC) at Loughborough University reissued an inventory of world cities based on their level of advanced producer services. Tel Aviv was ranked as a beta+ world city.
According to Forbes, nine of its fifteen Israeli-born billionaires live in Israel; four live in Tel Aviv and its suburbs. The cost of living in Israel is high, with Tel Aviv being its most expensive city to live in. According to Mercer, a human resources consulting firm based in New York, as of 2010 Tel Aviv is the most expensive city in the Middle East and the 19th most expensive in the world.
Named by Out Magazine "the gay capital of the Middle East", Tel Aviv has a well-established LGBT community. American journalist David Kaufman has described the city as a place “packed with the kind of ‘we're here, we're queer’ vibe more typically found in Sydney and San Francisco.” The city hosts an annual pride parade, the biggest in Asia, attracting large crowds. Early 2008 saw the city hosting Israel's first sex festival. In January 2008, Tel Aviv's municipality established the city's LGBT Community Center, providing all of the municipal and cultural services to the LGBT community under one roof. In December 2008, Tel Aviv began putting together a team of gay and lesbian athletes for the 2009 World Outgames in Copenhagen. Moreover, Tel Aviv hosts a yearly LGBT Film Festival.
Tel Aviv's LGBT community is the subject of Eytan Fox's 2006 film The Bubble.
Tel Aviv has become an international center of fashion and design. It has been called the “next hot destination” for fashion. Israeli designers, such as swimwear company Gottex show their collections at leading fashion shows, including New York’s Bryant Park fashion show.
Tel Aviv is the only city with three clubs in Israeli Premier League, the country's top football league. Maccabi Tel Aviv Sports Club was founded in 1906 and competes in more than 10 sport fields. Its basketball team, Maccabi Tel Aviv, is a world-known professional team, that holds 47 Israeli titles, has won 36 editions of the Israel cup, and has five European Championships, and its football team has won 18 Israeli league titles and has won 22 State Cups, two Toto Cups and two Asian Club Championships. Yael Arad, an athlete in Maccabi's judo club, won a silver medal in the 1992 Olympic Games.
Hapoel Tel Aviv Sports Club, founded in 1923, comprises more than 11 sports clubs, including Hapoel Tel Aviv Football Club (13 championships, 11 State Cups, one Toto Cup and once Asian champions) which plays in Bloomfield Stadium, men's and women's basketball clubs. Bnei Yehuda (once Israeli champion, twice State Cup winners and twice Toto Cup winner) is the only Israeli football team in the top division that represents a neighborhood, the Hatikva Quarter in Tel Aviv, and not a city. Shimshon Tel Aviv and Beitar Tel Aviv both formerly played in the top division, but dropped into the lower leagues, and merged in 2000, the new club now playing in Liga Artzit, the third tier. Another former first division team, Maccabi Jaffa, is now defunct, as are Maccabi HaTzefon Tel Aviv, Hapoel HaTzefon Tel Aviv and Hakoah Tel Aviv, who merged with Maccabi Ramat Gan and moved to Ramat Gan in 1959.