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Higher Education in Israel: Tel Aviv University

Tel Aviv University is a public university located in the Ramat Aviv neighborhood of Tel Aviv

In the 1930s, Tel Aviv Mayor Meir Dizengoff promoted the idea of creating institutions of higher learning in the city. During the British Mandate period, The Biological-Pedagogical Institute and the School of Law and Economics were established. Following Israeli independence, Mayor Chaim Levanon lobbied for a university to be located in the city. 

On August 16, 1953, the Municipal Council of Tel Aviv-Jaffa decided to transform the Biological-Pedagogical Institute into the Academic Institute of Natural Sciences to “form the core of a future university.” It was located at the Abu Kabir campus in southern Tel Aviv and had 24 students in its first year. In 1954 an additional institute was founded in Tel Aviv: the Academic Institute of Jewish Studies. 

Today, Tel Aviv University is not only the largest university in Israel but also the biggest Jewish university in the world, with an enrollment of more than 30,000 students.

Its campus is located on approximately 220 acres in the Ramat Aviv section of Tel Aviv and boasts approximately 2,200 faculty members, 98 departments, and 29 schools. Tel Aviv University offers numerous undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs, including in medicine, law, business administration, education, the arts, and the humanities.

In 2023, the Center for World University Rankings ranked Tel Aviv University 154th in the world and third in Israel in its world rankings.

In April 2015, Steve Tisch, director of movies such as “Forest Gump” and “The Equalizer,” donated $10 million to the film program at his alma mater. After visiting Tel Aviv University the previous year to judge the annual student film festival, Tisch fell in love all over again with the students’ passion for film, stating that “these are filmmakers who really have a vision, and to me that’s exciting.” This generous gift will allow the school to purchase all new equipment to attract more international students and top faculty.

TAU Ventures, a venture-capital fund meant for pre-seeding student and alumni startups coming out of Tel Aviv University, was launched in April 2018.  Tel Aviv University was the first Israeli university to offer a venture capital fund, and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev followed shortly after.  An estimated 25% of Israeli entrepreneurs are graduates of Tel Aviv University, and the university ranks ninth in the world for producing the most venture-capital-backed entrepreneurs.  

Sources: Mitchell G Bard and Moshe Schwartz, 1001 Facts Everyone Should Know About Israel, (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005).
Tel Aviv University, Wikipedia.
Debra Kamin, “Steve Tisch’s $10 million donation to Tel Aviv U. elevates school,” Variety, (April 30, 2015).
Brian Blum, Tel Aviv University launches VC fund for students, alumni, Israel21C, (April 22, 2018).
Tel Aviv University.
“World University Rankings 2023,” Center for World University Rankings.

Photo: The Porter School of Environmental Studies Building - דוג'רית, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.