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Largest city in Israel. In 1998, it and its twin city Jaffa had a population of more than 380,000 (more than a million in the Greater Tel Aviv area). Tel Aviv was founded in 1909, when a group of Jewish residents of Jaffa bought two stretches of sand dunes and built a garden suburb which they called Tel Aviv, after Herzl‘s Jewish utopia Altneuland. By 1914, this all-Jewish town had 1,416 inhabitants. Most of them were expelled by the Turks as “enemy aliens” during World War I. After the British occupation of the country in 1918, Tel Aviv grew swiftly. Twenty years after its founding, Tel Aviv had a population of 40,000, and was becoming the cultural and industrial leader of the country. But its expansion was greatest in the 1930’s when German immigrants arrived. Houses and streets multiplied rapidly. It became consolidated as a dynamic urban center, the heart of the country’s trade and light industry. During the chaos and terror that marked the end of the British Mandate, Tel Aviv was the center of underground activities and the defense movement operated by Haganah. In 1948, the independence of Israel was declared in Tel Aviv’s Museum, as Jerusalem was under siege. During the latter 20th century, Tel Aviv became Israel’s metropolis, a center of an intense cultural life with a considerable tourist industry. It houses Israel’s leading theaters, including Habimah, the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, the new Israeli opera, and the campus of Tel Aviv University (founded in 1956), which houses the Diaspora Museum.

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