Tel-Aviv, the First Century
Visions, Designs, Actualities
Publication Year: 2012
Tel-Aviv, the First Century brings together a broad range of disciplinary approaches and cutting-edge research to trace the development and paradoxes of Tel-Aviv as an urban center and a national symbol. Through the lenses of history, literature, urban planning, gender studies, architecture, art, and other fields, these essays reveal the place of Tel-Aviv in the life and imagination of its diverse inhabitants. The careful and insightful tracing of the development of the city's urban landscape, the relationship of its varied architecture to its competing social cultures, and its evolving place in Israel's literary imagination come together to offer a vivid and complex picture of Tel-Aviv as a microcosm of Israeli life and a vibrant modern global city.
Published by: Indiana University Press
Series: An Israel Studies Book
This volume has multiple origins. It began with an invitation by the editors of Israel Studies, Ilan Troen and Natan Aridan, to Maoz Azaryahu to prepare a special issue of the journal on the occasion of the centenary of the city. Both Azaryahu and Troen have long been interested in urban history and in Tel-Aviv in particular. ...
Introduction: Tel-Aviv Imagined and Realized
The interest in Tel-Aviv is no longer a parochial pursuit engaging residents of a city on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. It has become a central topic for those who wish to understand Israel itself. Since the 1930s, metropolitan Tel-Aviv has constituted at least one-third of the Yishuv, i.e., the Jewish settlement ...
Part 1 Historical Issues
1 Telling the Story of a Hebrew City
Tel-Aviv did not want to be a city. In fact, it was afraid to be a city. The fear arose from the anti-urban trend and the negative image of the city—“the dark city”—in the nineteenth century, as well as the Zionist concern that the city would attract most of the new immigrants and would compete with the agricultural ...
2 Tel-Aviv’s Birthdays: Anniversary Celebrations,
On 2 May 1929, for the first time in its history, Tel-Aviv celebrated the anniversary of its founding in 1909. In 1934 it commemorated its silver jubilee, and in 1959 its golden jubilee. As civic celebrations, anniversaries commemorate significant events in the history of a nation, a political regime, a religion, ...
3 Tel-Aviv’s Foundation Myth: A Constructive Perspective
Many historical cities have invented their “sense of place” through myths of origin, which mark symbolic borders between chaos and cosmos, or nature and culture.1 In modern cities with rapidly changing physical cityscapes, myths are used to create a sense of continuity in the form of local traditional practices ...
4 From “European Oasis” to Downtown New York: The Image of Tel-Aviv in School Textbooks
In his book Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Frank L. Baum describes the adventures of Dorothy and her friends on their way to a place regarded as the center of the world—the Emerald City—where the most powerful ruler of the Land of Oz dwells.1 The sight of the city, which appears before them after an exhaustive ...
5 Subversive Youth Cultures in Mandate Tel-Aviv
In this case the welfare department (titled “The Department for the Treatment of the Child” until 1939) was attempting to found a home for vagrant and neglected boys in Tel-Aviv. As in many other cases, their request for financial support was denied by the government, which nonetheless expressed its deep appreciation ...
6 Dirt, Noise, and Misbehavior in the First Hebrew City: Letters of Complaint as a Historical Source
Files in the Tel-Aviv Historical Archive contain hundreds of letters of complaint dating from the Mandate era. Some, regarding a variety of issues, were filed by the Tel-Aviv Municipality (hereafter TAM) secretary under “Complaints.” Many others were filed under the specific topic of the complaint. Such letters, sent to ...
7 South of Tel-Aviv and North of Jaffa—The Frontier Zone of “In Between”
Tel-Aviv has been portrayed as the new Hebrew city, which “rose from the sands” at the empty stretch of land north of Jaffa. Tel-Aviv was perceived and presented as a new social entity, distinct from all that preceded it: from dirty and “unhygienic” Oriental Jaffa with its narrow alleys, chaotic urban order, from ...
8 Jaffa and Tel-Aviv before 1948: The Underground Story
The study of the urban history of pre-1948 Palestine has gained welcome momentum in recent years. Traditionally, mainstream Zionist and Palestinian historiographies concentrated mainly on the rural sector, which for both national communities symbolized a mythical attachment to the land. Along with the heroic figures ...
9 Austerity Tel-Aviv: Everyday Life, Supervision, Compliance, and Respectability
On 27 March 1950, the police stormed into Tiferet (glory), a popular Tel-Aviv café on fashionable Rothschild Boulevard, and inspected the patrons. Male and female officers surrounded the café at 10:30 am on a Monday, ordering patrons to enable the search. They were supervised by the police department’s economic ...
Part 2 Language, Literature, and Art
10 Tel-Aviv Language Police
This anecdote, adduced by Alter Druyanov,1 reflects the great pride of the Jewish Yishuv in Tel-Aviv’s children, whose Hebrew was natural and native. Speaking Hebrew became one of the symbols of the city of Tel-Aviv and was a point of pride for its leaders. The creation of Tel- Aviv as a Hebrew city symbolized ...
11 Der Eko Fun Goles; “The Spirit of Tel-Aviv” and the Remapping of Jewish Literary History
There are a number of ironic reversals contained in this exchange: firstly, Tel-Aviv, the very spearhead of Zionist urban redemption, is a center not for “new Hebrews” or even “new Jews,” but for plain old goles-yidn. Moreover, the speaker yearns to be with them, precisely because they remind him of home, of goles. ...
12 A Poet and a City in Search of a Myth: On Shlomo Skulsky’s Tel-Aviv Poems
Poems about cities are among the oldest known to us. We have lines about the city of Erekh in the Babylonian Gilgamesh epic; and, what is the Iliad if not (among other things) the story of the fall of a city? One need not mention the poetic passages about Jerusalem in the book of Psalms. Different city-myths are delicately ...
13 Decay and Death: Urban Topoi in Literary Depictions of Tel-Aviv
The founding and growth of Tel-Aviv reverberated with the ideology of Jewish national revival and the quest to build a modern Jewish city different than both the Jewish shtetl in East Europe and the cities of the Levant. The Tel-Aviv creation narrative focused positively on the constructive energies of urban pioneers ...
14 Art and the City: The Case of Tel-Aviv
It has been suggested that the date now commonly accepted for the founding of Tel-Aviv was selected primarily thanks to the photograph by Avraham Soskin (1881–1963) that documented the moment.1 This “moment of birth,” usually identified as the land lottery held by the members of Ahuzat Bayit Society on 11 April 1909 ...
Part 3 Planning and Architecture
15 The 1925 Master Plan for Tel-Aviv by Patrick Geddes
Reflections on the city of Tel-Aviv are often framed by discussions of modernity, especially the Jewish experience of modernity.1 The origin of the city was the Jewish suburb of Ahuzat Bayit that was founded outside Jaffa in 1909, and changed its name to Tel-Aviv a year later. The city’s many buildings of the 1930s and ...
16 Preserving Urban Heritage: From Old Jaffa to Modern Tel-Aviv
The city of Tel-Aviv–Jaffa is Israel’s metropolitan core and a dominant cultural center. Tel-Aviv–Jaffa is extraordinary in that it is among the few Israeli cities that incorporate preservation of the built environment as a principle in city planning and, in doing so, promote and institute successful preservation initiatives ...
17 Balconies of Tel-Aviv: Cultural History and Urban Politics
Tel-Aviv for many years had been dubbed “a city of balconies.” In its urban fantasy balconies are smiles, an expression of the beauty and openness of the city, but in day-to-day reality they are almost considered an eyesore. The balconies of Tel-Aviv have an important role in the social life of the city and they ...
18 The Architecture of the Hyphen: The Urban Unification of Jaffa and Tel-Aviv as National Metaphor
In June 1967, Major General Motta Gur ecstatically declared, “The Temple Mount is in our hands”; a surge of messianic emotions swept Israeli Jews. Following the sudden victory over Jordan, the equally sudden possession of Jerusalem’s holy sites symbolized for Israeli Jews a larger historical moment: the reunification of ...
Afterword: Tel-Aviv between Province and Metropolis
The relationships between the city and the Israeli province on the one hand and specific world-renowned metropolitan centers such as Paris and New York on the other have figured prominently in the public discourse and cultural constitution of Tel-Aviv as an aspiring metropolis. The underlying issue was the dissonance ...