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Pretending Tel Aviv Is the Capital of Israel

tel aviv the capital

Originally published at Daniel Pipes.

Some, especially in the mainstream media, pretend that not Jerusalem but Tel Aviv serves as the capital of Israel. (Tel Aviv hosts the Ministry of Defense but not much else of the central government.) The weblog entry documents some of those delusions, which are appearing more often, in reverse chronological order:

Agence France Press: An article on Jan. 23, “Israel PM urges European ‘fairness’ in Mideast,” states that four European Union states lodged “a formal protest against Tel Aviv’s drive to expand settlements on the West Bank.” (January 26, 2014)

The New York Times: A front-page headline today over a story by Mark Landler and Jodi Rudoren uses “Tel Aviv” as a synonym for Israel’s capital: “Mideast Chaos Grows as U.S. Focuses on Israel—Kerry’s Tel Aviv Push Raises Questions About Priorities.” (July 2, 2013)

CTV, a Canadian television station: Reported on Jan. 8 that “Tel Aviv is dealing with a heavy rain situation. The storms flooded roads and brought chaos to the Israeli capital.” (January 17, 2013)

British Broadcasting Corporation: A BBC tweet today announced that “#Gaza militants launch missiles at Tel Aviv in 1st rocket attack on Israeli capital since 1991 Gulf War bbc.in/QJkWK9″ (November 15, 2012) White House: The White House press secretary, Jay Carney, did not say that Tel Aviv was the capital. But he also did not say it was not in this semi-comical exchange with reporters:

1st Reporter: What city does this Administration consider to be the capital of Israel? Jerusalem or Tel Aviv?

Carney: Um … I haven’t had that question in a while. Our position has not changed. Can we, uh …

1st Reporter: What is the capital?

Carney: You know our position.

1st Reporter: I don’t.

2nd Reporter: No, no. She doesn’t know, that’s why she asked.

Carney: She does know.

1st Reporter: I don’t.

2nd Reporter: She does not know. She just said that she does not know. I don’t know.

Carney: We have long, lets not call on …

2nd Reporter: Tel Aviv or Jerusalem?

Carney: You know the answer to that.

2nd Reporter: I don’t know the answer. We don’t know the answer. Could you just give us an answer? What do you recognize? What does the administration recognize?

Carney: Our position has not changed.

2nd Reporter: What position?

Carney ignored him and moved on to another question. (July 26, 2012)

The Guardian newspaper: Its style sheet actually states that “Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel; Tel Aviv is.” (April 25, 2012)

Comments: (1) This absurdity parallels a tendency lately to pretend there’s a country called Palestine.(2) For an amusing skit on this topic, see Honest Reporting’s YouTube mock-umentary, Searching for Israel’s Capital.”


About the Author: Daniel Pipes is a world-renowned Middle East and Islam expert. He is President of the Middle East Forum. His articles appear in many newspapers. He received his A.B. (1971) and Ph.D. (1978) from Harvard University and has taught at Harvard, Pepperdine, the U.S. Naval War College, and the University of Chicago. He is a board member of the U.S. Institute of Peace and other institutions. His website is DanielPipes.org.


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16 Responses to “Pretending Tel Aviv Is the Capital of Israel”

  1. mainstream are moron that’s why

  2. The media may not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel – but anyone who studies or believes the Bible – knows better. We don't confuse fact with fiction. Israel has always been, and will always be – and Jerusalem will be her capital. From an American Christian – Shalom

  3. Art Kirsh says:

    Amen to that, Christy

  4. JERUSALEM IS ISRAEL’S CAPITOL

  5. Je vous rappelle que Jérusalem est la capitale indivisible d israel que cela vous plaise ou non !!!!!!!!

  6. I think Pres Obama told a AIPAC convention a year ago that Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel…..Has he changed his mind ???

  7. Shamir Sha: Boycott Syria, Egypt, and your other racist murderous Arab Countries for Peace.

  8. what a great “paper”

  9. Larry H. Gentry says:

    An infestation of idiots

  10. Larry H. Gentry says:

    Not you people…the Obama administration.

  11. Education education educatiooooooon, Jerusalem is Israel's capital.

  12. 2 chronicles 6:6 "But I have chosen Jerusalem, that My Name might be there."

  13. Gary Harper says:

    In the US, all the media generally reference "Tel Aviv". This is what goy I have been taught in school. So, Obama's press secretary is being disingenuous. As usual…

  14. abbushuki says:

    Everyone knows the capital of the North Bank (of the Rio Grande)…. is Hollywood!

  15. Tel Aviv is a modern city…from XXCentury, impossible to be Israel Capital

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