The White City on the Coast
Of course, Jerusalem has no equal. The spiritual epicenter of the world, and the capital of both modern and ancient Israel, she will always be the queen of our hearts and the jewel of the ages. But tell me, what do you know about Tel Aviv?
While the physical distance between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv is minute, less than 45 miles, the trip can feel like stepping into another world entirely. Tel Aviv is a vibrant modern city full of sights and sounds, and the warm balmy breeze from the sea practically caries you to the beach on its own … not that you’d need much encouragement to do so. Unlike most beaches found in the world, Israel’s Mediterranean shoreline has the unique benefit of soft sand and invitingly warm waters in which to swim (the Mediterranean Sea is usually noticeably a few degrees warmer than the Atlantic Ocean which flows into it).
A historical landmark in the resettling of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel, Tel Aviv was envisioned, planned and built from the ground up by Jewish immigrants on the outskirts of ancient Jaffa (pronounced Ya-Fo in Hebrew). This is the biblical port city from which the fleeing prophet, Jonah, set sail before being thrown overboard by his shipmates and swallowed by the great whale in preparation for his profound ministry to the City of Nineveh. At Tel Aviv’s birth, a little over 100 years ago, Jaffa was an Arab town.
Tel Aviv’s first mayor, Mr. Meir Dizengoff, envisioned and hoped for Tel Aviv to be a place of peaceful coexistence with its Arab neighbors; and while the road to peaceful coexistence has been fraught with obstacles, Tel Aviv continued to grow and was eventually merged with Jaffa in 1950 to create the autonomous municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo. Today, Jaffa is home to 46,000 Jews, Christians and Muslims who live peacefully side-by-side.
Tel Aviv expanded by leaps and bounds over the years, specifically during the fifth wave of immigration that occurred after the Nazi party came into power in Germany. Among the European Jewish immigrants that came to the British Mandate of Palestine (as the territory was called prior to Israel’s declaration of statehood in 1948), were many German Jewish architects fleeing Nazi Germany.
So why is Tel Aviv called the White City?! I’m glad you asked. Many of those same German Jewish architects hailed from the Bauhaus Modernist school of architecture in Germany whose style of modern functional design was deemed “un-German” and controversial by the Nazi party, over time becoming associated with communist and social liberal resistance. The school was closed and many of its architects were forced to flee.
As a result of this influx of architects to a growing Tel Aviv metropolis in need of new, functional housing, the Bauhaus movement found new life on the streets of Tel Aviv, resulting in over 4,000 Bauhaus styled buildings from the 1930’s known as the White City, the largest collection of Bauhaus buildings in the world. The originally European architecture had to of course be adapted to the Mediterranean and desert climate of Tel Aviv, therefore, the buildings were designed to be white or other light shades in order to reflect the heat and give sun protection – this ultimately earned Tel Aviv the nickname, the White City.
In 2003, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed Tel Aviv’s White City a World Cultural Heritage site, calling it “an outstanding example of new town planning and architecture in the early 20th century,” and recognizing its unique adaptation of modern international architectural trends to the cultural, climatic, and local traditions of the city.
So whether you’re interested in the fascinating history of Israel’s early settlement; culture, art, design and architecture; or a relaxing day at beach; you’re sure to find it all in the White City on the Coast, and we can’t wait to show it to you!
Haven’t registered yet for this special and timely trip to Israel? There are a few spots still open and a few weeks left to register before we must close the registration, BUT you have to act fast! Log on to our registration portal online and secure your spot today. Any questions? Simply call or email us.
Have a blessed weekend, and we’ll see you in Israel soon.
Your Genesis Team