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Tel Aviv-Yafo (Hebrew: תֵּל־אָבִיב-יָפוֹ; , Tall ʼAbīb), usually called Tel Aviv, is the second largest city in Israelmarker, with an estimated population of 391,300. The city is situated on the Israeli Mediterranean coast, with a land area of . It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Danmarker, home to 3.15 million people as of 2008. The city is governed by the Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality, headed by Ron Huldai.

Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 on the outskirts of the ancient port city of Jaffamarker ( , Yafo; , 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 Citymarker, designated a UNESCOmarker World Heritage Site in 2003, comprises the world's largest concentration of Modernist-style buildings.

Tel Aviv is classified as a beta+ world city, a major economic hub and the richest city in Israel, home to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and many corporate offices and research and development centers. Its beaches, bar, cafés, restaurants, upscale shopping, great weather and cosmopolitan lifestyle have led to it being a popular tourist destination for domestic and overseas visitors alike, and given way to its reputation as a "Mediterranean metropolis that never sleeps". It is the country's financial capital and a major performing arts and business center. Tel Aviv's urban area is the Middle East's second biggest city economy, and is ranked 42nd among global cities by Foreign Policy's 2008 Global Cities Index. It is also the most expensive city in the region, and 17th most expensive city in the world. New Yorkmarker-based writer and editor David Kaufman called it the "Mediterranean’s New Capital of Cool".


The name Tel Aviv (literally "Hill of Spring") was chosen in 1910 from 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 the Book of Ezekiel: "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 name was found fitting as it embraced the idea of the renaissance of the ancient Jewish homeland. Aviv is Hebrew for "spring", symbolizing renewal, and tel is an archaeological site that reveals layers of civilization built one over the other. 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 name is also transliterated as Tel-Abib in the King James Bible.



The ancient port of Jaffa
The ancient port of Jaffamarker has 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 Templemarker in Jerusalemmarker 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 become 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 Mamlukmarker 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.

Jaffa began to grow as an urban center in the early 18th century, when the Ottoman government in Constantinople intervened to guard the port and reduce attacks by Bedouins and pirates. However, the real expansion came during the 19th century, when the population grew from 2,500 in 1806 to 17,000 in 1886.
Tel Aviv was founded on land purchased from Bedouins north of Jaffa.
This photograph is of the 1909 auction of the first lots
From 1800 to 1870, Jaffa was surrounded by walls and towers, which were torn down to allow for expansion as security improved. The sea wall, high, remained intact until the 1930s, when it was built over during a renovation of the port by the British Mandatory authorities. During the mid-19th century, the city grew prosperous from trade, especially of silk and Jaffa oranges, with Europe. In the 1860s Jaffa's small Sephardic community was joined by Jews from Moroccomarker and small numbers of European Ashkenazi Jews, making by 1882 a total Jewish population of more than 1,500.

During the 1880s, Ashkenazi immigration to Jaffa increased with the onset of the First Aliyah. The new arrivals were motivated more by Zionism than religion and came to farm the land and engage in productive labor. In keeping with their pioneer ideology, some chose to settle in the sand dunes north of Jaffa. The beginning of modern-day Tel Aviv is marked by the construction of Neve Tzedekmarker, a neighborhood built by Ashkenazi settlers between 1887 and 1896.
Jaffa view from Tel Aviv

Urban development

The Second Aliyah led to further expansion. In 1906, a group of Jews, among them residents of Jaffa, headed by Akiva Arye Weiss, banded together to build a new garden suburb on the outskirts of Jaffa. The goal of the Ahuzat Bayit (lit. "homestead") society was to build a "Hebrew urban centre in a healthy environment, planned according to the rules of aesthetics and modern hygiene". In 1908, the group purchased of dunes northeast of Jaffa which were divided into 60 plots. Meir Dizengoff, who later became Tel Aviv's first mayor, was a member of Ahuzat Bayit. His vision for Tel Aviv involved peaceful co-existence with the Arabs.

Worker carrying bricks in Tel Aviv, 1920-1930
In April 1909, sixty-six Jewish families gathered on a desolate sand dune on what is now Rothschild Boulevard to parcel out the land by lottery using seashells. The lottery was organised by Akiva Arye Weiss, the president of the association. Weiss had an original idea, the names of the families were inscribed on white shells and the plot number on gray shells. Within a year, Herzl, Ahad Ha'am, Yehuda Halevi, Lilienblum, and Rothschild streets were built; a water system was installed; and 66 houses (including some on six subdivided plots) were completed. At the end of Herzl Street, a plot was allocated for a new building for the Herzliya Hebrew High Schoolmarker, founded in Jaffa in 1906. On May 21, 1910, the name Tel Aviv was adopted. Tel Aviv was planned as a European-style garden suburb of Jaffa, with wide streets and boulevards.

By 1914, Tel Aviv had grown to include more than , including several new neighborhoods. However, growth halted in 1917 when the Ottoman authorities expelled the Jews of Jaffa. A report published in The New York Times by United States Consul Garrels in Alexandria, Egyptmarker described the incident where Jaffa deportation of early April 1917. The orders of evacuation were aimed chiefly at the Jewish population.

Under the British Mandate

Under British administration, the 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 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 grow in 1926 but suffered an economic setback between 1927 and 1930. At the same time, cultural life was given a boost by the establishment of the Ohel Theater and the decision of Habima Theatremarker 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 Lod Airportmarker (later Ben Gurion Airport) and Sde Dov Airportmarker opened between 1937 and 1938.
Tel Aviv's White Citymarker, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004, emerged in the 1930s. Many of the German Jewish architects trained at the Bauhaus, the Modernist school of architecture closed by the Nazis in 1933, fled Germany. Some, like architect Arieh Sharon, came to Palestine and adapted the architectural outlook of the Bauhaus as well as other similar schools, to local conditions, creating what is claimed to be the largest concentration of buildings in the International Style in the world.

Starting in July 1940, Tel Aviv was a major target of the Italian Bombing of Palestine in World War II. On 9 September 1940, bombing of Tel Aviv caused 137 deaths.

According to the 1947 UN Partition Plan that proposed dividing Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, Tel Aviv, by then a city of 230,000, was slated for inclusion in the Jewish state. Jaffa with, as of 1945, a population of 101,580 people, 53,930 of whom were Muslim and 16,800 Christian, making up the Arab population, and 30,820 Jewish, was designated as part of the Arab state. The Arabs, however, rejected the partition plan. Between 1947 and 1948, tensions grew on the border between Tel Aviv and Jaffa, with Arab snipers who were firing at Jews from the "minaret" of the Hassan Bek Mosquemarker. The Haganah and Irgun Jewish forces retaliated with a siege on Jaffa. From April 1948, the Arab residents began to leave. When Jaffa was conquered by Israeli forces on May 14, few remained.

After Israeli independence

By the time of Israel's Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948, the population of Tel Aviv had risen to more than 200,000.Tel Aviv was the temporary government center of the State of Israel until the government moved to Jerusalem in December 1949. However, 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 of the national embassies are in Tel Aviv or the surrounding district.

The boundaries of Tel Aviv and Jaffa became a matter of dispute between the Tel Aviv municipality and the Israeli government during 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 Muanismarker was also annexed to Tel Aviv. On 18 May 1949, the former Arab neighborhood of 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 decided on a permanent unification of Tel Aviv and Jaffa on 4 October 1949, but the actual unification was delayed until 24 April 1950 due to concerted opposition from Tel Aviv's mayor Israel Rokach. The name of the unified city was Tel Aviv until 19 August 1950, when it was renamed as Tel Aviv-Yafo in order to preserve the historical name Jaffa.

Tel Aviv thus grew to . 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 city with a vibrant nightlife and café culture.

In the 1960s, some of Tel Aviv's older buildings were demolished and replaced by the country's first high-rises, among them the Shalom Meir Towermarker, which was Israel's tallest building until 1999. Tel Aviv's population peaked in the early 1960s at 390,000, representing 16 percent of the country's total. A long period of steady decline followed, however, and by the late 1980s the city had an aging population of 317,000. High property prices pushed families out and deterred young people from moving in.

At this time, gentrification began in the poor neighborhoods of South Tel Aviv, and the old port in the north was renewed. New laws were introduced to protect Modernist buildings, and efforts to preserve them were aided by UNESCOmarker recognition of the Tel Aviv's White City as a world heritage site. In the early 1990s, the decline in population was reversed, partially due to the large wave of immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Tel Aviv also began to emerge as a high-tech center. The construction of many skyscrapers and high-tech office buildings followed. In 1993, Tel Aviv was categorized as a world city. The city is regarded as a strong candidate for global city status.

On November 4, 1995, Israel's prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, was assassinatedmarker at a rally in Tel Aviv in support of the Oslo peace accord. The outdoor plaza where this occurred, formerly known as Kikar Malchei Yisrael, was renamed Rabin Squaremarker.

Tel Aviv has suffered from violence by Palestinian militant groups since the post-First Intifada period. The first suicide attack in Tel Aviv occurred on October 19, 1994, on the Line 5 bus, when a bomber killed himself and 21 civilians as part of a Hamas suicide campaign. The most deadly attack occurred on June 1, 2001, during the Second Intifada, when a suicide bomb exploded inside a nightclub called the Dolphi Discomarker, and 21 were killed and more than 100 were injured. The most recent attack in the city occurred on April 17, 2006, when nine people were killed and at least 40 wounded in a suicide bombing near the old central bus station in Tel Aviv.

In recent years, Tel Aviv has become more environmentally aware. City lights were turned off in support of Earth Hour in March 2008. In February 2009, the municipality launched a water saving campaign, including competition granting free parking for a year to the household that is found to have consumed the least amount of water per person.

Historical materials

In 2009, Tel Aviv celebrated its official centennial. In addition to city- and country-wide celebrations, this anniversary saw the public release of several significant digital collections of historical materials. These include the History section of the official Tel Aviv-Yafo Centennial Year website; the Ahuzat Bayit collection, which focuses on the founding families of Tel Aviv, and includes photographs and biographies; and Stanford Universitymarker's Eliasaf Robinson Tel Aviv Collection, documenting the history of the city. The last of these consists of several thousand photographs, postcards, posters, books, and other historical documents from the 100-year history of Tel Aviv.


Tel Aviv is located around on the Israeli Mediterranean coastal plain, the historic land bridge between Europe, Asia and Africa. Immediately north of the ancient port of Jaffa, Tel Aviv lies on land that used to be sand dunes and as such has relatively poor soil fertility. The land has been flattened and has no important gradients; its most notable geographical features are bluffs above the Mediterranean coastline and the Yarkon River mouth. Because of the expansion of Tel Aviv and the Gush Dan region, absolute borders between Tel Aviv and Jaffa and between the city's neighborhoods do not exist. The city is northwest of Jerusalem and south of the northern port city of Haifamarker. Neighboring cities and towns include Herzliyamarker to the north, Ramat HaSharonmarker to the northeast, Ramat Ganmarker and Giv'atayimmarker to the east, Holonmarker to the southeast, and Bat Yammarker to the south. The city is economically stratified between the north and south. South Tel Aviv is generally poor, with the exception of the Neve Tzedekmarker neighborhood and some recent development by the Jaffamarker beach. It also includes the city's "downtown." Central Tel Aviv includes Tel Aviv's Azrieli Centermarker and is also an important financial and commerce district that stretches along the part of Ramat Ganmarker on the Ayalon Highway. The northern side of Tel Aviv is home to Tel Aviv Universitymarker and some of Tel Aviv's most expensive upper class residential neighborhoods. The prosperity of the north stretches to neighboring Herzliya Pituah, Ramat HaSharonmarker, and Kfar Shmaryahumarker.


Tel Aviv has a Mediterranean climate with hot, humid summers, erratic, yet pleasant springs and autumns, and typically cool, wet winters (Köppen climate classification Csa). Humidity tends to be high year-round due to the city's proximity to the sea. In winter, average temperatures are usually between and , with temperatures as low as on the coldest bright winter mornings. The city has not experienced proper snow since 1950. In summer the average is , with daytime temperatures sometimes exceeding . Despite the high humidity, precipitation during summertime is rare. Tel Aviv receives of precipitation annually which usually occur from September to April. Tel Aviv experiences on average more than 300 sunny days a year. The record high temperature the city has seen is , whilst the city's record low is .


Tel Aviv is divided into nine districts that have formed naturally over the city's short history. The most notable 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 population. Similar processes are occurring in nearby Neve Tzedekmarker, the original Jewish neighborhood outside of Jaffa. Ramat Avivmarker, a district in the northern part of the city largely made up of luxury apartments and including 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 HaKiryamarker 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 Avivmarker, and the southern, more Sephardi and Mizrahi neighborhoods including Neve Tzedekmarker and Florentinmarker.

Since the 1980s, however, restoration and gentrification have taken place on a large scale in the southern neighborhoods, making them some of the city’s most desirable neighborhoods for the more prosperous north Tel Avivis. In north Tel Aviv, the old port area, which had become run-down since the port was decommissioned in 1965, also saw an urban revival, becoming an upmarket area with shops and restaurants.


Bauhaus Museum

The early architecture of Tel Aviv consisted largely of European-style single-story houses with red-tiled roofs. Neve Tzedekmarker, the first neighborhood to be constructed outside of Jaffa is characterised by two-story sandstone buildings. By the 1920s, a new eclectic Orientalist style came into vogue, combining European architecture with Middle Eastern features such as arches, domes and ornamental tiles. Municipal construction followed the "garden city" master plan drawn up by Patrick Geddes. Two- and three-story buildings were interspersed with boulevards and public parks.


Bauhaus architecture was introduced in the 1920s and 1930s by German Jewish architects who settled in Palestine after the rise of the Nazis. Tel Aviv's White Citymarker, around the city center, contains more than 5,000 Modernist-style buildings inspired by the Bauhaus school and Le Corbusier. Construction of these buildings, later declared protected landmarks and, collectively, a UNESCOmarker World Heritage Site, continued until the 1950s in the area around Rothschild Boulevardmarker. Some 3,000 buildings were created in this style between 1931 and 1939 alone.


In the 1960s, this architectural style gave way to office towers and a chain of waterfront hotels and commercial skyscrapers. Some of the city's Modernist buildings were neglected to the point of ruin. Before legislation to preserve this landmark architecture, many of the old buildings were demolished. In recent years, efforts have been made to refurbish Bauhaus buildings and restore them to their original condition. Tel Aviv has become a hub of modern high-rise architecture due to the soaring price of real-estate in the city. The Shalom Meir Towermarker, Israel's first skyscraper, was built in Tel Aviv in 1965 and remained the country's tallest building until 1999. The Azrieli Centermarker, composed of three buildings— one square, one triangular, and one circular—usurped that title. Since 2001, Israel's tallest building is the City Gate Towermarker, which is located in the neighboring city of Ramat Ganmarker, although the country's tallest wholly residential building, the Neve Tzedek Towermarker, is in Tel Aviv. New neighborhoods such as the Park Tzameretmarker are being constructed to house luxury apartment towers including YOO Tel Avivmarker towers designed by Philippe Starck, while zones such as The southern Kirya are being developed with office towers. Other recent additions to Tel Aviv's skyline are the 1 Rothschild Tower, Be'eri Nahardea Tower and First International Bank Towermarker. Now, as Tel Aviv gears up to celebrate its centennial in 2009, the city is attracting a swirl of brand-name architects and developers, including I. M. Pei, Donald Trump, and Richard Meier, who have been flocking to this Bauhaus mecca to help create the next generation of iconic landmarks. American journalist David Kaufman reported in New York magazine that since Tel Aviv “was named a UNESCO World Heritage site, gorgeous historic buildings from the Ottoman and Bauhaus era have been repurposed as fabulous hotels, eateries, boutiques, and design museums.”

Green architecture

A few years ago, Tel Aviv's municipality transformed a derelict power station into a garden and pedestrian walkway, paving the way for eco-friendly and environmentally conscious designs. In October 2008, Martin Weyl turned an old garbage dump near Ben Gurion International Airportmarker, called Hiriyamarker, into an attraction by building an arc of plastic bottles. The site, which was renamed Ariel Sharon Park to honor Israel’s former prime minister, will serve as the centerpiece in what is to become a 2,000-acre urban wilderness on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, designed by German landscape architect, Peter Latz.


At the end of the 20th century,the city council awakened to the advantages of restoring the buildings of its earliest neighborhood, Neve Tzedek, the historicist buildings of the 1920s, and the long-neglected Bauhaus architecture of the 1930s.


Towers in Southern Kirya district
City of Tel Aviv
Population by year
1920 2,000
1925 34,000
1937 150,000
1939 160,000
1948 200,000
1960 390,000
1989 317,000
2009 391,300

The city has a population of 391,300 spread over a land area of (20 mi²), yielding a population density of 7,533 people per square kilometer (19,510 per square mile). According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), as of June 2006 Tel Aviv's population is growing at an annual rate of 0.9%. Jews of all backgrounds form 91.8% of the population, Muslim and Christians Arabs 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 within its borders, alongside Hebrew. These include Russian, French, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, Arabic, Amharic and English. According to some estimates, about 50,000 unregistered Asian foreign workers live in the city. Compared with other 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 qualification received by high school graduates. 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, its population has resumed steady growth. 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 of Tel Aviv is expected to reach 450,000 by 2025; meanwhile, the average age of residents in the city fell from 35.8 in 1983 to 34 in 2008. The population over age 65 stands at 14.6% compared with 19% in 1983.


Though Tel Aviv has an image as a secular city, it contains numerous houses of worship. There are 544 active synagogues with daily prayers,including historic buildings such as the Great Synagoguemarker, established in the 1930s.

In recent years, a center for secular Jewish Studies and a "secular yeshiva" have opened in the city. Tensions between religious and secular Jews before the gay pride parade ended in vandalization of a synagogue.

One of Tel Aviv's famous landmarks is the Hassan Bek Mosquemarker, on the beachfront. Jaffa is home to sizable Muslim and Christian populations. The number of churches has grown in recent years to accommodate the religious needs of diplomats and foreign workers.

The Tel Aviv District 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 Stock Exchange

Forty percent of national employment in finance and 25 percent of national employment in business services is in the city.Since Tel Aviv was built on sand dunes, farming was not profitable and maritime commerce was centered in Haifamarker and Ashdodmarker. Instead, the city gradually developed as a center for scientific and technical research. Tel Aviv emerged as a high-tech center in the 1990s. Economic activities in the city account for about 15 percent of national employment and about 17 percent of GDP. The economy of Tel Aviv has developed dramatically over the past decades. The city has been described as a flourishing technological center by Newsweek and a "miniature Los Angelesmarker" by The Economist. Many computer scientists, their numbers increased by immigration from the former Soviet Union since the early 1990s, live and work in Tel Aviv. 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 developed even more. The Tel Aviv metropolitan area (including satellite cities such as Herzliyamarker and Petah Tikvamarker) is Israel's center of high-tech and is 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. 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 Universitymarker has reissued an inventory of world cities based on their level of advanced producer services. Tel Aviv was ranked as a beta world city.

Nine of the fifteen Israeli billionaires live in Israel; four live in Tel Aviv or its suburbs, according to Forbes. 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 2008 Tel Aviv is the most expensive city in the Middle East and the 14th most expensive in the world. It falls just behind Singaporemarker and Parismarker and just ahead of Sydneymarker and Dublinmarker in this respect. By comparison, New York Citymarker is 22nd.

Israir Airlines has its headquarters in Tel Aviv.

Culture and contemporary life

Tourism and recreation

As a major Mediterraneanmarker center, Tel Aviv is a magnet for international tourism likened by some to Barcelonamarker and Miamimarker. It is described as a top international tourism destination by the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and the Toronto Star. According to the Tel Aviv Municipality, it has 44 hotels with more than 5,800 rooms. Tel Aviv has been called "the city that never sleeps" due to its thriving nightlife, young atmosphere and 24-hour culture.

Tel Aviv's largest public park is Hayarkon Parkmarker, with other smaller parks such as Meir Parkmarker and Dubnow Parkmarker, located within the city center area. Seventeen percent of the city is covered in plants. Dizengoff Centermarker was Israel's first mall. Tel Aviv has branches of some of the world's leading hotels, among them the Crowne Plaza, Sheraton, Dan, Isrotelmarker and Hilton. It is home to many museums, architectural and cultural sites, with city tours available in different languages. Apart from bus tours, there are architectural tours, Segway tours and walking tours. The nightlife centers particularly around the city's promenade area due to its many nightclubs and bars. NBA player Anthony Parker called Tel Aviv the best basketball city to go out in. The city has a wide variety of restaurants offering traditional Israeli dishes as well as international fare. More than 100 sushi restaurants, the third highest concentration in the world, do business in the city, and an Italian restaurant in Tel Aviv was called the best Italian restaurant outside of Italy by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture.

LGBT in Tel Aviv

Named by Out Magazine "the gay capital of the Middle East", Tel Aviv is the most liberal and accepting city in the region for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender-transsexuals with a well-established LGBT community. Americanmarker 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 Sydneymarker and San Franciscomarker.’The city hosts an annual pride parade, attracting thousands of goers, which is the biggest Gay Pride in Asia, and 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 Copenhagenmarker. The event is planned to feature a "Tel Aviv-style beach experience" to celebrate the city's upcoming centennial. Moreover, Tel Aviv hosts a yearly LGBT Film Festival.

On August 1, 2009, 2 persons were killed and 10 wounded, when a gunman opened fire at a group of teenagers at a LGBT community meeting place in the center of town.. The event was broadly covered by the Israeli media, and was widely condemned by many public figures. In a demonstration held on August 8, 2009, in Rabin Squaremarker in the city, with some tens of thousands of demonstrators, the President of Israel, Shimon Peres, reacted to the murder, stating that: "The horrifying murder that was carried out yesterday in Tel Aviv, against teenagers and young people, is a murder that a civilized and enlightened people can not accept. Murder and hatred are the two most serious crimes in society. The police must exert great efforts in order to catch the despicable murderer, and the entire nation must unite in condemning this abominable act." Peres called the culprit a "lowly criminal" and urged the police to apprehend him quickly..

Tel Aviv's LGBT community features prominently in Eytan Fox's 2006 film The Bubble


Over the past several years, Tel Aviv has become one of the international centers of fashion and design. Dov Alfon, editor-in-chief of Israel’s leading newspaper, Haaretz, calls Tel Aviv “one of the best-kept secrets in the world.” Others refer to it as the “next hot destination” for fashion. Israeli designers, such as swimwear company Gottex, can be found on the runways of some of the world’s most notorious fashion shows, including New York’s Bryant Parkmarker fashion show.


Tel Aviv is a major cultural center in Israel and within the region. Eighteen of Israel's 35 major centers for the performing arts are located in the city, including five of the country's nine large theaters, where 55% of all performances in the country and 75%of all attendance occurs. TheTel Aviv Performing Arts Centermarker is the home of the Israeli Opera, where Plácido Domingo was house tenor between 1962 and 1965, and the Cameri Theatermarker. With 2,760 seats, the Fredric R. Mann Auditorium (Culture Hall) is the city's largest theater. Habima Theatermarker, Israel's national theater, was closed down for renovations in early 2008. Enav Cultural Center is one of the newer additions to the cultural scene. Other theaters in Tel Aviv are the Gesher Theater and Beit Lessin Theater; Tzavta and Tmuna are smaller theaters that host musical performances and fringe productions. In Jaffa, the Simta and Notzar theaters specialize in fringe style.
Tel Aviv is home to a number of established dance centers and companies. The Batsheva Dance Company, a contemporary dance troupe, as well as Bat Dor and the Israel Ballet are also headquartered in Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv's center for modern and classical dance is the Suzanne Dellal Center in Neve Tzedekmarker.

The city often hosts pop and rock concerts with venues including Hayarkon Parkmarker and the Israel Trade Fairs & Convention Centermarker.

Opera and classical music performances are held daily in Tel Aviv, with many of the world's leading classical conductors and soloists performing on Tel Aviv stages over the years.

The Tel Aviv Cinemathèque screens art movies, premieres of short and full-length Israeli films, and hosts a variety of film festivals, among them the Festival of Animation, Comics and Caricatures, the Student Film Festival, the Jazz, Film and Videotape Festival and Salute to Israeli Cinema. The city has several multiplex cinema.


Israel is said to have the highest number of museums per capita of any country, three of the largest of which are in Tel Aviv. Among these are the Eretz Israel Museummarker, known for its collection of archaeology and history exhibits dealing with the Land of Israel, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Artmarker. Housed on the campus of Tel Aviv Universitymarker is the Beth Hatefutsothmarker, a museum of the international Jewish diaspora that tells the story of Jewish prosperity and persecution throughout the centuries of exile. Batey Haosef Museum specializes in Israel Defense Forces' military history. The Palmach Museum near Tel Aviv University offers a multimedia experience of the history of the Palmach as well as archives depicting the lives of Jewish soldiers who became Israel's first defenders. Near Charles Clore's garden in north Jaffa is a small museum of the Etzel Jewish militant organization, which conquered Jaffa in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The Israel Trade Fairs & Convention Centermarker, located in the northern part of the city, hosts more than 60 major events annually. Many offbeat museums and galleries operate in the city's southern areas, including the Tel Aviv Raw Art contemporary art gallery.


Tel Aviv is home to some of the top sports teams in Israel, including a world-class basketball team. It 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 sports. Its basketball team holds 47 Israeli titles, has won 36 editions of the Israel cup, and has five European Championships, and its football team has won 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 was founded in 1923 and has included more than 11 sports clubs, including the Hapoel Tel Aviv Football Club (13 championships, 11 State Cups, one Toto Cup and once Asian champions) which plays in Bloomfield Stadiummarker since 1950, men's and women's basketball clubs. Hapoel sports association which was affiliated with the Histadrut trade union, and supporters of the club were often referred to as communists. This is also one of the reasons Histadrut's Hapoel has is rivalry with Bourgeoisie Maccabi.

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 Quartermarker 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.

There are several clubs in the regional leagues from Tel Aviv suburbs, including Hapoel Kfar Shalem in the South Division of Liga Alef, Hapoel Ramat Yisrael in the South A Division of Liga Bet, and Beitar Ezra, Elitzur Jaffa Tel Aviv, Gadna Tel Aviv and Hapoel Kiryat Shalom, who play in the Tel Aviv Division of Liga Gimel.

Tel Aviv is also the home to Hapoel Ussishkin, a fan-owned basketball club founded in 2007 due to disagreements between the Hapoel Tel Aviv basketball club's management and the fans.

Two rowing clubs operate in Tel Aviv. The Tel Aviv Rowing Club, established as early as 1935 on the banks of the Yarkon River, is the largest rowing club in Israel. Meanwhile, the beaches of Tel Aviv provide a vibrant Matkot (beach paddleball) scene. Tel Aviv Lightning represent Tel Aviv in the Israel Baseball League. Tel Aviv also has an annual half marathon, run in 2008 by 10,000 athletes with runners coming from around the world.

In 2009, as part of the centennial celebrations, the Tel Aviv Marathon was revived after a 15 year hiatus, and attracted a field of 10,000 runners.


Tel Aviv Courthouse
Tel Aviv is governed by a 31-member city council elected for a five-year term in direct proportional elections. All Israeli citizens over the age of 18 with at least one year of residence in Tel Aviv are eligible to vote in municipal elections. The municipality is responsible for social services, community programs, public infrastructure, urban planning, tourism and other local affairs. The Tel Aviv City Hall is located at Rabin Squaremarker. As of 2008, Ron Huldai is mayor of Tel Aviv, having held that office since 1998. Huldai was reelected in the 2008 municipal elections, defeating Dov Henin's list. The longest serving mayor of the city was Shlomo Lahat, who was in office for 19 years. The shortest serving was David Bloch, in office for just two years, 1925–27.

The demographic split in the city has also created political divisions between the Labor Party, usually strongest in the north, and Likud and other right-wing and religious parties, usually strongest in the south. In the 2006 election, however this pattern changed when the new centrist Kadima party gained 28 percent of the city's vote, followed by Labor with 20 percent.


Mayors of Tel Aviv
Name Took office Left office
1 Meir Dizengoff 1921 1925
2 David Bloch 1925 1927
3 Meir Dizengoff 1928 1936
4 Israel Rokach 1936 1952
5 Haim Levanon 1953 1959
6 Mordechai Namir 1959 1969
7 Yehoshua Rabinowitz 1969 1974
8 Shlomo Lahat ("Chich") 1974 1993
9 Roni Milo 1993 1998
10 Ron Huldai 1998


Tel Aviv is home to many schools, colleges, and universities. As of 2006, 51,359 children attended school in Tel Aviv, of whom 8,977 were in municipal kindergartens, 23,573 in municipal elementary schools, and 18,809 in high schools. Sixty-four percent of students in the city are entitled to matriculation, more than 5 percent higher than the national average. Four thousand children are in first grade at schools in the city, and population growth is expected to raise this number to 6,000 by 2012. As a result, 20 additional kindergarten classes will open in 2008–09 in the city, while additional classes will be added at schools in north Tel Aviv. A new elementary school is planned north of Sde Dov as well as a new high school in north Tel Aviv.

Gymnasia Herzliyamarker moved from Jaffa to Tel Aviv in 1909. The school continues to operate, although has moved to Jabotinsky Street. Other notable schools in Tel Aviv include Shevah Mofetmarker, the second Hebrew school in the city, Ironi Alef and Alliance.

Tel Aviv's major institution for higher education is Tel Aviv Universitymarker. Together with Bar-Ilan Universitymarker in neighboring Ramat Ganmarker, the student population is more than 50,000, with a sizeable number of international students. Tel Aviv Universitymarker, founded in 1953, is now the largest university in Israel, internationally known for its physics, computer science, chemistry and linguistics departments. The campus is located in the neighborhood of Ramat Avivmarker. Tel Aviv also has several colleges.


Tel Aviv is a major transportation hub, with many major routes of the national road network passing through the city. The main highway leading to the city is the Ayalon Highway , which runs along the eastern side of the city from north to south along the Ayalon River riverbed, dividing for the most part Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan. Driving south on the Ayalon gives access to Highway 1, leading to Ben Gurion International Airportmarker and Jerusalem. Within the city, main routes include Kaplan Streetmarker, Allenby Streetmarker, Ibn Gabirol Streetmarker, Dizengoff Streetmarker, Rothschild Boulevardmarker, and in Jaffa the main route is Jerusalem Boulevard. Namir Road connects the city to Highway 2, Israel's main north–south highway, and Begin/Jabotinsky Road, which provides access from the east through Ramat Gan, Bnei Brakmarker and Petah Tikva. Tel Aviv, accommodating about 500,000 commuter cars daily, suffers from increasing congestion. In 2007, the Sadan Report recommended the introduction of a congestion charge similar to that of Londonmarker in Tel Aviv as well as other Israeli cities. Under this plan, road users traveling into the city would pay a fixed fee. Tel Aviv Municipality is trying to encourage the use of bicycles in the city, aiming to open 100 bicycle-rental stations to serve of bicycle paths. Plans call for expansion of the paths to by 2009.

Tel Aviv has four train stations along the Ayalon Highway. The stops are from north to south: University stationmarker, Tel Aviv Central stationmarker, Hashalom stationmarker (adjacent to Azrieli Centermarker) and Tel Aviv Hahaganah (near the Tel Aviv Central Bus Stationmarker). It is estimated that over a million passengers travel by train from the surrounding cities to Tel Aviv each month.

The Tel Aviv Central Bus Stationmarker is in the south of the city. The main bus network in Tel Aviv is operated by Dan Bus Company; the Egged Bus Cooperative, the world's second-largest bus company, provides intercity transportation.

Tel Aviv's domestic airport is Sde Dovmarker in the northwestern part of the city. Sde Dov is slated to close because it occupies prime coastal real estate near the upscale Ramat Aviv neighborhood. In the near future all services to Sde Dov will transfer to Ben Gurion International Airportmarker, Israel's main international airport, lying close to the city of Lodmarker and southeast of Tel Aviv. Due to the airport being close to Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion International Airport is often referred to as Tel Aviv International Airport though it is not part of any municipal jurisdiction.

In early 2008, Tel Aviv Municipality announced a pilot scheme to build charging stations for electric cars. Initially, five charging points will be built, and eventually 150 points will be set up across the city as part of the Israeli electric car project, Project Better Place. Battery replacement points will be located at the city's entrances.


The three largest newspaper companies in Israel - Yedioth Ahronoth, Maariv and Haaretz - are headquartered in Tel Aviv. Several radio stations cover the Tel Aviv area, including the city-based Radio Tel Aviv. The three major Israeli television networks, Keshet, Reshet, and Channel 10, are based in the city, as well as two of the largest radio stations in Israel: Galatz and Galgalatz, which are both located in the same building in Jaffamarker.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Tel Aviv has 27 sister cities and has a partnership with Los Angelesmarker, Californiamarker, USAmarker:


  1. Tel Aviv is also commonly written in Hebrew without the hyphen (תל אביב).
  2. The beauty of Tel Aviv Haaretz Editorial
  3. Instant weekend ... Tel Aviv, By David Kaufman, The Guardian, Published November 4, 2007.
  4. Book of Ezekiel 3:15
  5. Book of Jonah 1:3
  6. Book of Joshua 19:40–48
  7. Books of Chronicles II 2:15
  8. Seashell lottery
  9. Maya Zamir, The Day of The bombing , Tel Aviv Magazine, 7th of September 2007 (Hebrew)
  10. Arnon Golan (1995), The demarcation of Tel Aviv-Jaffa's municipal boundaries, Planning Perspectives, vol. 10, pp. 383-398.
  11. Cities in Transition. Ljubljana: Department of Geography, University of Ljubljana, pp. 183-194.
  12. [1], by Reuven Weiss, Ynet, March 3, 2009.
  13. Tel Aviv’s Upscale Revolution, by Adam H. Graham, Town & Country Travel, February 12, 2008.
  14. Go Out With the Old in Tel Aviv, By David Kaufman, New York Magazine, Published August 28, 2008.
  15. Electric Tel Aviv, by David Kaufman, Financial Times, February 12, 2008.
  16. Recycling in Israel, Not Just Trash, but the Whole Dump, by Isabel Kershner, October 24, 2007.
  17. "Others" refers to non-Arab Christians and unclassified.
  18. " Contact Israir Airlines." Israir Airlines. Retrieved on 23 September 2009.
  19. " Tel Aviv: The White City that remains young at heart." CNN. April 28, 2009. Retrieved on April 30, 2009.
  20. When in… Tel Aviv, By David Kaufman, Out Magazine.
  21. Peres: Enlightened nation cannot accept TA shooting, Yediot Ahronot, August 2 2009
  22. What’s New in Tel Aviv, by David Kaufman, March 2008.
  23. Tel Aviv Modern, by Michael Z. Wise, July 2008.
  24. Promoting Israel in a Downturn, by David Saranga, December 17, 2008.
  25. Fashion Week: Gottex, September 9, 2008.


  • Sur les traces du modernisme, Tel-Aviv-Haïfa-Jérusalem (CIVA) 2004 (Hebrew and French)
  • L'Atlas de Tel-Aviv (Catherine Weill-Rochant) 2008 (Historical maps and photos, French, soon in Hebrew and English)
  • Bauhaus » - Architektur in Tel-Aviv, L’architecture « Bauhaus » à Tel- Aviv (Catherine Weill-Rochant) mai 2008, Rita Gans (éd.), Zurich, Yad Yearim (German and French).
  • 'The Tel-Aviv School : a constrained rationalism' (Catherine Weill-Rochant)DOCOMOMO journal (Documentation and conservation of buildings, sites and neighbourhoods of the modern movement), avril 2009.

External links

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