Glimpses of Israel - Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv – Hill of Spring – is a comparatively modern city having been founded only 1909. It was in that year that a handful of Jewish settlers who had been living in Jaffa moved out on to the sand dunes just north of Jaffa to establish a new settlement which they planned would one day be a city, totally Jewish, and speaking Hebrew.

It certainly became a city, and a very modern one, which now incorporates Jaffa in its boundaries as an integral part of itself. Indeed one can drive or walk from downtown Tel Aviv to Jaffa without any sign of a line of demarcation between the two.

By 1939 Tel Aviv's population numbered 160,000, and for many years it had a greater population than the capital of Israel, Jerusalem. But this has changed Jerusalem is now the greater in population, though Tel Aviv has the distinction of being the commercial and financial centre of the State of Israel.

Tel Aviv is the centre of high tech growth and is the only city in Israel that operates on the same twenty-four hour schedule as other high tech cities. It is a city that seemed to rush towards modernity and growth with its eyes on the future and giving little thought to the past, even to preserving its original buildings for example.

But that emphasis has already started to change, and Tel Aviv has belatedly begun to mature preservation-wise. In many of its streets, especially in the older parts of the city, renovation and preservation have become the order of the day.

Many architects with their particular styles emigrated from Europe to Israel after World War II, and their buildings, demonstrating their various emphases, and with their own imprimaturs, can be seen in many parts of the city. This makes Tel Aviv like an enormous museum of these rich elements of the past which have been preserved, and which can be seen in any walk through the city streets.

Plans for the renewal of Jaffa are well under way, and it is hoped that by the time Tel Aviv archieves its century the preservation work already planned will have been completed.