Tel Aviv History
The One Hundredth Birthday of Tel Aviv
In 1909, sixty Jewish families founded the city of Tel Aviv at the outskirts of Jaffa, an ancient city already named in the Torah. Tel is the Hebrew word for a hill containing archeological, ancient remnants of earlier civilizations. Aviv means spring. Therefore the name of the city connects the ancient to the present.
The name Tel Aviv is found in the book of Ezekiel 3:15. “Then I came to
the exiles in Tel Aviv who lived by the river Kebar and I remained where they
lived and I remained there in a state of confusion for seven days.”
Eleven years after its founding, Tel Aviv had a population of 2,000. That
increased to 200,000 in 1948, the year Israel gained its independence. Now, in
2009, the population is 391,300. Jerusalem is far larger, with a population of
Jaffa, directly joined with Tel Aviv, was incorporated into Tel Aviv in
1950. It is very old. Archeologists estimate that Jaffa has been inhabited for
4,500 years. Remnants of dwellings from the iron age (1200-550 BCE) and the
bronze age (17th century BCE) were discovered in Jaffa.
Jaffa is mentioned several times in the Bible and is the port from which
the prophet Jonah sailed for Tarshish. Jaffa was occupied by numerous conquerors
over the centuries. It was destroyed and rebuilt. Until the 19th
century Jaffa was quite small. Then European Jews increased the population from
2,500 in 1806 to 17,000 in 1886.
Tel Aviv is the home of the Israeli stock exchange as well as numerous
scientific research centers. Tel Aviv, unlike Jerusalem, is mostly secular and
includes bars, nightclubs, cafés and theaters. Tel Aviv is expensive compared
to other Israeli cities.
In 1931 the Habima theater made Tel Aviv its permanent home. Because
Jaffa was the main port of entry for many immigrants to Israel in the early 20th
century, Tel Aviv grew considerably during the 1930’s. German Jewish
architects, kicked out of Germany,
came to Tel Aviv and built a large number of buildings according to the
When the United Nations sought to partition the Holy Land into Jewish and
Arab states in 1947, the Arabs rejected that plan because they believed they
could kill the entire Jewish population and seize the entire Holy Land. That
Prior to 1949 Tel Aviv was the temporary capital of Israel. Then, in
1949, Jerusalem once more occupied that position. In 1993 Tel Aviv was
categorized a world city.
Arabs, always ready to kill at random, launched suicide attacks on Tel
Aviv in 1994, hitting a bus and killing 21 innocent civilians. Another 21 were
killed and 100 wounded when Arabs shot into the Dolphin Night Club. In 2006 nine
people were murdered by Arabs at a Tel Aviv bus station.
Tel Aviv has a moderate climate. In the summer months the average temperature is 82 degrees and in the winter 63 degrees.
The population of Tel Aviv is almost entirely Jewish, although this does
not deter the Arabs from claiming that the city ought to be turned over to them.