There is a saying here in Israel: “If you want to pray, go to Jerusalem; but if you want to play, go to Tel Aviv.”
We are so thankful the Lord called us to launch Dugit Outreach Ministries in Tel Aviv more than 30 years ago for the purpose of bringing the Good News to the people of Israel and seeing the nation of Israel come into her destiny by embracing Yeshua as Messiah.
Israel’s most modern secular city, the Tel Aviv–Yafo area has the largest concentration of Jewish people in the world. It is the nation’s center for finance, commerce, trade, high tech, and the military, and is widely known for its avid nightlife, beaches, sports, and café culture. The Ben Gurion International Airport is located in Tel Aviv and each year welcomes millions of visitors into Israel.
To understand why the Lord has placed Dugit Outreach Ministries as a light in this city, we must look at its past, present, and future.
Tel Aviv–Yafo is both modern and ancient. Yafo (Jaffa, Joppa) is the southern part of the city and is almost 4,000 years old. For centuries it was the main port city on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Yafo was founded by one of Noah’s three sons, Yefet (Japheth). Later, the cedars of Lebanon came through Yafo on their way to Jerusalem for the construction of the second temple. This port city is in a strategic location—it is “the gateway” to Jerusalem and the East. It was conquered throughout history by various empires and served as a military beachhead.
The prophet Jonah was called by God to bring the message of mercy to the Assyrian people in Nineveh. Jonah ran away through Jaffa, God sent a big fish, and in the end, he went north to Nineveh. In the book of Acts, Simon Peter prayed for Tabitha to be raised from the dead there. Shortly after he saw a vision to take the Good News to the Gentiles. Almost immediately, he went to Caesarea to preach the Good News to Cornelius and his men.
The modern city of Tel Aviv was founded on the sand dunes of north Yafo in 1909. By the 1930s it had become another Mediterranean metropolis. It was called the “white city” for its sandstone facades and beaches. And it was in Tel Aviv that Israel declared its independence in 1948.
Today, the city itself has a population of 436,000 and the greater area population is 4.1 million. (The population of Jerusalem is 970,000.) Tel Aviv is also a vibrant, youthful city—fully 30 percent of the population is under 30 years old.
Even though Tel Aviv has a rich biblical past, it remains in spiritual darkness. Although well over 90 percent of the residents are Jewish, the majority of the people here have little faith in God and many have turned to the occult for guidance.
In the book of Joshua, the Tel Aviv area was given to the tribe of Dan. Sadly they gave up their territory to the Philistines, moved north and turned to idolatry. The city continues to struggle with materialism and sexual immorality to this day. Tel Aviv is considered to be one of the most expensive cities in the world (having recently overtaken Paris, Tokyo, and New York), and has flaunted it’s top ranking as the top LGBT tourist destination. Tel Aviv needs the Messiah more than ever before!
In Hebrew, “Dugit” means small fishing boat. We believe God has called Dugit Outreach Ministries to be fishers of men in our city, nation, and the world—and we are in Tel Aviv today because this city is still a gateway to the heart of Israel and the nations.