Written by Zvika Gasner Koheleth 20-May-2019, Edited 29-December-2020, photography by Angela Hechtfisch
Tel Aviv-Jaffa General History Introduction
There are plenty of things to do in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel’s economic, cultural, and technological center. The most populous city in the largest metropolitan area. With half a million inhabitants and an extra 1 million who commute to work every day during mornings. Tel-Aviv-Jaffa is located on the country’s Mediterranean coastline, with 2 harbors (mainly for tourism) and a sea marine. It’s name means “Old-new land,” and it is a free-style interpretation to a book title (in the German language) ‘Altneuland’ written by Zionist leader Theodor Herzel, signified his vision for returning the Jewish nation to it’s historical homeland. The city, first called “Ahuzat Bayit” (Home estate), was founded in 1909 as a modern Jewish society neighborhood on the outskirts of the ancient city of Jaffa. A group of 60 Jewish men, residents of Jaffa led by Akiva Aryeh Weiss, gathered for a land plot lottery on the beach dunes. The society’s goals were to form a “Hebrew urban center in a healthy environment, planned according to the rules of aesthetics and modern hygiene.” (See Iris Araviot, “Mythical Dimensions of the Tel-Aviv Century” 2011) Other Jewish suburbs outside Jaffa established before Tel Aviv eventually became part of Tel Aviv, such as Neve Tzedek, based in 1886. In 1921 Tel Aviv was given “township” status by the British mandate within the Jaffa municipality with a population of 15 thousand people. After the Jaffa riots in May 1921 with the attack of Arabs on the Jewish population many Jews left Jaffa for Tel Aviv, and the city increased its numbers from 2,000 in 1920 to around 34,000 by 1925. The town became an independent Municipality (from Jaffa) in 1934.
The Jewish population number rose dramatically during the “5th Aliyah” after the Nazis came into power in Germany in 1933, and 4 years later, the city grew to 150,000, compared to Jaffa’s 70,000 Muslim residents. In this period, the city changed its character from small businesses to a significant commercial & cultural center with an urban Burgan lifestyle.
One day before the country declared Independence on 14 May 1948 at “Meir Dizingof” house, also known as “Independence Hall” , the Jewish forces took over the city of Jaffa, and the Arab population was evacuated out of some parts of Jaffa. Due to the international dispute over the status of Jerusalem, most embassies remained in or near Tel Aviv, and the city became the temporary government center until December 1949. Complete unification of Tel Aviv with Jaffa occurred in 1950.