Tue | Mar 28, 2017

Tel Aviv-Yafo – heartbeat of the city that never sleeps

Published:Sunday | January 8, 2017 | 1:00 AMPaul H. Williams
Tel Aviv - a bustling metropolis, is also called the 'City that never sleeps'
High-rises dot Tel Aviv's landscape.
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Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel:

Jerusalem, a hilly composite of the ancient and the ultra-modern, may be the spiritual, religious, historical, and administrative capital of Israel, and Tel Aviv-Yafo, a pulsating Mediterranean seaside municipality, is the heartbeat of the country that is surrounded by Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt.

It grew out of the ancient port city of Yafo, also known as Jaffa, which still functions as a port. Known as the city that rose from the sand dunes, the megalopolis was founded by 66 families in 1909 as the first Hebrew city. Now, it is as cosmopolitan as cosmopolitan gets, with 405,000 people living in Tel Aviv-Yafo, and 3,200,000 in the suburbs.

When it was being constructed one of the founders declared that they were creating the New York of Israel. It is not as densely populated and sprawling as New York is, but its amenities, services, and high-rise buildings can rival those of the Big Apple.

Dubbed the 'Non-stop City' by Tel Aviv Global and Tourism, it is not a war-ravaged 'holy place'; it is mainly secular, celebrating and embracing diversity and tolerance. Its residents include migrants from many countries, migrant workers and refugees.

"Diverse, open multicultural, Tel Aviv prides itself on truly being a city for everyone ... Tel Aviv' tolerant, pluralistic and multicultural values enable all residents to express their religious and spiritual beliefs," Tel Aviv Global and Tourism says in its 'passport' to the city.

It is also Israel's most popular commercial and business centre, home of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, the country's leading insurance companies and investment banks. Rothschild Boulevard is a hub of financial activities.

Regarded a 'start-up city' it is the home of the highest concentration of per capita business start-ups in the world. Free WiFi is available throughout the expanse of the city. And to get around the city with less stress there is a bicycle-rental programme.

Among the bustle, one out of every three Tel Avivian is between the ages of 18 and 35 making it the "city of the young". Over 100,000 of students are enrolled in more than 20 colleges and universities. Tel Aviv is an international centre of educational innovations, with "unique programmes for special education students and children of migrant workers".

The City of the Young has an eclectic cultural, artistic and social landscape, with 1748 bars, cafes and nightclubs, one per every 231 residents, thus a vibrant nightlife. It has 14 kilometres of white-sand beaches, and was once voted by National Geographic magazine of the world's top-10 beach cities.

This city of coffee-lovers was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. There is art everywhere, from its concentration of buildings designed in the Bauhaus style, street art, to high-end galleries, design and art museums, including the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Arts and Education was in Tel Aviv-Yafo recently and found it to be a fascinating place with much to see and do. The port of Jaffa, with its well-preserved historic buildings and narrow cobblestone streets, is a must-see. The food in the Arab section is a must-eat.

From the hill, the view of the port and Tel Aviv-Yafo's skyline at night is dazzling, and that is a word which can also be used to describe the total Tel Aviv-Yafo experience.