What You Need To Know
Tel Aviv is a major city in Israel, the second-most populous city administered by the Israeli government after Jerusalem. Situated on the Mediterranean coastline in central-west Israel, Tel Aviv has a population of 426,138 within city limits. The city is the focal point of the larger Tel Aviv Metropolitan Area, which contains over 3.7 million residents, 42% of the country’s population. Tel Aviv is governed by the Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality, headed by Ron Huldai, and is home to many foreign embassies. The city was founded in 1909 by Jewish immigrants on the outskirts of the ancient port city of Jaffa (Hebrew: יפו Yafo). The modern city’s first neighborhoods had already been established in 1886, the first being Neve Tzedek. Immigration by mostly Jewish refugees 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 International Style buildings (Bauhaus and other related modernist architectural styles). Tel Aviv is a global city, and is the twenty-fifth most important financial center in the world. Tel Aviv has the third-largest economy of any city in the Middle East after Abu Dhabi and Tehran, and has the 31st highest cost of living in the world. The city receives over a million international visitors annually. Known as “The City that Never Sleeps” and a “party capital”, it has a lively nightlife, dynamic atmosphere and a famous 24-hour culture.
Area: 52 km²
- Israel uses the New Israel Shekel (NIS) as its currency. One shekel can be divided into 100 agorot. Both paper bills and coins are used. A 10-shekel and 5-shekelcoin is about the size of an American quarter and a one-shekel coin is about the size of an American dime.
Tel Aviv has been ranked as the twenty-fifth most important financial center in the world. It was built on sand dunes in an area unsuitable for farming. Instead, it developed as a hub of business and scientific research. 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. Economic activities account for 17 percent of the GDP. In 2011, Tel Aviv had an unemployment rate of 4.4 percent. 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. 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. Shopping malls in Tel Aviv include Dizengoff Center, Ramat Aviv Mall and Azrieli Shopping Mall and markets such as Carmel Market, Ha’Tikva Market, and Bezalel Market.
From top to bottom: Hebrew, Arabic, English, and Russian. English and Russian are the most popular unofficial languages in Israel. The quadrilingual warning (English, Hebrew, Arabic and Russian) on the optical cable manhole cover in Tel Aviv.
Health and security
- Health care in Israel and Tel Aviv is universal and participation in a medical insurance plan is compulsory. All Israeli citizens are entitled to basic health care as a fundamental right. The Israeli healthcare system is based on the National Health Insurance Law of 1995, which mandates all citizens resident in the country to join one of four official health insurance organizations which are run as not-for-profit organizations, and are prohibited by law from denying any Israeli citizen membership. Israelis can increase their medical coverage and improve their options by purchasing private health insurance. In a survey of 48 countries in 2013, Israel’s health system was ranked fourth in the world in terms of efficiency, and in 2014 it ranked seventh out of 51. In 2015, Israel was ranked sixth-healthiest country in the world by Bloomberg rankings.
There are many ways to get in and around of Tel Aviv.
Bus and taxi, As with the rest of Israel, bus transport is the most common form of public transport and is very widely used.
- Rail, The Tel Aviv Central railway station is the main railway station of the cityi, and the busiest station in Israel.
- Roads, 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.
- Air, The main airport serving Greater Tel Aviv is Ben Gurion Airport. Located in the neighboring city of Lod, it is a main international airport.
- SkyTran, The Tel Aviv municipality is currently working on building a SkyTran system across the city, under which light, two-person cars will be transported along elevated magnetic levitation tracks.
- Cycling, 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.
Tel Aviv has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification: Csa), characterised by hot, humid yet rainless summers and mild, wet winters with most of the annual precipitation falling between October and May. The average annual temperature is 20.9 °C (69.6 °F), and the average sea temperature is 18–20 °C (64–68 °F) during the winter, and 24–29 °C (75–84 °F) during the summer. The city averages 528 millimeters (20.8 in) of precipitation annually. Summers in Tel Aviv last about five months, from June to October. Precipitation during the summer is rare, although light drizzles may occur in some early mornings. August, the warmest month, averages a high of 30.6 °C (87.1 °F), and a low of 25 °C (77 °F). The high relative humidity due to the location of the city by the Mediterranean Sea, in a combination with the high temperatures, creates a thermal discomfort during the summer. Summer low temperatures in Tel Aviv seldom drop below 20 °C (68 °F). Winters are mild and wet, with most of the annual precipitation falling within the months of December, January and February as intense rainfall and thunderstorms. In January, the coolest month, the average maximum temperature is 17.6 °C (63.7 °F), the minimum temperature averages 10.2 °C (50.4 °F). During the colder days of winter, temperatures may reach a low of 6 °C (43 °F). Autumns and springs are characterized by sharp temperature changes, with heat waves that might be created due to hot and dry air masses that arrive from the nearby deserts. During heatwaves in autumn and springs, temperatures usually climb up to 35 °C (95 °F) and even up to 40 °C (104 °F), accompanied with exceptionally low humidity. An average day during autumn and spring has a high of 23 °C (73 °F) to 25 °C (77 °F), and a low of 15 °C (59 °F) to 18 °C (64 °F). The highest recorded temperature in Tel Aviv was 46.5 °C (115.7 °F) on 17 May 1916, and the lowest is −1.9 °C (28.6 °F) on 7 February 1950, during a cold wave that brought the only recorded snowfall in Tel Aviv.