Apr 21

Israel – Central Israel – Cities and Sites

Cities and Sites in Central Israel

The central part of Israel includes cities like Tel Aviv, Ramat-Gan and Herzliya. Central Israel is the most heavily populated  area in Israel  and includes many popular tourist and holiday resort towns as well as ancient cities and archeological sites. Most young people choose to live as close to Tel Aviv as possible where the best night-life is.

Choose a city in Central Israel below to read about it.

Tel Aviv Coastline view

Rishon Lezion

Tel Aviv

Mar 01

Tour Israel – Israeli Cities – Jaffa

Jaffa is one of the oldest port cities in the world, it has been inhabited since approximately 7.500 years BCE and the harbor has been in use since the Bronze Age.

Photo: www.goisrael.Com

Jaffa has been ruled by the Egyptians, and the Canaanites as well as other ancient civilizations and eventually by the Israelites after the Exodus from Egypt. It was later destroyed after its capture by the Romans who slaughtered thousands during Maccabean times.

Old Jaffa is mentioned a number of times in the Bible’s Old Testament, in the books of Chronicles, Joshua, Ezra and Jonah. Both King David and King Solomon used the port for the import of timber to build temples.

In the new Testament there is a mention that Peter performed the miracle of the resurrection of the widow Tabatha in Jaffa as well as receiving a vision where he is instructed by God that there should be no discrimination between Jews and Gentiles.

Marina in Jaffa

Photo: www.goisrael.com

The city became a tumultuous area after the Death of Jesus with nearly all the great powers seeking to control it amongst them the Crusaders and the Ottoman Empire until British control. At that time the Arabs led riots and Pogroms against the Jewish residents causing them to establish the city of Tel Aviv.

Today Jaffa is part of the municipality of Tel Aviv and although no longer used as a port, the old city has been beautifully restored and has a varied population consisting of Jews and both Muslim and Christian Arabs.

Old Jaffa

Photo: www.goisrael.com

There is so much to see in Jaffa, starting at the Port which has a marina and fishing boats can be seen coming and going all day, regularly bringing in catches of fresh fish which can be eaten at the many fish restaurants located at the harbor or bought directly from the boats along the wharf.  Stroll through the winding cobblestone alleyways and discover art galleries, cafés and restaurants. Walk up the path to the top of Jaffa hill where restored archeological excavations can be found. Also at the top of the hill is St Peter’s Church. While touring Jaffa, don’t forget to visit the Clock Square and the Flea market.

There are many attractions that draw tourists to Jaffa with its lovely restored buildings and narrow lanes which house art, curio and souvenir shops, restaurants, cafes and the beautiful views of the sea and beaches of Tel Aviv. At night Old Jaffa becomes a very romantic place to stroll around with its lovely special effects lighting.

Dec 01

Israeli Cities – Central Israel – Rishon Lezion

Rishon Lezion is the fourth largest city in Israel and being conveniently situated within easy reach of both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is a lovely way to spend a day sightseeing. Located on the central coastal strip just south of Tel Aviv it is regarded as part of the metropolitan area of the Gush Dan region.

Beachfront Rishon Lezion

Photo: www.goisrael.com

The name Rishon Lezion means first of Zion and is very often referred to in the short form “Rishon” by the locals, which is appropriate as it is a city of many firsts. Rishon Lezion was one of the first settlements in Israel founded in 1882 along with Petah Tikva and is considered to be the first actual Zionist settlement The Flag of the State of Israel has its origins in Rishon Lezion  and the National Anthem Hatikva was written and first sung by schoolchildren there. The song became popular worldwide as a symbol of Jewish identity and yearning for many years until it was formally adopted as the National Anthem.

Old water tower in Rishon LezionRishon Lezion was the location of the first Hebrew School in the country Beit Sefer Haviv which opened in 1889. The father of Modern Hebrew, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda was a teacher there amongst other respected educationists.

Originally the area was very barren and without any signs of water availability, nevertheless a group of Eastern European families who had escaped the terrible pogroms that were being wrought against the Jewish Communities there, and were a part of the first Aliya (initial group of new immigrants to Palestine)   purchased 850 acres of land with the belief that their dreams of settling the land of Israel would be satisfied.They knew that without water they would not be able to realize their dreams of establish a livelihood from agriculture so one of the founders of the group travelled to France to meet with Baron de Rothschild and ask for financial assistance to build a well. This original well and water tower can be visited today at its location in the centre of the City of Rishon Lezion.

Rishon Lezion MonumentThere are many other places of historical interest in Rishon Lezion, including the old village bell, the Old Synagogue, the Museum from where you can follow the route of the outdoor museum and into the Park with its regal “Avenue of Palms” which has been the site of receptions for a number of dignitaries including Theodor Herzl, Winston Churchill and Lord Balfour.

The old Carmel Mizrahi Winery building is well worth a visit to view its museum and cellars and take a tour to learn about the history of wine in the area. Not to be forgotten is Rishon Lezion’s beautiful beach area with its golden sands, warm waters and excellent surf.

Nov 20

Places in Israel – Israeli Cities – Tel Aviv

The modern city of Tel-Aviv in Israel was established in 1909 on sand dunes right next to the old city of Jaffa. The name Tel Aviv is derived from the word Tel (a mound of ancient ruins) and Aviv (spring) connoting emergence and rejuvenation. In 1911 Meir Dizengoff was appointed Mayor and remained in that position until his death in 1936.

Independence Hall Tel AvivAfter his death his home was donated to the city of Tel Aviv to be used as a museum and on May 14th 1948 it was in this building that David Ben Gurion declared the establishment of the State of Israel. Today, named Independence Hall, it houses exhibits on the signing of the Declaration of Independence and on the history of Tel Aviv-Jaffa.

During the First World War, most Jews were expelled from Tel Aviv and Jaffa by the Turks and could only return to their homes after the war under the British Mandate. After the Jordanian occupation of Jerusalem in 1948, government offices were set up temporarily in Tel Aviv until 1967 when Jerusalem was re-unified.

Tel Aviv Museum of the Diaspora

Photo: www.goisrael.com

The growth of Tel Aviv soon outpaced the neighboring ancient Port City of Jaffa and in 1950 Tel Aviv and Jaffa merged, forming the municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo. In 2003 Tel Aviv, also called the White City, (comprising the world’s largest amount of Bauhaus style buildings- more than 5000) was designated a Unesco World Heritage site.

Hotel and Beach in Tel Aviv

Photo: www.goisrael.com

Today Tel Aviv is a bustling metropolis and often referred to as “The City that Never Sleeps” and it is without doubt  where the action is. Visitors will find clean white beaches and warm sea, interesting shops and a plethora of Cafés and Restaurants to suit all tastes.

There are many places of interest in and around Tel Aviv –Yafo that will satisfy visitors no matter what their interests. A wide variety of hotels, self catering and B&B’s are available to suit all budgets.

Places to visit include: Museum of the Diaspora, Old Jaffa and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.