Why Still Tel Aviv?
After all these years of reaching out, ministering, and praying, you might be asking the question: Why still Tel Aviv? In this short article, we would like to share the importance of reaching the city of Tel Aviv with the Good News of Yeshua, and how over many years God has been preparing the fields to be harvested at such a time as this.
Tel Aviv is a city adjoined to the smaller port city of Yafo (Jaffa). The two cities are so intertwined that it is almost impossible, at times, to tell whether you are in Yafo or Tel Aviv. Because of the close distance and shared history of the two cities, they were combined in 1950 thus becoming known as Tel Aviv-Yafo. With this knowledge we can look back to see when Yafo (Tel Aviv) was first mentioned in history.
– History of Tel Aviv-Yafo
Dating back to as early as the 18th century, writings and archeological artifacts have been found that show the repeated conquests and reign of an Egyptian empire in Yafo. After a few hundred years the Egyptian reign was ended by the conquest of the Philistines in the coastal areas. The first mention of the city of Yafo in the Bible is found in Joshua 19:46, where the boundaries of Dan are being described to the children of Israel. The next time it is mentioned is in the book of Chronicles, where Solomon orders Cedar trees from Lebanon to be brought to Jerusalem via the Port of Yafo (Jaffa). Probably the most well known story that mentions the city Yafo is in the story of Jonah. Jonah tries to flee to the city of Tarshish from Yafo. In the book of Ezra, Yafo is mentioned again as a port city bringing the Cedars from Lebanon for the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem.
In the year 332 B.C., Alexander the Great conquered Yafo. His reign lasted until 301 B.C., when the Egyptians conquered Yafo once again. In 47 B.C. Julius Caesar restored Yafo to Judea. In the 1st century A.D. Acts 10 tells of the apostle Peter experiencing a vision while on the rooftop of Simon the Tanner by the port of Jaffa.
Yafo was conquered by the Arabs in 636 A.D. and served as the port for the nearby city of Ramle. In the 11th century, the crusaders conquered Yafo and fortified the city. This reign was short lived and was followed by the conquering of the city by the Baibars, which was soon followed by the Ottoman conquest and reign in the city of Yafo until 1917, when the British conquered the city for the last time in History. In 1948, when Israel declared independence in downtown Tel Aviv, Yafo was inside the boarders proposed by the UN for Israel. So Yafo became one of the first cities to become a part of the state of Israel at her independence.
Because of its strategic point from a military perspective, Yafo is a port city that has been in the process of being conquered or fortified since its establishment. Yafo has been a crucial city in trade and commerce to all of Israel. Because of these facts, Yafo is known as the gates of Jerusalem. The old Yafo road actually leads you from the City of Yafo, right through the center of Jerusalem to the entrance of the Gate of Yafo (Jaffa) in the old city Jerusalem. Today, Tel Aviv-Yafo has not changed much in these regards. Tel Aviv-Yafo is still the city of trade and commerce for Israel with both the stock exchange, and diamond exchange being located in the city center. As for defense, everything from homeland security to the Israeli Pentagon for the military is located within the city. Tel Aviv-Jaffa also boasts the largest cultural center in Israel. Our two main airports are located in Tel Aviv-Yafo bringing travelers and trade from afar. One could say that in our modern day world, Tel Aviv-Yafo is the gateway to reach all of Israel!
More than 30 years ago, God gave Avi and Chaya the vision to preach the Gospel to the people of Tel Aviv-Yafo and reach all Israel. This vision continues to grow. The openness of the people of Tel Aviv-Yafo to the Gospel of Yeshuah is exciting. There are always some who will come against us to try to silence the truth of Yeshua, but greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. Young people are flocking to the city for possible job opportunities making it a vibrant city that some would say never sleeps. Outreach possibilities are endless because of the varying types of people who live and work here and the endless activities the city has to offer everyone. God has been cultivating the ground here in Tel Aviv- Yafo for many years, and by His awesomeness, He has maintained the city’s importance as a strategic central hub for Israel. God has made it so that people in the city not only desperately need salvation through Yeshua but also that have begun searching for it. Now is the time for the great harvest, the fields are white with ripeness. Praise the Lord!
Pray that God would raise up a strong and faithful generation of workers for the harvest here in Tel Aviv-Yafo, which we believe will spread out to all of Israel. Pray for God’s wisdom as we search for new and innovative ways to reach the masses.