Old and New:
The modern history of Tel Aviv began in 1909 when sixty families founded what they called Ahuzat Bayit (roughly, “Homestead”). This neighborhood merged with Nachalat Binyamin (“property of Benjamin”) and Geula under the name of Tel Aviv, meaning “hill of spring.” The term comes from Ezekiel 3:15, which speaks of a village called “Tel-abib,” where some Israelites lived during the Babylonian captivity. Tel Aviv was also the title of the Hebrew translation of Theodor Herzl’s utopian Zionist novel, Altneuland (German for “Old-New Land”).
During World War I, the Turks expelled most of Tel Aviv’s Jewish residents. However, the city’s population recovered quickly as the region came under British control following the war. Unrest in nearby Arab-dominated Jaffa in the 1920s caused many Jewish people to leave for Tel Aviv.
One of Tel Aviv’s most significant population booms came from the Fifth Aliyah (1929–1939), the fifth distinct, pre-1948 movement of Jewish people to the land. These immigrants came primarily from Austria and Germany, where Nazi persecution made life increasingly unbearable. Through this group—of whom more than half settled in Tel Aviv—the city grew from 4,000 Jewish residents in 1921 to 135,000 in 1935. The professional caliber of those partaking in the Fifth Aliyah—which included many scholars, physicians, and lawyers—greatly enriched the culture of the Jewish settlement.
This group’s German flavor had a lasting effect on Tel Aviv’s architecture. Several Jewish Germans were involved in the Bauhaus architecture movement, which emphasizes functionality and repetition. At least seventeen of Tel Aviv’s architects had studied at the Bauhaus school in Dessau, Germany. Today, more than 5,000 buildings in Tel Aviv are in the Bauhaus style—no city in the world has more. Tel Aviv’s “White City,” a section named for its light-colored buildings, is considered a World Heritage Site. The convention considers its architecture “an outstanding example in a large scale of the innovative town-planning ideas of the first part of the twentieth century.”
Tel Aviv has been central to Israel’s growth. Israel declared independence in 1948 in Tel Aviv at the home of the city’s mayor. Tel Aviv quickly became the country’s economic and cultural center. The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange opened in 1953, and Tel Aviv University in 1956. Before Israel gained control of Jerusalem in 1967, Israel’s government offices were in Tel Aviv, and some still are today. Tel Aviv has grown from a small neighborhood to a major cosmopolitan city in a little more than one hundred years and is still thriving today.
 “Tel Aviv and Jaffa,” Jewish Virtual Library, accessed December 14, 2022, https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/tel-aviv-and-jaffa.
 John Efron et al., The Jews: A History (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009), 365–66.
 “Tel Aviv and Jaffa.”