Tel Aviv District
There are many sayings associated with this lively part of the country: The first would be that Tel Aviv is known as the city that never sleeps, like New York and London. It is also said that: Jerusalem is to pray, Tel Aviv is to play, Haifa is for work!
The Tel Aviv district has around 1.35 million residents, with the vast majority being Jewish. It encompasses 10 cities; Tel Aviv-Yafo, Bat Yam, Bnei Brak, Givatayim, Herzliya, Holon, Kiryat Ono, Or Yehuda, Ramat Gan and Ramat ha Sharon. Each one has a different character, for example Bnei Brak is known as an Orthodox city. Herzliya, Bat Yam and Tel Aviv-Yafo are located on the coast, while the other seven are located a little more inland.
Tel Aviv-Yafo is the largest city within this area, with a population of over 400,000.
The double-barrelled name refers to the joining of two places; the ancient port city of Jaffa, with it’s mainly Arabic speaking population, and the new city of Tel Aviv, with it’s mainly Jewish population. Jaffa is famous internationally for the Jaffa oranges grown in this area of the coastal plain.
In 1909 Tel Aviv was nothing but sand dunes. That is until a group of families met and drew lots of seashells to determine who would receive the first 60 plots of land to build their homes on. In those days, the name of this place was Ahuzat Bayit, which loosely translated means homestead. The streets and some of the original homes can still be found and visited in the heart of the white city, and one houses the Independence Museum. The name Tel Aviv was given later, to honor Theodore Herzl, who was one of the most important founders of modern zionism. He wrote a book called Altneuland, or old new land in which he dreamed of a city that would be like New York, a port city which would receive new immigrants and which would have running water and electricity. He even foresaw the extraction of minerals from the Dead Sea; one could almost say that he was a modern day prophet as so many things that he described have come to pass. Tel is something old; an ancient mound containing multiple layers of human history, a peculiarly Middle Eastern phenomena. The month of Aviv represents the new; it is the month that heralds the spring, new life, and the Passover.
The white city of Tel Aviv that dominates this region is known for the white, international style of homes that were built in the early years of the establishment of the city. It is honored as a UNESCO World Heritage site because of the large number of them in the heart of the city. The proximity of the airport to this region is also important to mention, as a gateway to the nations.
For young people, food lovers, vegetarians, vegans and surfers/ beach lovers, Tel Aviv is a paradise. Packed with gourmet and more modest restaurants, the choice is endless. The night life continues until the early hours of the morning, when revelers go home and those who are committed to swim every day rise with the morning sun. The choice of cultural activities is endless; from museums teaching the ancient and modern history of the area, to the concerts of the Philharmonic orchestra, or outdoor rock concerts, there is surely something for every age and taste in this vibrant metropolis.
For the person who is gifted in hitech, Herzliya is the Silicon Wadi (Valley) of the Middle East. Being located just north of Tel Aviv, Herzliya is named after one of the most important fathers of modern Zionism, Theodore Herzl. A very high proportion of new immigrants choose to begin their life in Israel in the area of Tel Aviv, and because of the multitude of opportunities afforded here, many never leave.
For those for whom the bustle of the city is a little too much, there are many smaller coastal towns and villages in the area, some of which are connected to the famous orange groves that are named after the ancient city of Jaffa. It should be noted that in terms of climate, this region is warmer and much more humid than the mountainous Jerusalem environs, so come prepared! The winters can also afford heavy rainfall.
Government and society
The Tel Aviv metropolitan area includes about 70 local authorities, each of which is governed by a mayor and council elected for a five-year term. The metropolitan area lacks formal coordination among its local authorities, although limited collaboration exists, particularly the organization that oversees sewage disposal.