1. A surprising fact: Tel Aviv has only half the population of Jerusalem-- Approx. 400,000 to Jerusalem's 796,000.
2. Cool fact: In 2003 Tel Aviv was designated a White City by UNESCO in recognition of the multitude of Bauhaus-style (generally white) buildings designed by German Jewish architects who immigrated to Israel in the 1920s and 30s.
3. Interesting fact: Tel Aviv celebrated its centennial in 2009. The city was founded in 1909 by a tiny group of Jews who had been living in nearby Jaffa.
4. Random fact: It takes a little less than an hour to drive between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv (43 miles) Another interesting fact: The Jewish state came into being in Tel aviv on May 14, 1948 when David Ben-Gurion read the Declaration of Independence at the home of Mayor Dizengoff. Today the house is a museum.
5. Fun fact: Tel Aviv boasts ten beaches along the length of its seafront.
6. Weird fact: The Nordau Beach has separate days for men and women. It caters to the ultra-orthodox and women who don't feel comfortable on a beach with men. The beach is surrounded by a wall and is open for women on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday while men rule the roost on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
7. It's a fact that Tel Aviv boasts more than 25 miles of bike paths--generally a quicker way of getting around than by car where you'll find yourself sitting in traffic during most hours of the day.
8. Another random fact: Tel Aviv's climate could almost be interchangeable with Miami. Heat and humidity rule for most of the year and winters are mild.
9. It's a fun fact that 18 out of Israel's 35 performing arts centers are located in Tel Aviv.
10. A random fact about Tel Aviv's emblem. It was designed by artist Nahum Guttman in the 1950s and features 7 stars to represent the 7-hour working day that Zionist thinker Theodor Herzl held to be the ideal work day...
11. Another fun fact: Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel's cafe culture. Many of the cafes founded before Israel became a state in 1948 are still popular today.
12. A random fact: calling someone a "tzfoni" in Hebrew ("northy") is shorthand for saying the person is a materialistic snob. North Tel Aviv is where the bourgeoisie hang out.
The most important thing about Tel Aviv is that it is the first all-Jewish city ever founded. It is situated just north of the, arguably, oldest city in Israel: Jaffa. What you might recognize as a story from the Bible is situated in the ancient port city of Jaffa. It is supposedly named for one son of Noah, Japheth. It is the city from which Jonah sailed out from, and was consequently tossed overboard and swallowed by a whale. In 1909, Tel Aviv was first founded and called "Ahuzat Bayit" or Housing Property. 60 families began the chore of building Tel Aviv from a sand dune and has evolved into a thriving, sexy, metropolitan city. The name Tel Aviv is derived from two words in Hebrew. Tel is not exactly hill, rather it means a man-made hill which covers ancient ruins. Aviv means Spring. So Tel Aviv is a city which bridges that gap between old and new. Jaffa had been a difficult place to live, crowded and old. The first neighborhood of residence was Neve Tzedek, a place still inhabited and thriving with Jewish life. The sixty Jewish families who opted to build a new life participated in what has folklorically been called the "Shell Lottery". There were 60 white shells with the name of one family on each, and 60 gray shells with numbers that corresponded to 60 pieces of property. The shells were randomly paired and, in this way, neighborhoods were formed. Meir Dizengoff was the first mayor and served the city of Tel Aviv until 1937.1917 brought trouble.
Tel Aviv had been a city less than 10 years and suddenly, the Ottoman Empire decided they were unwanted residents, possible spies for the British. The Jews were forced out of Jaffa and Tel Aviv, but returned eight months later. In 1921, there was an anti-Jewish pogrom in Jaffa and the majority of the Jewish population opted to leave the port city in favor of the Jewish town of Tel Aviv to the north. By 1926, 40,000 Jews lived in Tel Aviv and by the 1930's the population had risen to over 100,000 mostly due to the Jewish immigrants fleeing the increasing anti-Semitic sentiment in Europe. Among the immigrants were many German architects, greatly influenced by the Bauhaus style of German architecture. Even today, one can travel through Tel Aviv and feel the presence of these German immigrants, much of their legacy remains.
The struggle against the British imperialists begins shortly after World War II and the end of the Holocaust when many Jews fleeing Europe were denied entry. Walking along the Tayelet now, one can see many plaques or monuments noting where this ship or that was successful or failed at getting it's Jewish refugees on land. Jewish residents all over Israel fought against the British. That story can be, and has been, told in volumes of written material, movies, television shows, radio programs, internet websites, museums, works of art, music and other forms of communication known to man. In 1947, the UN resolved to give Israel to the Jewish people. The Declaration of Independence was signed at the home of Meir Dizengoff at 16 Rothschild, now called Independence Hall. It is a historical site not to be missed. The British High Commissioner went home the next day and then the surrounding Arab nations attacked. Israel won the War of Independence, and every war from that point forward. The 1950's saw the construction of the Mann Auditorium, home to the Israeli Philharmonic, and also the development of Tel Aviv University, one of Israel's four prestigious universities.
In 1995, a student disgruntled by the views of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated at a peace rally outside of Tel Aviv City Hall. The center has been renamed Rabin Square in his honor.