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Tel Aviv 1934 *

The first Tel Aviv lots being auctioned in 1909 - Public Domain

Tel Aviv 1934-35

This film of Tel Aviv is a chapter of the original film “Land of Promise”. This chapter of the movie shows life in the first Hebrew city when it was 25 year old. The original film was created by Keren haYesod – United Israel Appeal and its chairman, Leo Herman, and all rights of the original movie belong to the Spielberg Archives. This new version of the chapter on Tel Aviv has Hebrew sub-titles.

The city of Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 by the Yishuv (Jewish residents) as a modern housing estate on the outskirts of the ancient port city of Jaffa, then part of the Jerusalem province of Ottoman Syria. It was at first called ‘Ahuzat Bayit’ (lit. “House Estate” or “Homestead”). This was the name of the association which established the neighbourhood. The name was changed the following year to ‘Tel Aviv’. This name means “Tell (‘hill’ or ‘man-made mound’) of Spring”, symbolising both ancient legacy and renewal. Other Jewish suburbs of Jaffa established outside Jaffa’s Old City even before Tel Aviv, eventually became part of Tel Aviv, the oldest among them being Neve Tzedek (est. 1886).

Tel Aviv is the Hebrew title of Theodor Herzl’s Altneuland (“Old New Land”), translated from German by Nahum Sokolow. Sokolow had adopted the name of a Mesopotamian site near the city of Babylon mentioned in Ezekiel:

Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel Aviv, that lived by the river Chebar, and to where they lived; and I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days.

 The name was chosen in 1910 from several suggestions, including “Herzliya”.

The Levant Fair

The “Exhibition and Fair for the Promotion of Goods Made in Israel” of 1932 was the first fair to be called the “Levant Fair”. A special symbol called the “Flying Camel” was designed for the fair by its chief architect, Aryeh Elhanani. Trees were planted during the fair in honor of the former exhibition, and three such palm trees survive to this day.

Levant Fair
Levant Fair – Public Domain

Henceforth, these exhibitions were referred to as fairs and also became quite successful, attracting tens of thousands and then hundreds of thousands of Jews, Arabs, English, and tourists. The 1932 fair was visited by nearly 300,000 people. Voice Jerusalem, an Israeli radio station, began regular broadcasts about the fair, in Hebrew, starting in 1936.

Visitors to the fair, including British High Commissioners for Palestine Herbert Samuel (1920-1925), Herbert Plumer (1925-1928), John Chancellor (1928-1931), and Arthur Wauchope (1932-1937), as well as Arab mayors of Jaffa and Jerusalem.


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