Tel Aviv: Israel’s Cultural and Financial Capital

Tel Aviv: Israel’s Cultural and Financial Capital

– You may know the city of Tel Aviv as a commercial and financial center, bursting with startups and headquarters of major global companies. Or, you may know of it
as a cosmopolitan hub of culture and art. Or, you may just know
it as the party capital of the Middle East. So, how did a pile of sand dunes transform into the modern city of
Tel Aviv we know today? (upbeat music) The year was 1909, and the place was just north of the
ancient city of Jaffa, a port that had existed for millennia, and it changed hands
between the Jews, Arabs, Crusaders, Turks and other
groups over the years. Jewish pioneers fleeing
persecution and hardship in Europe, purchased deeds for roughly
12 acres of barren sand dunes from the Ottoman Empire, with the intent of creating
the first modern Jewish city. Hoping to expand Jaffa and start a new and better life there, they
founded the town of Tel Aviv. The name itself meant Hill
of Spring in biblical Hebrew. It was also the title of
the Hebrew translation of the utopian novel
Altneuland, or Old New Land, written by Zionist leader Theodor Herzl. On that day, April 11th, 1909, 66 families arrived on the
shore of the future city, but needed a fair method of divvying up the plots of land among them. Akiva Aryeh Weiss, the president
of the building cooperative they all belonged to, came up with the idea
of a seashell lottery. He plucked 66 gray
seashells and 66 white ones from the sand beneath their feet. He carefully wrote the name of
each family on a white shell, and a number for a plot
of land on each gray one. A 10-year-old boy paired them up at random and doled them out. The land was assigned,
and Tel Aviv was born. But, how did they transform
from sands to city? Enters Sir Patrick Geddes from Scotland, one of the founding
fathers of urban planning. With the United Kingdom in
control of Mandatory Palestine, Geddes took an active interest in the development of the region. He had already designed the Hebrew University
of Jerusalem in 1919, and in 1925 he had some fresh new ideas about how to construct a city. His design envisioned a garden city, that laid out main roads intersecting with smaller side streets, to create roomy residential
blocks with lots of greenery and a communal garden
in the center of each. This would combine a
modern, organized city with an open pastoral feel. Soon, the rapid development of the city would largely overwhelm his plan, although the layout Geddes designed, can still be seen on the road plan today. Interest in moving to Tel
Aviv caught on quickly. And the town swell from the
population of 2,000 in 1920, to over 40,000 by the end of the decade. That’s an increase of 2,000%. And in the 1930s, the city really passed over the threshold
of becoming a major city. Jewish refugees, fleeing new
waves of persecution in Europe, landed in Tel Aviv, and the
town’s population skyrocketed. With this influx of immigrants, came culture, sport and industry. Habima theater company was
founded in Russia in 1917, but fled anti-Semitic persecution and moved to Tel Aviv in 1931, where it later became
Israel’s national theater. In 1932, the first
Maccabiah Games were held. An international Jewish sports competition aiming to shatter
stereotypes about weak Jews. Tel Avivians proudly showcased the athletic and muscular new Jew. Furthering the city’s patriotic feel, 1936 inaugurated the first performance of the Palestine Philharmonic Orchestra, with the rendition of
Hatikvah, the national anthem. And when the 1936 Arab
revolt cut Tel Aviv off from the port city of
Jaffa, in the late 30s, the city showed its persevering spirit, sending its first shipment
of home-grown oranges to England’s Buckingham
Palace, as a message that Zionism was still going strong. By now, the mid 30s, Tel Aviv had become a rapidly expanding city
of over 130,000 people. The layout of the city also expanded. Architects educated in
ultra-modernist German Bauhaus style, moved to the city and gave the city its famous international look. They designed buildings that
favored clean curves and lines, without embellishments, and
focused on practicality, which made sense for a new
and rapidly expanding city being built on a practically blank slate. Back in Germany, the Nazi
regime classified this style as degenerate art, and shut
down the Bauhaus school. And because so many Jewish architects fled Nazi Germany for Tel
Aviv, the city came to host the largest Bauhaus district in the world, with over 4,000 buildings in this style. The Bauhaus district came to be known as Tel Aviv’s white city, and was designated a
UNESCO World Heritage site. All this new development
helped to put Tel Aviv on the world map. The city continued to
grow economically as well. In 1953, the Israeli stock
exchange opened in Tel Aviv, establishing its role as the
financial hub of the new state. Recently, Tel Aviv has
been ranked in the top 25 most important financial
centers in the world. Not bad for a city with a
population of only 450,000. It’s also a premier city
for startup businesses. In 2012 it was named the second best city in which to found a startup, coming only after Silicon Valley. The number five spot on the
2019 Bloomberg Innovation Index, and the number one spot for
research and development. The Israeli government
encourages this creative spirit with the Israeli Innovation Authority, an agency that fosters
invention in several industries. With so much business and development, it’s the financial and
international hub of Israel. Tel Aviv is also Israel’s
center of nightlife, entertainment and, well, what you can really only call, partying. On weekend nights the city is lit up from the clubs in southern Tel Aviv, to the crowded bars and sidewalks of Allenby, Ben Yehuda
and Dizengoff streets. The city’s coastal
location is a prime fest of its social life as well,
with beaches so popular, that Tel Aviv is nicknamed
the Ibiza of the Middle East. But, despite the booming
industry and social scene, Tel Aviv has its fair share
of economic concerns too. It’s ranked as the 10th most
expensive city in the world, which is great for real estate value, but not so convenient for
the people who live there, or for those who would like to. In fact, the city, and Israel overall, has a fairly high poverty rate for an industrialized economy. Meaning there is a
significant wealth disparity. Immigrants and refugees,
looking for a new life, helped to found the city, but now, with such a high cost of living, it can be hard for newcomers
to even get a foothold there. In fact, there were huge
demonstrations in 2011, when hundreds and thousands of Israelis, Jewish and Arab alike,
pitched tents on the streets alongside Tel Aviv’s central
Rothschild Boulevard. This was right around the time of the Occupy Wall Street
protest in New York, and Tel Avivians voiced
similar financial concerns, protesting high prices for
goods, food and housing, as well as the uneven distribution of power and wealth in their country. This social justice protests in Israel, sometimes referred to
as the tent protests, soon spread to other Israeli cities. While they primarily raised
awareness of economic troubles, rather than initiating significant reform, the fact that so many
Israelis of diverse social, religious and ethnic
backgrounds, unified in protest, displayed the city’s potential for unity and strength in times of tension. And the fact is, Tel Aviv
does maintain great diversity. Ethnic, religious and social. This progressive spirit
can be clearly seen in the city’s LGBTQ culture. The Boston Globe once called
it the gayest city on earth. The city also holds one of the world’s largest pride parades, which takes place over a full week, and attracted 250,000
people in recent years. This sort of diversity constantly encourages Tel
Avivians to grow and adapt. And in a region like the Middle East, Tel Aviv stands out as a rare symbol of acceptance and coexistence. All in all, Tel Aviv has
stood as a symbol and center for Israel’s industry,
creativity and passion since its founding on the
sand dunes north of Jaffa, over a century ago. Thanks for watching, see
you, guys, next week. (upbeat music)

Dereck Turner

30 thoughts on “Tel Aviv: Israel’s Cultural and Financial Capital

  1. Ginno Ricci says:

    Great video, although I'm a Jerusalemite. Actually Tel Aviv is pretty homogeneous when it comes to ethnicity, since over 90% of its population is Jewish. That's why there are hardly any churches or mosques in the city (without including nearby Jaffa, of course).

  2. ForeverTruthVV says:

    So sad….. Tel Aviv has become the Secular City of the Land of Israel. With all its accomplishments it has failed in producing Jews who listen to HaShem and obey Him. Sorry to say, that Tel Aviv as it exist today will be destroyed because it is a Party City that worships false gods and has turned away from the One True and Living G-d of Israel. The Land of Israel still belongs to HaShem we are all just sojourners on it with HIM. Tel Aviv seems to have forgotten their G-d.

  3. Patriots For Israel says:


  4. אורון רז says:

    Great video! 🇮🇱❤

  5. David Green says:

    speak SLOWER , "unpacked "videos shouldn't be a sprint race ,( made worse by having to rewind every 20 seconds or so ) they should be informative to those whose mother tongue ISN'T English

  6. Unpacked says:

    Did you watch this year's Eurovision Song Contest which took place in Tel Aviv just a few weeks ago?

  7. SidewaysBurnouts says:

    international banking conspiracy.

  8. Lincoln Rockwell says:

    Thats where Americas 32 billion in taxes are going. A hole in the desert with a bunch of snakes in it.

  9. Hunter says:

    Funny how Jews push diversity overwhelmingly in white countries, but they can have their own country

  10. Tornado Nick says:


    Israel is a fascistic, apertheid, illegitimate state.

  11. Mick says:


  12. Ns Naji says:

    beautiful palestine 🙂

  13. Mohsin Hamza says:

    No Israel.. Only Palestine as I read it in history book it's belongs to Muslim and Christians.. maybe my Jewish friends don't like…. You ppl has no land each country you go u disrespect .destroy and cheet locals

  14. Moamen ElGhalid says:

    Long live Palestine

  15. Gianna Abdallah says:


  16. Uchiha zero says:

    Party capital? These guys kill kids in the West bank

  17. Punished Soleimani says:

    Of course the Jews turned the Holy Land into sodomy and party central.

  18. Wilhelm Abu Kaiser says:

    I’m surprised they still haven’t disabled the comments.😂

  19. Le Ananas says:

    Same place where my dad couldn’t buy a home because of his ethnicity! What an amazing city.

  20. Vladimir Putin says:

    Love Palestine

  21. Matt Newhouse says:

    You mean us Jews didnt steal it? Legally purchased desolate land? Just being sarcastic, really love this video, and wish it would air every 10 mins in the news.

  22. Mazen says:

    The party capital of the Middle East is in Lebanon 🇱🇧

  23. Elie Jabbour says:

    The party capital of the middle east is beirut without any doubt🇱🇧🇱🇧🇱🇧

  24. Ns Naji says:

    They didnt buy land from us they destoryed our houses and took them, saying that they bought the land is complete BS they want you to believe

    This is just one case search it on youtube there are thousands of videos just like this

  25. Amit Chawda says:

    Bro I love your videos and everything that you cover about Israel, I have heard that India has never been hostile to Jews ever, if this is true could you please make a video on 🇮🇳 and 🇮🇱 relationship so far……….🙏

  26. 익명 says:

    God bless and protect Palestine

  27. nikolai bahtin says:

    3 words, traffic traffic TRAFFIC!!!

  28. some body says:


  29. Amnon T says:

    Why so many dislikes on a video about a city? I really am wondering..

  30. Mia Sāgara says:

    Stolen land.

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