The History of

Tel Aviv

The city of Tel Aviv is the fulfillment of Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl’s Zionist dream. After its founding the city received the epithet “The First Hebrew City" and became, over the years, one of the two largest and most important cities in Israel. The story of Tel Aviv starts actually in Jaffa of the 19th century. The ancient port city was the central integration point for the first immigrants who arrived to the Land of Israel at the end of the 19th century. The decision of many of those who came in the first and second Aliyah to reside in Jaffa brought about a situation in which in the beginning of the 20th century the part of the Jewish community in the city grew to approximately a third of its population.

Towards the end of the 19th century the great demand for housing, the severe crowdedness and the desire to improve the living conditions brought several of Jaffa’s wealthiest to build Jewish neighborhoods outside of it. Many prominent figures, among which were Aharon Cheluche, Aharon Moyal and Haim Amzaleg, started purchasing lands outside the city walls, diving them into plots and selling them at attractive prices to Jewish settlers. The first neighborhood founded was Neve Tzedek, in 1887, and after that six additional neighborhoods were founded.

In 1906, at the initiative of Akiva Aryeh Weiss, a major change in the way of thinking started in the field of city development: No more neighborhoods outside the Jaffa borders, but a Hebrew city! In order to fulfill this vision a society called Ahuzat Bayit was founded. Weiss’s plan included founding a Modern Hebrew city, that is built based on a Western-European model and that will be a gateway to the Land of Israel for the Jews of the world.

On April 11, 1909, after three years of strenuous labor, the families of the town founders gathered on the sands of the first plots purchased and held a lottery of the plots among the members. This day was declared as the day of the founding of the city of Tel Aviv. In 1910 the first stage of the building process ended. It included 60 houses, the Herzliya Gymnasium and a number of streets – Herzl Street, Ahad Ha’Am Street, and Lilienblum Street, Yehuda Halevi Street and Rothschild Boulevard.