Clockwise from top: Central Tel Aviv skyline, Azrieli Center, Jaffa Clock Tower, View from Jaffa, Ben Zion Boulevard
|Metropolitan Area||Gush Dan|
|Founded||April 11, 1909|
|• Body||Tel Aviv municipality|
|• Mayor||Ron Huldai|
|• City||52 km2 (20 sq mi)|
|• Urban||176 km2 (68 sq mi)|
|• Metro||1,516 km2 (585 sq mi)|
|Elevation||5 m (16 ft)|
|• Rank||2nd in Israel|
|• Density||8,148.3/km2 (21,104/sq mi)|
|• Density rank||12th in Israel|
|• Urban density||7,504.4/km2 (19,436/sq mi)|
|• Metro density||2,291.4/km2 (5,935/sq mi)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+2)|
|• Summer (DST)||IDT (UTC+3)|
|Area code||+972 (Israel) 3 (City)|
Tel Aviv (Hebrew: תֵּל־אָבִיב, Arabic: تل أبيب) is the second most populous city in Israel, after Jerusalem, with a population of 414,600. It is located on the Mediterranean coast in central-west Israel, within Gush Dan, Israel's largest metropolitan area, containing 42% of Israel's population. It is also the largest and most populous city in Gush Dan, which is collectively home to 3,464,100 residents. The city is governed by the Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality, headed by Ron Huldai. Residents of Tel Aviv are referred to as Tel Avivim (singular: Tel Avivi). Tel Aviv is home to many foreign embassies.
Tel Aviv was founded by the Jewish community on the outskirts of the ancient port city of Jaffa (Hebrew: יָפוֹ Yafo) in 1909. Jewish immigration meant that the growth of Tel Aviv soon outpaced Jaffa's, which had a majority Arab population at the time. Tel Aviv and Jaffa were merged into a single municipality in 1950, two years after the establishment of the State of Israel. Tel Aviv's White City, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, comprises the world's largest concentration of Bauhaus buildings.
Tel Aviv is a global city, a technological and economic hub, home to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, corporate offices and research and development centers. It is the country's financial capital and a major performing arts and business center. Tel Aviv has the second-largest economy in the Middle East after Dubai, and is the 31st most expensive city in the world. With 2.5 million international visitors annually, Tel Aviv is the fifth-most-visited city in the Middle East. Known as "The City that Never Sleeps" and a "party capital", it has a lively nightlife, dynamic atmosphere and a famous 24-hour culture.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Local government
- 5 Education
- 6 Demographics
- 7 Cityscape
- 8 Economy
- 9 Culture and contemporary life
- 10 Environment and urban restoration
- 11 Transportation
- 12 Twin towns and sister cities
- 13 Notable people born in Tel Aviv
- 14 References
- 15 Bibliography
- 16 External links
Tel Aviv is the Hebrew title of Theodor Herzl's Altneuland ("Old New Land"), translated from German by Nahum Sokolow. Sokolow had adopted the name of a Mesopotamian site near the city of Babylon mentioned in Ezekiel: "Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel Abib, that lived by the river Chebar, and to where they lived; and I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days." The name was chosen in 1910 from several suggestions, including "Herzliya". It was found fitting as it embraced the idea of a renaissance in the ancient Jewish homeland. Aviv is Hebrew for "spring", symbolizing renewal, and tel is a man-made mound accumulating layers of civilization built one over the other and symbolizing the ancient.
Theories vary about the etymology of Jaffa or Yafo in Hebrew. Some believe that the name derives from yafah or yofi, Hebrew for "beautiful" or "beauty". Another tradition is that Japheth, son of Noah, founded the city and that it was named after him.
The ancient port of Jaffa changed hands many times in the course of history. Archeological excavations from 1955 to 1974 unearthed towers and gates from the Middle Bronze Age. Subsequent excavations, from 1997 onwards, helped date earlier discoveries. They also exposed sections of a packed-sandstone glacis and a massive brick wall, dating from the Late Bronze Age, as well as a temple attributed to the Sea Peoples and dwellings from the Iron Age. Remnants of buildings from the Persian and Hellenistic periods were also discovered.
The city, Jaffa, is first mentioned in letters from 1470 BC that record its conquest by Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III. Jaffa is mentioned several times in the Bible, as the port from which Jonah set sail for Tarshish; as bordering on the territory of the Tribe of Dan; and as the Jaffa Port at which the wood for Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem arrived from Lebanon. Jaffa is also mentioned as the place where the Apostle Peter raised Tabitha and visited Simon the Tanner. According to some sources it has been a port for at least 4,000 years.
In 1099, the Catholic armies of the First Crusade, led by Godfrey of Bouillon, occupied Jaffa, which had been abandoned by the Muslims, fortified the town and improved its harbor. As the County of Jaffa, the town soon became important as the main sea supply route for the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Jaffa was captured by Saladin in 1192 but swiftly re-taken by Richard the Lionheart, who added to its defenses. In 1223, Emperor Frederick II added further fortifications. Crusader domination ended in 1268, when the Mamluk Sultan Baibars captured the town, destroyed its harbor and razed its fortifications. In 1336, when a new Crusade was being planned, Al-Nasir Muhammad had the harbor destroyed to prevent the Franks from landing there. For the same reason, both the town and the harbor were destroyed in 1345. In the 16th century, Jaffa was conquered by the Ottomans and was administered as a village in the Sanjak of Gaza.
Napoleon besieged the city in 1799 and killed scores of inhabitants; a plague epidemic followed, decimating the remaining population. The surrendering garrison of several thousand Muslims was massacred.
Jaffa began to grow as an urban center in the early 18th century, when the Ottoman government in Istanbul intervened to guard the port and reduce attacks by Bedouins and pirates. However, the real expansion came during the 19th century, when the population grew from 2,500 in 1806 to 17,000 in 1886.
From 1800 to 1870, many of Jaffa's old walls and towers were torn down to allow for expansion. The sea wall, 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) high, remained intact until the 1930s, when it was built over during a renovation of the port by the British Mandatory authorities. During the mid-19th century, the city grew prosperous from trade, especially in silk and Jaffa oranges, with Europe. In the 1860s Jaffa's small Sephardic community was joined by Jews from Morocco and small numbers of Ashkenazi Jews.
The first Jews to settle outside of Jaffa, in the area of modern day Tel Aviv, were Yemenite Jews. These homes, built in 1881, later became the core of Kerem HaTeimanim (Hebrew for "the Vineyard of the Yemenites"). In 1896 Yemenite Jews established homes at Mahane Yehuda, and in 1904, Mahane Yossef. These neighbourhoods later became the Shabazi neighbourhood.
During the 1880s, Ashkenazi immigration to Jaffa increased with the onset of the First Aliyah. The new arrivals were motivated more by Zionism than religion and came to farm the land and engage in productive labor. In keeping with their "pioneer" ideology, some settled in the sand dunes north of Jaffa. Between 1887 and 1899, Ashkenazi settlers constructed houses at Neve Tzedek and in 1890 at Neve Shalom nearby.
The Second Aliyah led to further expansion. In 1906, a group of Jews, among them residents of Jaffa, followed the initiative of Akiva Aryeh Weiss and banded together to form the Ahuzat Bayit (lit. "homestead") society. The society's goal was to form a "Hebrew urban centre in a healthy environment, planned according to the rules of aesthetics and modern hygiene."[unreliable source] The urban planning for the new city was influenced by the Garden city movement. The first 60 plots were purchased in Kerem Djebali near Jaffa by Jacobus Kann, a Dutch citizen, who registered them in his name to circumvent the Turkish prohibition on Jewish land acquisition. Meir Dizengoff, later Tel Aviv's first mayor, also joined the Ahuzat Bayit society. His vision for Tel Aviv involved peaceful co-existence with Arabs.[unreliable source]
On 11 April 1909, 66 Jewish families gathered on a desolate sand dune to parcel out the land by lottery using seashells. This gathering is considered the official date of the establishment of Tel Aviv. The lottery was organised by Akiva Aryeh Weiss, president of the building society. Weiss collected 120 sea shells on the beach, half of them white and half of them grey. The members' names were written on the white shells and the plot numbers on the grey shells. A boy drew names from one box of shells and a girl drew plot numbers from the second box. A photographer, Avraham Soskin, documented the event. The first water well was later dug at this site (today Rothschild Boulevard, across from Dizengoff House). Within a year, Herzl, Ahad Ha'am, Yehuda Halevi, Lilienblum, and Rothschild streets were built; a water system was installed; and 66 houses (including some on six subdivided plots) were completed. At the end of Herzl Street, a plot was allocated for a new building for the Herzliya Hebrew High School, founded in Jaffa in 1906. On 21 May 1910, the name Tel Aviv was adopted. Tel Aviv was planned as an independent Hebrew city with wide streets and boulevards, running water at each house and street lights.
By 1914, Tel Aviv had grown to more than 1 square kilometre (247 acres). However, growth halted in 1917 when the Ottoman authorities expelled the residents of Jaffa and Tel Aviv. A report published in The New York Times by United States Consul Garrels in Alexandria, Egypt described the Jaffa deportation of early April 1917. The orders of evacuation were aimed chiefly at the Jewish population. Jews were free to return to their homes in Tel Aviv at the end of the following year when, with the end of World War I and the defeat of the Ottomans, the British took control of Palestine.
Under the British Mandate
With increasing Jewish immigration during the British administration, friction between Arabs and Jews in Palestine increased. On 1 May 1921, the Jaffa Riots resulted in the deaths of 48 Arabs and 47 Jews and injuries to 146 Jews and 73 Arabs. In the wake of this violence, many Jews left Jaffa for Tel Aviv, increasing the population of Tel Aviv from 2,000 in 1920 to around 34,000 by 1925.
Tel Aviv began to develop as a commercial center. In 1923, Tel Aviv was the first town to be wired to electricity in Palestine, followed by Jaffa later in the same year. The opening ceremony of the Jaffa Electric Company powerhouse, on 10 June 1923, celebrated the lighting of the two main streets of Tel Aviv.
In 1925, the Scottish biologist, sociologist, philanthropist and pioneering town planner Patrick Geddes drew up a master plan for Tel Aviv which was adopted by the city council led by Meir Dizengoff. This first plan for developing the northern part of the district was called "The Geddes Plan",[unreliable source] whose core idea was the development of a Garden City or "urban village," combining the best of urban and rural life. The boundaries used by Geddes, the Yarkon River in the North and Ibn Gvirol Street in the East, are now the boundaries of Tel Aviv's Old North.
Ben Gurion House was built in 1930–31, part of a new worker's housing development. At the same time, Jewish cultural life was given a boost by the establishment of the Ohel Theater and the decision of Habima Theatre to make Tel Aviv its permanent base in 1931.
Tel Aviv was granted municipal status in 1934. The Jewish population rose dramatically during the Fifth Aliyah after the Nazis came to power in Germany. By 1937 the Jewish population of Tel Aviv had risen to 150,000, compared to Jaffa's mainly Palestinians 69,000 residents. Within two years, it had reached 160,000, which was over a third of Palestine's total Jewish population. Many new Jewish immigrants to Palestine disembarked in Jaffa, and remained in Tel Aviv, turning the city into a center of urban life. Friction during the 1936–39 Arab revolt, led to the opening of a local Jewish port, Tel Aviv Port, independent of Jaffa, in 1938, (it closed on 25 October 1965). Lydda Airport (later Ben Gurion Airport) and Sde Dov Airport opened between 1937 and 1938.[unreliable source]
Many German Jewish architects trained at the Bauhaus, the Modernist school of architecture fled Germany. Some, like architect Arieh Sharon, came to Palestine and adapted the architectural outlook of the Bauhaus as well as other similar schools, to local conditions, creating what is recognized as the largest concentration of buildings in the International Style in the world.[unreliable source] Tel Aviv's White City emerged in the 1930s, and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. Tel Aviv was hit during the Italian Bombing of Palestine in World War II. On 9 September 1940, 137 were killed in the bombing of Tel Aviv.
According to the 1947 UN Partition Plan for dividing Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, Tel Aviv, by then a city of 230,000, was included in the new Jewish state. Jaffa with, as of 1945, a population of 101,580 people, consisting of 53,930 Muslims, 30,820 Jews and 16,800 Christians, was designated as part of the Arab state. The Palestinian Arabs, however, rejected the plan.[unreliable source] Between 1947 and 1948, tensions grew between Tel Aviv and Jaffa. When fighting broke out, the Haganah and Irgun Jewish para-military forces laid virtual siege to Jaffa.[unreliable source] Arab snipers were reported firing at Jews from the minarets of the Hassan Bek Mosque. From April 1948, some of the Arab residents of Jaffa fled as refugees.
After Israeli independence
When Israel declared Independence on 14 May 1948, the population of Tel Aviv was over 200,000. Tel Aviv was the temporary government center of the State of Israel until the government moved to Jerusalem in December 1949. Due to the international dispute over the status of Jerusalem, most foreign embassies remained in or near Tel Aviv. In the early 1980s, 13 embassies in Jerusalem moved to Tel Aviv as part of the UN's measures responding to Israel's 1980 Jerusalem Law. Today, all national embassies are in Tel Aviv or environs. The boundaries of Tel Aviv and Jaffa became a matter of contention between the Tel Aviv municipality and the Israeli government in 1948. The former wished to incorporate only the northern Jewish suburbs of Jaffa, while the latter wanted a more complete unification. The issue also had international sensitivity, since the main part of Jaffa was in the Arab portion of the United Nations Partition Plan, whereas Tel Aviv was not, and no armistice agreements had yet been signed. On 10 December 1948, the government announced the annexation to Tel Aviv of Jaffa's Jewish suburbs, the Palestinian neighborhood of Abu Kabir, the Palestinian village of Salama and some of its agricultural land, and the Jewish 'Hatikva' slum. On 25 February 1949, the depopulated Palestinian village of al-Shaykh Muwannis was also annexed to Tel Aviv. On 18 May 1949, Manshiya and part of Jaffa's central zone were added, for the first time including land that had been in the Arab portion of the UN partition plan. The government voted on the unification of Tel Aviv and Jaffa on 4 October 1949, but the decision was not implemented until 24 April 1950 due to the opposition of Tel Aviv mayor Israel Rokach. The name of the unified city was Tel Aviv until 19 August 1950, when it was renamed Tel Aviv-Yafo in order to preserve the historical name Jaffa.
Tel Aviv thus grew to 42 square kilometers (16.2 sq mi). In 1949, a memorial to the 60 founders of Tel Aviv was constructed. Over the past 60 years, Tel Aviv has developed into a secular, liberal-minded center with a vibrant nightlife and café culture.[unreliable source]
In the 1960s, some of the older buildings were demolished, making way for the country's first high-rises. The Shalom Meir Tower, which was completed in 1965. was Israel's tallest building until 1999. Tel Aviv's population peaked in the early 1960s at 390,000, representing 16 percent of the country's total. A long period of steady decline followed, however, and by the late 1980s the city had an aging population of 317,000. High property prices pushed families out and deterred young people from moving in. At this time, gentrification began in the poor neighborhoods of southern Tel Aviv, and the old port in the north was renewed.[unreliable source] New laws were introduced to protect Modernist buildings, and efforts to preserve them were aided by UNESCO recognition of the Tel Aviv's White City as a world heritage site. In the early 1990s, the decline in population was reversed, partly due to the large wave of immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Tel Aviv also began to emerge as a high-tech center.[unreliable source] The construction of many skyscrapers and high-tech office buildings followed. In 1993, Tel Aviv was categorized as a world city. The city is regarded as a strong candidate for global city status.
In the Gulf War in 1991, Tel Aviv was attacked by Scud missiles from Iraq. Iraq hoped to provoke an Israeli military response, which could have destroyed the US–Arab alliance. The United States pressured Israel not to retaliate, and after Israel acquiesced, the US and Netherlands rushed Patriot missiles to defend against the attacks, but they proved largely ineffective. Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities continued to be hit by Scuds throughout the war, and every city in the Tel Aviv area except for Bnei Brak was hit. A total of 74 Israelis died as a result of the Iraqi attacks, mostly from suffocation and heart attacks, while approximately 230 Israelis were injured. Extensive property damage was also caused, and some 4,000 Israelis were left homeless. It was feared that Iraq would fire missiles filled with nerve agents or sarin. As a result, the Israeli government issued gas masks to its citizens. When the first Iraqi missiles hit Israel, some people injected themselves with an antidote for nerve gas. The inhabitants of the southeastern suburb of HaTikva erected an angel-monument as a sign of their gratitude that "it was through a great miracle, that many people were preserved from being killed by a direct hit of a Scud rocket."
On 4 November 1995, Israel's prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, was assassinated at a rally in Tel Aviv in support of the Oslo peace accord. The outdoor plaza where this occurred, formerly known as Kikar Malchei Yisrael, was renamed Rabin Square.[unreliable source]
In 2009, Tel Aviv celebrated its official centennial. In addition to city- and country-wide celebrations, digital collections of historical materials were assembled. These include the History section of the official Tel Aviv-Yafo Centennial Year website; the Ahuzat Bayit collection, which focuses on the founding families of Tel Aviv, and includes photographs and biographies; and Stanford University's Eliasaf Robinson Tel Aviv Collection, documenting the history of the city.
Since the First Intifada, Tel Aviv has suffered from Palestinian political violence. The first suicide attack in Tel Aviv occurred on 19 October 1994, on the Line 5 bus, when a bomber killed 22 civilians and injured 50 as part of a Hamas suicide campaign. On 6 March 1996, another Hamas suicide bomber killed 13 people (12 civilians and 1 soldier) in the Dizengoff Center suicide bombing. Three women were killed by a Hamas terrorist in the Café Apropo bombing on 27 March 1997.
One of the most deadly attacks occurred on 1 June 2001, during the Second Intifada, when a suicide bomber exploded at the entrance to the Dolphinarium discothèque, killing 21, mostly teenagers, and injuring 132. Another Hamas suicide bomber killed six civilians and injured 70 in the Allenby Street bus bombing. Twenty-three civilians were killed and over 100 injured in the Tel-Aviv central bus station massacre. Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack. In the Mike's Place suicide bombing, an attack on a bar by a British Muslim suicide bomber resulted in the deaths of three civilians and wounded over 50. Hamas and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed joint responsibility. An Islamic Jihad bomber killed five and wounded over 50 in the 25 February 2005 Stage Club bombing. The most recent suicide attack in the city occurred on 17 April 2006, when 11 people were killed and at least 70 wounded in a suicide bombing near the old central bus station.
Another attack took place on 29 August 2011 in which a Palestinian attacker stole an Israeli taxi cab and rammed it into a police checkpoint guarding the popular Haoman 17 nightclub in Tel Aviv which was filled with 2,000 Israeli teenagers. After crashing, the assailant went on a stabbing spree, injuring eight people. Due to an Israel Border Police roadblock at the entrance and immediate response of the Border Police team during the subsequent stabbings, a much larger and fatal mass-casualty incident was avoided.
On 21 November 2012, during Operation Pillar of Defense, the Tel Aviv area was targeted by rockets, and air raid sirens were sounded in the city for the first time since the Gulf War. All of the rockets either missed populated areas or were shot down by an Iron Dome rocket defense battery stationed near the city. During the operation, a bomb blast on a bus wounded at least 28 civilians, three seriously. This was described as a terrorist attack by Israel, Russia, and the United States and was condemned by the United Nations, United States, United Kingdom, France and Russia, whilst Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri declared that the organisation "blesses" the attack.
Tel Aviv is located around Israeli Mediterranean coastline, in central Israel, the historic land bridge between Europe, Asia and Africa. Immediately north of the ancient port of Jaffa, Tel Aviv lies on land that used to be sand dunes and as such has relatively poor soil fertility. The land has been flattened and has no important gradients; its most notable geographical features are bluffs above the Mediterranean coastline and the Yarkon River mouth. Because of the expansion of Tel Aviv and the Gush Dan region, absolute borders between Tel Aviv and Jaffa and between the city's neighborhoods do not exist.on the
The city is located 60 kilometers (37 mi) northwest of Jerusalem and 90 kilometers (56 mi) south of the city of Haifa. Neighboring cities and towns include Herzliya to the north, Ramat HaSharon to the northeast, Petah Tikva, Bnei Brak, Ramat Gan and Giv'atayim to the east, Holon to the southeast, and Bat Yam to the south. The city is economically stratified between the north and south. Southern Tel Aviv is considered less affluent than Northern Tel Aviv with the exception of Neve Tzedek and some recent development on Jaffa beach. Central Tel Aviv is home to Azrieli Center and the important financial and commerce district along Ayalon Highway. The northern side of Tel Aviv is home to Tel Aviv University, Hayarkon Park, and upscale residential neighborhoods such as Ramat Aviv and Afeka.
In the colder months, December through February, average temperatures typically range from 9 to 17 °C (48 to 63 °F). In summer, average temperatures range from 24 to 30 °C (75 to 86 °F). Spring and autumn are transitional seasons, with some fluctuations in temperature and precipitation. Heatwaves are most common during spring, with temperatures as high as 35 °C (95 °F), while cold spells are most common in winter, with minimum temperatures as low as 7 °C (45 °F)
Tel Aviv averages 532 millimeters (20.9 in) of precipitation annually, which mostly occurs in the months of September through May. Winter is the wettest season. Snow is extremely rare, with the last recorded snowfall within city limits occurring in February 1950. The wettest month on record was January 2000 with 324.9 mm (12.79 in). The wettest day on record was 8 November 1955 with 133 mm (5.24 in). However, Tel Aviv enjoys plenty of sunshine throughout the year with more than 300 sunny days annually.
|Climate data for Tel Aviv (1916–2007)|
|Record high °C (°F)||26.8
|Average high °C (°F)||16.5
|Daily mean °C (°F)||13
|Average low °C (°F)||8.6
|Record low °C (°F)||2.5
|Rainfall mm (inches)||145.9
|Avg. rainy days||15.8||12||9.5||4.1||1.8||0.3||0||0.3||0.5||6.2||10.5||12.9||73.9|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||192.2||205.9||235.6||270||328.6||357||368.9||356.5||300||279||234||189.1||3,316.8|
|Source #1: Israel Meteorological Service|
|Source #2: Hong Kong Observatory for data of sunshine hours|
|18 °C (64 °F)||17 °C (63 °F)||17 °C (63 °F)||18 °C (64 °F)||21 °C (70 °F)||24 °C (75 °F)||26 °C (79 °F)||28 °C (82 °F)||27 °C (81 °F)||26 °C (79 °F)||23 °C (73 °F)||20 °C (68 °F)|
Tel Aviv is governed by a 31-member city council elected for a five-year term in direct proportional elections.
All Israeli citizens over the age of 18 with at least one year of residence in Tel Aviv are eligible to vote in municipal elections. The municipality is responsible for social services, community programs, public infrastructure, urban planning, tourism and other local affairs. The Tel Aviv City Hall is located at Rabin Square. Ron Huldai has been mayor of Tel Aviv since 1998. Huldai was reelected in the 2008 municipal elections, defeating Dov Henin's list. The longest serving mayor was Shlomo Lahat, who was in office for 19 years. The shortest serving was David Bloch, in office for two years, 1925–27. Outside the kibbutzim, Meretz receives more votes in Tel Aviv than in any other city in Israel.
List of Mayors of Tel Aviv
Mandatory Palestine (1920-1948)
|Name||Term start||Term end||Party|
|1||Meir Dizengoff||1920||1925||General Zionists|
|2||David Bloch-Blumenfeld||1925||1928||Ahdut HaAvoda|
|(1)||Meir Dizengoff||1928||1936||General Zionists|
|3||Israel Rokach||1936||1948||General Zionists|
State of Israel (1948-present)
|Mayor of Tel Aviv||Took office||Left office||Party|
|1||Israel Rokach||1948||1953||General Zionists|
|2||Chaim Levanon||1953||1959||General Zionists|
|4||Yehoshua Rabinovitz||1969||1974||Labor Party|
|7||Ron Huldai||1998||Incumbent||Labor Party|
The coalition is led by Tel Aviv 1 and consists of 23 of 31 seats.
|Tel Aviv 1||5|
|City for All||5|
|Power for Pensioners||3|
|United Torah Judaism||2|
|Latet Lihyot – Let Live||2|
In 2006, 51,359 children attended school in Tel Aviv, of whom 8,977 were in municipal kindergartens, 23,573 in municipal elementary schools, and 18,809 in high schools. Sixty-four percent of students in the city are entitled to matriculation, more than 5 percent higher than the national average. About 4,000 children are in first grade at schools in the city, and population growth is expected to raise this number to 6,000 by 2012. As a result, 20 additional kindergarten classes were opened in 2008–09 in the city. A new elementary school is planned north of Sde Dov as well as a new high school in northern Tel Aviv.
The first Hebrew high school, called Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium, was built in 1905 on Herzl Street.
Tel Aviv University, the largest university in Israel, is known internationally for its physics, computer science, chemistry and linguistics departments. Together with Bar-Ilan University in neighboring Ramat Gan, the student population numbers over 50,000, including a sizeable international community. Its campus is located in the neighborhood of Ramat Aviv. Tel Aviv also has several colleges. The Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium moved from Jaffa to Tel Aviv in 1909. The school continues to operate, although it has moved to Jabotinsky Street. Other notable schools in Tel Aviv include Shevah Mofet, the second Hebrew school in the city, Ironi Alef High School for Arts and Alliance.
Tel Aviv has a population of 414,600 spread over a land area of 52,000 dunams (52.0 km2) (20 mi²), yielding a population density of 7,606 people per square kilometer (19,699 per square mile). According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), as of 2009 Tel Aviv's population is growing at an annual rate of 0.5 percent. Jews of all backgrounds form 91.8 percent of the population, Muslims and Arab Christians make up 4.2 percent, and the remainder belong to other groups (including various Christian and Asian communities). As Tel Aviv is a multicultural city, many languages are spoken in addition to Hebrew. According to some estimates, about 50,000 unregistered Asian foreign workers live in the city. Compared with Westernised cities, crime in Tel Aviv is relatively low.
According to Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, the average income in the city, which has an unemployment rate of 6.9 percent, is 20 percent above the national average. The city's education standards are above the national average: of its 12th-grade students, 64.4 percent are eligible for matriculation certificates. The age profile is relatively even, with 22.2 percent aged under 20, 18.5 percent aged 20–29, 24 percent aged 30–44, 16.2 percent aged between 45 and 59, and 19.1 percent older than 60.
Tel Aviv's population reached a peak in the early 1960s at around 390,000, falling to 317,000 in the late 1980s as high property prices forced families out and deterred young couples from moving in. Since the mass immigration from the former Soviet Union in the 1990s, population has steadily grown. Today, the city's population is young and growing. In 2006, 22,000 people moved to the city, while only 18,500 left, and many of the new families had young children. The population is expected to reach 450,000 by 2025; meanwhile, the average age of residents fell from 35.8 in 1983 to 34 in 2008. The population over age 65 stands at 14.6 percent compared with 19% in 1983.
Tel Aviv has 544 active synagogues, including historic buildings such as the Great Synagogue, established in the 1930s. In 2008, a center for secular Jewish Studies and a secular yeshiva opened in the city. Tensions between religious and secular Jews before the gay pride parade ended in vandalism of a synagogue. The number of churches has grown to accommodate the religious needs of diplomats and foreign workers. The population consists of 93% Jewish, 1% Muslim, and 1% Christian. The remaining 5 percent are not classified by religion. Israel Meir Lau is chief rabbi of the city.
Tel Aviv is an ethnically diverse city. The Jewish population, which forms the majority group in Tel Aviv consists of immigrants from all parts of the world and their descendants, including Ashkenazi Jews from Europe, North America, South America, Australia and South Africa, as well as Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews from Southern Europe, North Africa, India, Central Asia, West Asia,and the Arabian Peninsula. There are also a sizable number of Ethiopian Jews and their descendants living in Tel Aviv. In addition to Muslim and Arab Christian minorities in the city, several hundred Armenian Christians who reside in the city are concentrated mainly in Jaffa and some Christians from the former Soviet Union who immigrated to Israel with Jewish spouses and relatives. In recent years, Tel Aviv has received many non-Jewish migrants, students, foreign workers (documented and undocumented) and refugees. There are many refugees from African countries located in the southern part of the city.
Tel Aviv is divided into nine districts that have formed naturally over the city's short history. The oldest of these is Jaffa, the ancient port city out of which Tel Aviv grew. This area is traditionally made up demographically of a greater percentage of Arabs, but recent gentrification is replacing them with a young professional and artist population. Similar processes are occurring in nearby Neve Tzedek, the original Jewish neighborhood outside of Jaffa. Ramat Aviv, a district in the northern part of the city that is largely made up of luxury apartments and includes Tel Aviv University, is currently undergoing extensive expansion and is set to absorb the beachfront property of Sde Dov Airport after its decommissioning. The area known as HaKirya is the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) headquarters and a large military base.
Historically, there was a demographic split between the Ashkenazi northern side of the city, including the district of Ramat Aviv, and the southern, more Sephardi and Mizrahi neighborhoods including Neve Tzedek and Florentin.[unreliable source]
Since the 1980s, major restoration and gentrification projects have been implemented in southern Tel Aviv.[unreliable source] Baruch Yoscovitz, city planner for Tel Aviv beginning in 2001, reworked old British plans for the Florentin neighborhood from the 1920s, adding green areas, pedestrian malls, and housing. The municipality invested two million shekels in the project. The goal was to make Florentin the Soho of Tel Aviv, and attract artists and young professionals to the neighborhood. Indeed, street artists, such as Dede, installation artists such as Sigalit Landau, and many others made the upbeat neighborhood their home base. Florentin is now known as a hip, "cool" place to be in Tel Aviv with coffeehouses, markets, bars, galleries and parties.
Tel Aviv is home to different architectural styles that represent influential periods in its history. The early architecture of Tel Aviv consisted largely of European-style single-story houses with red-tiled roofs. Neve Tzedek, the first neighborhood to be constructed outside of Jaffa is characterised by two-story sandstone buildings. By the 1920s, a new eclectic Orientalist style came into vogue, combining European architecture with Eastern features such as arches, domes and ornamental tiles. Municipal construction followed the "garden city" master plan drawn up by Patrick Geddes. Two- and three-story buildings were interspersed with boulevards and public parks. Various architectural styles, such as Art Deco, classical and modernist also exist in Tel Aviv.
Bauhaus architecture was introduced in the 1920s and 1930s by German Jewish architects who settled in Palestine after the rise of the Nazis. Tel Aviv's White City, around the city center, contains more than 5,000 Modernist-style buildings inspired by the Bauhaus school and Le Corbusier. Construction of these buildings, later declared protected landmarks and, collectively, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, continued until the 1950s in the area around Rothschild Boulevard. Some 3,000 buildings were created in this style between 1931 and 1939 alone. In the 1960s, this architectural style gave way to office towers and a chain of waterfront hotels and commercial skyscrapers. Some of the city's Modernist buildings were neglected to the point of ruin. Before legislation to preserve this landmark architecture, many of the old buildings were demolished. Efforts are under way to refurbish Bauhaus buildings and restore them to their original condition.
High-rise construction and towers
The Shalom Meir Tower, Israel's first skyscraper, was built in Tel Aviv in 1965 and remained the country's tallest building until 1999. At the time of its construction, the building rivalled Europe's tallest buildings in height, and was the tallest in the Middle East.
In the mid-1990s, the construction of skyscrapers began throughout the entire city, altering its skyline. Before that, Tel Aviv had had a generally low-rise skyline. However, the towers were not concentrated in certain areas, and were scattered at random locations throughout the city, creating a disjointed skyline.
New neighborhoods, such as Park Tzameret, have been constructed to house apartment towers such as YOO Tel Aviv towers, designed by Philippe Starck. Other districts, such as Sarona, have been developed with office towers. Other recent additions to Tel Aviv's skyline include the 1 Rothschild Tower and First International Bank Tower. As Tel Aviv celebrated its centennial in 2009, the city attracted a number of architects and developers, including I. M. Pei, Donald Trump, and Richard Meier. American journalist David Kaufman reported in New York magazine that since Tel Aviv "was named a UNESCO World Heritage site, gorgeous historic buildings from the Ottoman and Bauhaus era have been repurposed as fabulous hotels, eateries, boutiques, and design museums." In November 2009, Haaretz reported that Tel Aviv had 59 skyscrapers more than 100 meters tall. Currently, dozens of skyscrapers have been approved or are under construction throughout the city, and many more are planned.
The tallest building approved is the Egged Tower, which would become Israel's tallest building upon completion. According to current plans, the tower is planned to have 80 floors, rise to a height of 270 meters, and will have a 50-meter spire.
In 2010, the Tel Aviv Municipality's Planning and Construction Committee launched a new master plan for the city in 2025. It decided not to allow the construction of any additional skyscrapers in the city center, while at the same time greatly increasing the construction of skyscrapers in the east. The ban extends to an area between the coast and Ibn Gabirol Street, and also between the Yarkon River and Eilat Street. It did not extend to towers already approved and/or under construction. Any new buildings there will usually not be allowed to rise above six and a half stories. However, hotel towers along almost the entire beachfront will be allowed to rise up to 25 stories. The committee decided to approve one last skyscraper project in the city center, while dozens of other planned projects had to be scrapped. According to the plan, the entire area between Ibn Gabirol Street and the eastern city limits would be "flooded" with skyscrapers and high-rise buildings at least 18 stories tall. Under the plan, "forests" of corporate skyscrapers will line both sides of the Ayalon Highway. Further south, skyscrapers rising up to 40 stories will be built along the old Ottoman railway between Neve Tzedek and Florentine, with the first such tower there being the Neve Tzedek Tower. Along nearby Shlavim Street, passing between Jaffa and south Tel Aviv, office buildings up to 25 stories will line both sides of the street, which will be widened to accommodate traffic from the city's southern entrance to the center.
In November 2012, it was announced that to encourage investment in the city's architecture, residential towers throughout Tel Aviv would be extended in height. Buildings in Jaffa and the southern and eastern districts may have two and a half stories added, while those on Ibn Gabirol Street might be extended by seven and a half stories.
Tel Aviv was built on sand dunes in an area unsuitable for farming. Instead, it developed as a hub of business and scientific research.[unreliable source] In 1926, the country's first shopping arcade, Passage Pensak, was built there. By 1936, as tens of thousands of middle class immigrants arrived from Europe, Tel Aviv was already the largest city in Palestine. A small port was built at the Yarkon estuary, and many cafes, clubs and cinemas opened. Herzl Street became a commercial thoroughfare at this time.
The city has been described as a "flourishing technological center" by Newsweek and a "miniature Los Angeles" by The Economist. In 1998, the city was described by Newsweek as one of the 10 most technologically influential cities in the world. Since then, high-tech industry in the Tel Aviv area has continued to develop. The Tel Aviv metropolitan area (including satellite cities such as Herzliya and Petah Tikva) is Israel's center of high-tech, sometimes referred to as Silicon Wadi.
Tel Aviv is home to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE), Israel's only stock exchange, which has reached record heights since the 1990s. The Tel Aviv Stock exchange has also gained attention for its resilience and ability to recover from war and disasters. For example, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange was higher on the last day of both the 2006 Lebanon war and the 2009 Operation in Gaza than on the first day of fighting Many international venture-capital firms, scientific research institutes and high-tech companies are headquartered in the city. Industries in Tel Aviv include chemical processing, textile plants and food manufacturers.[unreliable source] The city's nightlife, cultural attractions and architecture attract tourists whose spending benefits the local economy.
In 2008, the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC) at Loughborough University reissued an inventory of world cities based on their level of advanced producer services. Tel Aviv was ranked as a beta+ world city.
The Kiryat Atidim high tech zone opened in 1972 and the city has become a major world high tech hub. In December 2012, the city was ranked second on a list of top places to found a high tech startup company, just behind Silicon Valley. In 2013, Tel Aviv had more than 700 startup companies and research and development centers, and was ranked the second-most innovative city in the world, behind Medellín and ahead of New York City.
According to Forbes, nine of its fifteen Israeli-born billionaires live in Israel; four live in Tel Aviv and its suburbs. The cost of living in Israel is high, with Tel Aviv being its most expensive city to live in. According to Mercer, a human resources consulting firm based in New York, as of 2010 Tel Aviv is the most expensive city in the Middle East and the 19th most expensive in the world.
Culture and contemporary life
Entertainment and performing arts
Tel Aviv is a major center of culture and entertainment. Eighteen of Israel's 35 major centers for the performing arts are located in the city, including five of the country's nine large theaters, where 55% of all performances in the country and 75 percent of all attendance occurs. The Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center is home of the Israeli Opera, where Plácido Domingo was house tenor between 1962 and 1965, and the Cameri Theater. With 2,482 seats, the Tel Aviv Culture Palace is the city's largest theater and home to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
Habima Theater, Israel's national theater, was closed down for renovations in early 2008, and reopened in November 2011 after major remodeling. Enav Cultural Center is one of the newer additions to the cultural scene. Other theaters in Tel Aviv are the Gesher Theater and Beit Lessin Theater; Tzavta and Tmuna are smaller theaters that host musical performances and fringe productions. In Jaffa, the Simta and Notzar theaters specialize in fringe as well. Tel Aviv is home to the Batsheva Dance Company, a world famous contemporary dance troupe. The Israeli Ballet is also based in Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv's center for modern and classical dance is the Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance and Theater in Neve Tzedek.
The city often hosts pop and rock concerts in venues such as Hayarkon Park, the Israel Trade Fairs & Convention Center, the Barby Club and the Zappa Club. Opera and classical music performances are held daily in Tel Aviv, with many of the world's leading classical conductors and soloists performing on Tel Aviv stages over the years.
The Tel Aviv Cinematheque screens art movies, premieres of short and full-length Israeli films, and hosts a variety of film festivals, among them the Festival of Animation, Comics and Caricatures, "Icon" Science Fiction and Fantasy Festival, the Student Film Festival, the Jazz, Film and Videotape Festival and Salute to Israeli Cinema. The city has several multiplex cinemas.
Tourism and recreation
In 2010, Knight Frank's world city survey ranked it 34th globally. Tel Aviv has been named the third "hottest city for 2011" (behind only New York City and Tangier) by Lonely Planet, third-best in the Middle East and Africa by Travel + Leisure magazine (behind only Cape Town and Jerusalem), and the ninth-best beach city in the world by National Geographic. Tel Aviv is consistently ranked as one of the top LGBT destinations in the world.
With 2.5 million international visitors annually, Tel Aviv is the fifth-most-visited city in the Middle East & Africa. It is known as "the city that never sleeps" and a "party capital" due to its thriving nightlife, young atmosphere and famous 24-hour culture. Tel Aviv has branches of some of the world's leading hotels, including the Crowne Plaza, Sheraton, Dan, Isrotel and Hilton. It is home to many museums, architectural and cultural sites, with city tours available in different languages. Apart from bus tours, architectural tours, Segway tours, and walking tours are also popular. Tel Aviv has 44 hotels with more than 6,500 rooms.
The beaches of Tel Aviv play a major role in the city's cultural and touristic scene, often ranked as some of the best beaches in the world. Hayarkon Park is the most visited urban park in Israel, with 16 million visitors annually. Other parks within city limits include Charles Clore Park, Independence Park, Meir Park and Dubnow Park. About 19% of the city land are green spaces.
Tel Aviv is an international hub of highly active and diverse nightlife with bars, dance bars and nightclubs staying open well past midnight. The largest area for nightclubs is the Tel Aviv port, where the city's large, commercial clubs and bars draw big crowds of young clubbers from both Tel Aviv and neighboring cities. The South of Tel Aviv is known for the popular Haoman 17 club, as well as for being the city's main hub of alternative clubbing, with underground venues including established clubs like the Block Club, Comfort 13 and Paradise Garage, as well as various warehouse and loft party venues. The Allenby/Rothschild area is another popular nightlife hub, featuring such clubs as the Pasaz, Radio EPGB and the Penguin. In 2013, Absolut Vodka introduced a specially designed bottle dedicated to Tel Aviv as part of its international cities series.
Tel Aviv has become an international center of fashion and design. It has been called the “next hot destination” for fashion. Israeli designers, such as swimwear company Gottex show their collections at leading fashion shows, including New York’s Bryant Park fashion show. In 2011, Tel Aviv hosted its first Fashion Week since the 1980s, with Italian designer Roberto Cavalli as a guest of honor.
Named "The best gay city in the world" by American Airlines, Tel Aviv is one of the most popular destinations for LGBT tourists internationally, with a large LGBT community. American journalist David Kaufman has described the city as a place “packed with the kind of ‘we're here, we're queer’ vibe more typically found in Sydney and San Francisco. The city hosts its well-known pride parade, the biggest in Asia, attracting over 100,000 people yearly. In January 2008, Tel Aviv's municipality established the city's LGBT Community Center, providing all of the municipal and cultural services to the LGBT community under one roof. In December 2008, Tel Aviv began putting together a team of gay athletes for the 2009 World Outgames in Copenhagen. In addition, Tel Aviv hosts an annual LGBT Film Festival.
Tel Aviv is famous for its wide variety of world-class restaurants, offering traditional Israeli dishes as well as international fare. More than 100 sushi restaurants, the third highest concentration in the world, do business in the city.
Israel has the highest number of museums per capita of any country, with three of the largest located in Tel Aviv. Among these are the Eretz Israel Museum, known for its collection of archaeology and history exhibits dealing with the Land of Israel, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Housed on the campus of Tel Aviv University is Beth Hatefutsoth, a museum of the international Jewish diaspora that tells the story of Jewish prosperity and persecution throughout the centuries of exile. Batey Haosef Museum specializes in Israel Defense Forces military history. The Palmach Museum near Tel Aviv University offers a multimedia experience of the history of the Palmach. Right next to Charles Clore Park is a museum of the Etzel. The Israel Trade Fairs & Convention Center, located in the northern part of the city, hosts more than 60 major events annually. Many offbeat museums and galleries operate in the southern areas, including the Tel Aviv Raw Art contemporary art gallery.
Tel Aviv is the only city with three clubs in Israeli Premier League, the country's top football league. Maccabi Tel Aviv Sports Club was founded in 1906 and competes in more than 10 sport fields. Its basketball team, Maccabi Tel Aviv, is a world-known professional team, that holds 50 Israeli titles, has won 39 editions of the Israel cup, and has six European Championships, and its football team has won 19 Israeli league titles and has won 22 State Cups, two Toto Cups and two Asian Club Championships. Yael Arad, an athlete in Maccabi's judo club, won a silver medal in the 1992 Olympic Games.
National Sport Center – Tel Aviv (also Hadar Yosef Sports Center) is a compound of stadiums and sports facilities. It also houses the Olympic Committee of Israel and the National Athletics Stadium with the Israeli Athletic Association.
Hapoel Tel Aviv Sports Club, founded in 1923, comprises more than 11 sports clubs, including Hapoel Tel Aviv Football Club (13 championships, 11 State Cups, one Toto Cup and once Asian champions) which plays in Bloomfield Stadium, men's and women's basketball clubs.
Tel Aviv is also home to the Tel Aviv-Yafo Coexistence Lacrosse Team. Israel Lacrosse operates substantial youth lacrosse programs in the city. These programs allow children to compete against other lacrosse programs around Israel. Tel Aviv also holds practices for the Israel Men's National Lacrosse Team ranked 7th in the World.
Bnei Yehuda (once Israeli champion, twice State Cup winners and twice Toto Cup winner) is the only Israeli football team in the top division that represents a neighborhood, the Hatikva Quarter in Tel Aviv, and not a city.
Shimshon Tel Aviv and Beitar Tel Aviv both formerly played in the top division, but dropped into the lower leagues, and merged in 2000, the new club now playing in Liga Artzit, the third tier. Another former first division team, Maccabi Jaffa, is now defunct, as are Maccabi HaTzefon Tel Aviv, Hapoel HaTzefon Tel Aviv and Hakoah Tel Aviv, who merged with Maccabi Ramat Gan and moved to Ramat Gan in 1959.
Two rowing clubs operate in Tel Aviv. The Tel Aviv Rowing Club, established in 1935 on the banks of the Yarkon River, is the largest rowing club in Israel. Meanwhile, the beaches of Tel Aviv provide a vibrant Matkot (beach paddleball) scene. Tel Aviv Lightning represent Tel Aviv in the Israel Baseball League. Tel Aviv also has an annual half marathon, run in 2008 by 10,000 athletes with runners coming from around the world.
Tel Aviv is also ranked to be 10th best to-skateboarding city by Transworld Skateboarding.
The three largest newspaper companies in Israel – Yedioth Ahronoth, Maariv and Haaretz – are all based within the city limits. Several radio stations cover the Tel Aviv area, including the city-based Radio Tel Aviv.
The three major Israeli television networks, Israel Broadcasting Authority, Keshet, Reshet, and Channel 10, are based in the city, as well as two of the most popular radio stations in Israel: Galatz and Galgalatz, which are both based in Jaffa. Studios of the international news channel i24news is located at Jaffa Port Customs House. An English language radio station, TLV1, is based at Kikar Hamedina.
Environment and urban restoration
Tel Aviv is ranked as the greenest city in Israel. Since 2008, City lights are turned off annually in support of Earth Hour. In February 2009, the municipality launched a water saving campaign, including competition granting free parking for a year to the household that is found to have consumed the least amount of water per person.
In the early 21st century, Tel Aviv's municipality transformed a derelict power station into a public park, now named "Gan HaHashmal" (electric park), paving the way for eco-friendly and environmentally conscious designs. In October 2008, Martin Weyl turned an old garbage dump near Ben Gurion International Airport, called Hiriya, into an attraction by building an arc of plastic bottles. The site, which was renamed Ariel Sharon Park to honor Israel’s former prime minister, will serve as the centerpiece in what is to become a 2,000-acre (8.1 km2) urban wilderness on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, designed by German landscape architect, Peter Latz.
At the end of the 20th century, the city began restoring historical neighborhoods such as Neve Tzedek and many buildings from the 1920s and 1930s. Since 2007, the city hosts its well-known, annual Open House Tel Aviv weekend, which offers the general public free entrance to the city's famous landmarks, private houses and public buildings. In 2010, the design of the renovated Tel Aviv Port (Nemal Tel Aviv) won the award for outstanding landscape architecture at the European Biennial for Landscape Architecture in Barcelona.
Tel Aviv is a major transportation hub, served by a comprehensive public transport network, with many major routes of the national transportation network running through the city.
Bus and taxi
As with the rest of Israel, bus transport is the most common form of public transport and is very widely used. The Tel Aviv Central Bus Station is located in the southern part of the city. The main bus network in Tel Aviv metropolitan area operated by Dan Bus Company, Metropoline and Kavim. the Egged Bus Cooperative, the world's largest bus company, provides intercity transportation.
The city is also served by local and inter-city share taxis. Many local and inter-city bus routes also have sherut taxis that follow the same route and display the same route number in their window. Fares are standardised within the region and are comparable to or less expensive than bus fares. Unlike other forms of public transport, these taxis also operate on Fridays and Saturdays (the Jewish sabbath "Shabbat"). Private taxis are white with a yellow sign on top. Fares are standardised and metered, but may be negotiated ahead of time with the driver.
The Tel Aviv Central train station is the main train station of the city, and the busiest station in Israel. The city has three additional train stations along the Ayalon Highway: Tel Aviv University, HaShalom (adjacent to Azrieli Center) and HaHagana (near the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station). It is estimated that over a million passengers travel by train to Tel Aviv monthly. The trains do not run on Saturday and holidays.
The main highway leading to the city is the Ayalon Highway (Highway 20), which runs along the eastern side of the city from north to south along the Ayalon River riverbed, dividing for the most part Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan. Driving south on the Ayalon gives access to Highway 1, leading to Ben Gurion International Airport and Jerusalem. Within the city, main routes include Kaplan Street, Allenby Street, Ibn Gabirol Street, Dizengoff Street, Rothschild Boulevard, and in Jaffa the main route is Jerusalem Boulevard. Namir Road connects the city to Highway 2, Israel's main north–south highway, and Begin/Jabotinsky Road, which provides access from the east through Ramat Gan, Bnei Brak and Petah Tikva. Tel Aviv, accommodating about 500,000 commuter cars daily, suffers from increasing congestion. In 2007, the Sadan Report recommended the introduction of a congestion charge similar to that of London in Tel Aviv as well as other Israeli cities. Under this plan, road users traveling into the city would pay a fixed fee.
The main airport serving Tel Aviv is Ben Gurion Airport (IATA: TLV). Located in the neighboring city of Lod, it is the main airport of Israel, handling over 13 million passengers in 2011. The airport serves both international flights and domestic flights, and is the main hub of El Al, Arkia Israel Airlines, Israir Airlines and Sun D'Or International Airlines. The airport is 15 kilometres (9 mi) southeast of Tel Aviv, on Highway 1 between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Another airport in the Tel Aviv area, Sde Dov (IATA: SDV), in northwestern Tel Aviv close to Tel Aviv Port, serves mainly domestic flights and may be closed in favor of real-estate development. In the future all services to Sde Dov will be transferred to Ben Gurion Airport.
The first line of a light rail system is under construction and scheduled to open in 2020. The Red Line starts at Petah Tikva's Central Bus Station, east of Tel Aviv and follows the Jabotinsky Road (Route 481) westwards at street level. At the point where Jabotinsky Road and Highway 4 intersect the line drops into an underground tunnel for 10 km (6.21 mi) through Bnei Brak, Ramat Gan and Tel Aviv and emerges again to street level just before Jaffa, where it turns southwards towards Bat Yam.
The underground section will include 10 stations, including an interchange with Israel Railways services at Tel Aviv Central Railway Station and the nearby 2000 Terminal. A maintenance depot, connected via a branch line and tunnel to the main section of the line, will be constructed in Kiryat Arye, across from the existing Kiryat Arye suburban railway station. The intended builder and operator of the first line, MTS, has had financial difficulties that postponed the line's opening. In May 2010, the ministry of finance decided to cancel the agreement with MTS due to the difficulties and the agreement was cancelled in August 2010. The line is being built instead by NTA – The Tel Aviv region's mass transit development authority. Initially, the line's targeted opening was in 2012 and today the target is 2016 after several postponements due to the disagreements with MTS and NTA's takeover of the project.
Tel Aviv Municipality encourages the use of bicycles in the city. Plans called for expansion of the paths to 100 kilometers (62.1 mi) by 2009.
In April 2011, Tel Aviv municipality launched Tel-O-Fun, a bicycle sharing system, in which 150 stations of bicycles for rent were installed within the city limits. As of October 2011, there are 125 active stations, providing more than 1,000 bicycles. As of April 2011 the municipality has completed construction of about 100 km (62 mi) of bicycle paths.