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Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv-Yafo (תל אביב-יפו) is a coastal city and also a metropolitan area in Israel. For a period of 8 months (May through December 1948) until the seizure of Jerusalem it also served as the de facto capital of Israel. Though Israel subsequently designated Jerusalem to be its capital, that designation was regarded as a breach of international law and not accepted by the diplomatic community (with just two exceptions) nor by any international state organisations, all of whom continue to regard Tel Aviv as the de jure Israeli capital, as a result basing all their embassies and consulates there.1

The name "Tel Aviv" in Hebrew means hill of spring, the title given to the Hebrew translation of Theodor Herzl's book Altneuland or Oldnewland; the name "Tel Aviv" was borrowed by the translator, Nahum Sokolov, from the Book of Ezekiel.

The larger metropolitan area comprises a number of separate municipalities with around 1.1 million people living in the 14 km sprawl along the Mediterranean coast and around 365,000 in Tel Aviv-Yafo itself, making it the second largest city in Israel. Bat Yam, Holon, Ramat Gan, Givatayim, Bnei Brak, Petah Tikva, Rishon LeZion, Ramat Ha-Sharon and Herzliya are the other major cities in the area known as Gush Dan2.

The settlement in the area of modern Southern Tel Aviv (neighborhoods of Neve-Shalom and Neve-Tsedek) was started in the 1880s as a substitute for the rather expensive Arab neighborhoods of Jaffa. However the city of Tel Aviv itself was established only in 1909. It quickly grew to become the center of Israeli urban life, and it remains one up until today. In 1950 Tel Aviv and Jaffa were united in a single municipality - Tel Aviv-Yafo.

Tel Aviv University, the largest university in Israel, is located in north Tel Aviv (in a quarter called Ramat-Aviv).

In July, 2003, Tel Aviv's White City was announced unanimously by the UNESCO council as a World Heritage Site, due to its massive assemblage of the Bauhaus International Style buildings, the city's most precious architecture style.


1 Jerusalem is accepted as Israel's capital by two countries, Costa Rica and El Salvador.

2 Ramat Ha-Sharon and Herzliya, though neighboring Tel Aviv, are not considered part of Gush Dan, but rather of an area named Sharon

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