Tel Aviv

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Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv (tĕl əvēvˈ), city (1994 pop. 355,200), W central Israel, on the Mediterranean Sea. Oficially named Tel Aviv–Jaffa, it is Israel's commercial, financial, communications, and cultural center and the core of its largest metropolitan area. Tel Aviv is a tourist resort, with hotels and wide beaches. Virtually the entire population is Jewish. Construction is the main industry; textiles, clothing, and processed food are the chief manufactures, and pharmaceuticals, electrical appliances, printed materials, and chemicals are also produced. The city is also an important diamond-processing center.

Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 by Jews from Jaffa who wished to build a modern suburb. The population grew dramatically in the late 1920s, again after Hitler came to power (1933) in Germany, and then after World War II. When the state of Israel was proclaimed on May 14, 1948, Tel Aviv was briefly the capital; in 1949 the government was transferred to Jerusalem. In 1950, Tel Aviv and Jaffa were merged.

Cultural and educational institutions include the Afro-Asian Institute for Labor Studies and Cooperation, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Habimah (the Israel National Theatre), the Israeli Opera, and Tel Aviv Museum. Most foreign embassies are in the city (most nations have reserved recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital until that city's status has been determined by negotiations). Tel Aviv Univ. and the Jewish Diaspora Museum are in the suburb of Ramat Aviv. The home of Hayyim Nahman Bialik, the national poet, is preserved as a library and memorial. Many of the Jews from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union who emigrated to Israel after 1989 settled in the metropolitan area, substantially increasing its population. Tel Aviv was the principal target of Iraqi missiles during the Persian Gulf War (1991).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tel Aviv


Israel’s most important economic and cultural center. The climate is subtropical, with an average temperature of 12°C in January and 25°C in July. The annual precipitation is approximately 600 mm. Population, 368,000 (late 1973). Tel Aviv is the center of Israel’s railroad and highway system and a port on the Mediterranean, with an annual freight turnover of 400,000 tons. The Lod international airport is located near the city.

Tel Aviv is governed by a municipal council, which is elected by the population for a four-year term. The council is under the authority of the Ministry of the Interior and has jurisdiction only over local taxes and public services.

Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 by Jewish colonists at a site north of the city of Jaffa, with which Tel Aviv was amalgamated in 1949. When the state of Israel was founded in 1948, Tel Aviv became its capital. In January 1950 the government of Israel, contrary to the Nov. 29,1947, resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations on the special status of Jerusalem, proclaimed Jerusalem the capital of Israel. The great majority of the members of the United Nations, including the great powers, did not recognize this illegal action.

Most foreign diplomatic missions, as well as 50 percent of Israel’s industrial enterprises, are located in Tel Aviv, including enterprises of the machine-building, metalworking, chemical, pharmaceutical, textile, food-processing, paper, leather and footwear, and printing industries. Tel Aviv is an important diamond-processing center, exporting processed diamonds, including cut diamonds, and importing unprocessed diamonds. Other imports are petroleum and petroleum products, machinery, industrial equipment, and vehicles.

Tel Aviv was built according to the plan of the Scottish city planner P. Geddes. The streets are laid out symmetrically and there is a broad central boulevard. Architectural monuments include the Mahmud Mosque (1810); among the outstanding modern structures are the central offices of the Israel Federation of Labor, or Histadrut (1953), the Mann Auditorium (1957), the Beilinson Hospital (1958), and the synagogue of Tel Aviv University (late 1950’s).

Tel Aviv University and a number of learned societies and associations are located in Tel Aviv, including the Israel Chemical Society, the Israel Gerontological Society, the Israel Medical Association, and the Atomic Energy Commission. The largest libraries are the university library and Municipal Library. Among the museums are the Ha-Arets Museum, which includes the Historical Museum of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, the Museums of Antiquities of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, the Museum of Ethnography and Folklore, the Glass Museum, and the Kadman Numismatic Museum; the Tel Aviv Museum; the Museum of Art (primarily modern Israeli art); and an archaeological museum.

Theaters include the Habimah National Theater of Israel, the Chamber Theater, the Israel National Opera, the Batsheva Dance Company, several small commercial theaters, and the Shulamit Conservatory.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Tel Aviv

a city in W Israel, on the Mediterranean: the largest city and chief financial centre in Israel; incorporated the city of Jaffa in 1950; university (1953): the capital of Israel according to the UN and international law. Pop.: 363 400 (2003 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005