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Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is located on the cost and the second largest city in Israel – right after Jerusalem.

Israeli’s often like to tell me that it is like Manhattan since it is very vibrant and metropolitan.

I never let them finish their sentence because Tel Aviv is nothing like Manhattan. If anything, it’s like San Francisco.

Often titled, as the Gay Capital and the Vegan Capital of the world, and the Nonstop City, it really is a place all it’s own.


Tel Aviv was originally founded in 1909 as a Zionist suburb where the community members could live an independent Hebrew life.

This is where it got the nickname of “First Hebrew City.”

The Jews who started the city wished to leave Jews ancient port city Jaffa with dreams to have houses surrounded by gardens.

In April of that year, 66 Jewish families gathered on a desolate sand dune to parcel out the land by lottery using seashells.

Akiva Aryeh Weiss collected 120 sea shells on the beach, half of them white and half of them grey.

The members’ names were written on the white shells and the plot numbers on the grey shells.

Then, a boy drew names from one box of shells and a girl drew plot numbers from the second box.

This gathering is considered the official date of the establishment of Tel Aviv.

The city was at first called Ahuzat Bayit, named after the association because they couldn’t decide on a name.

So, a committee was elected to come up with a new name.

Some of the names proposed were: New Jaffa, Neve Jaffa, Aviva, Yaffiafia, Ivria and “Herzliya” after Benjamin Zeev Herzl.

Tel Aviv was brought up because it was the name Nahum Sokolow chose for his Hebrew translation of  Theodor Herzl‘s book Old New Land.

Old New Land was published seven years earlier, and in it, Herzl described what he thought the Jewish state would look like when it was established.

Sokolow had adopted the name Tel Abib which is mentioned in Ezekiel as a place where the exiles to Babylon sat by a river.

What they didn’t know, is that a neighborhood in Ness Tziona was already named Tel Aviv.

However, city council members were divided over the name. 

David Ben-Gurion, who later became Israel’s first prime minister, desperately wanted the name “Jaffa” to strengthen the city’s connection to biblical sources.

In the end, it was finally decided as a compromise to call the united city “Tel Aviv-Jaffa.”

Although it was a small settlement on the sand dunes north of Jaffa, Tel Aviv was envisaged as a future city from the start.

Within a year, Herzl, Ahad Ha’am, Yehuda Halevi, Lilienblum, and Rothschild streets were built, a water system was installed, and 66 houses with running water were completed.

According to censuses, in 1915 it had a population 2,679, in 1922 there were 15,185 inhabitant, and by 1931 there were 46,101 residence in 12,545 houses.

The Jewish population rose dramatically during the Fifth Aliyah after the Nazis came to power in Germany. 

By 1937 the Jewish population of Tel Aviv had risen to 150,000.

Many German Jewish architects trained at the Bauhaus, the Modernist school of architecture in Germany, and left Germany during the 1930s.

They created what is recognized as the largest concentration of buildings in the this style in White City, which has became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.

When Israel declared Independence on 14 May 1948, the population of Tel Aviv was over 200,000 and Tel Aviv was the temporary government center of the State of Israel.

This was until the Knesset could be established in Jerusalem in December 1949.

Today, Tel Aviv is Israel’s second to largest city and known for it’s lively and vibrant metropolitan energy and lifestyle.

Things to in Tel Aviv

Living Nature Museums

While most people would probably disagree with me, I believe zoos and botanical gardens are living museums that display nature.

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