A Visit to “Little Tel Aviv”

 

On the Independence Day of 2013 we visited the Independence Hall, which is located on Rothschild Avenue in Tel Aviv, with our children.  We arrived late in the morning so there was a little queue at the entrance and we had to wait. After 15-20 minutes, we entered the building that served as a home to Zina and Meir Dizengoff, the first mayor of Tel Aviv city, and after their death it has become the Tel Aviv museum where Ben Gurion has declared of the establishment of the state. The tour of the house is divided into two. In the first part we went into a side room where we watched a movie depicting the events of the period and the history of the house. Then we went to the hall with the restored declaration. Most of the items were preserved in the declaration hall: the chairs that stand on the podium with the names of persons who attended the ceremony, Herzl’s portrait hangs above the stage, flanked by the flags of the country and on the walls there are most of the photos that were displayed at the time as part of the Tel Aviv Museum’s collection on the declaration. An employee on behalf of the place told us about the events that preceded the declaration of independence ceremony, we heard rare excerpts from announcement ceremony including the famous speech of David Ben-Gurion and finally listened to a recording of the hymn, haTikva. We were very excited about the visit. It is likely that the children will forget most of what they heard during the visit there, but we believe that the experience of visiting the place where Israel was declared a state and listen to Ben Gurion’s speech on where Independence Day is powerful.

The Independence Hall in Tel Aviv

The Independence Hall in Tel Aviv

On the avenue itself near the entrance to the house stands a statue of Meir Dizengoff riding his horse “Mehira”. Just meters from the statue in the direction of Cultural Hall stands a monument in which are inscribed the names of the founders of Tel Aviv.

The Tel Aviv founders monument

The Tel Aviv founders monument

In general, it is very pleasant to walk around the avenue and be impressed by the lovely buildings, some with historical significance, that stand on it. In the opposite direction, when you turn towards Herzl Street, there is the first kiosk of Tel Aviv where you can order a soda, much like Bialik used to do at the same place.

The first kiosk in Tel Aviv

The first kiosk in Tel Aviv

We made a break to drink fruit juice at a stand in a side street, which was selling a variety of different fruit shakes. At this time we finished the tour, but those with patience and a bit older kids can go to the HaShalom Tower, located on the nearby Herzl Street.

Rothschild Avenue in Tel Aviv

Rothschild Avenue in Tel Aviv

In front of the Peace Tower, on the corner of Herzl and Ahad Ha’am we walked past the home of Akiva Weiss, founder of Tel Aviv and chairman of the Ahuzat Bait. Weiss’s impressive home was built in 1910 has been renovated in 1927 in the spirit of the international style that characterized the construction of houses in Tel Aviv in the thirties. Thanks to hundreds of homes built in this unique style Tel Aviv has become a World Heritage site and was known as the White City.

Tel Aviv - "the White City"

Tel Aviv – “the White City”

On the entry level in the western part of the Shalom tower, which was the highest tower in the Middle East when opened in 1965, contains a model of the Akhuzat Bayit neighborhood which later has grown into Tel Aviv.

On the walls on both sides of the model there are two impressive mosaics. The first was created by Nahum Guttmann in 1967 and the other by David Sharir in 1994. Guttmann’s mosaic consists of four images, each of a different color, describing a particular aspect of early Tel Aviv.

Guttmann’s mosaic in Shalom tower,Tel Aviv

Guttmann’s mosaic in Shalom tower,Tel Aviv

Sharir’s mosaic is a tribute to Guttmann’s, and it describe images of a bustling city life in Tel Aviv.

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We opened the segment with Israel’s independence, but the recommendation concerning a restaurant strayed distant regions. For those who are hungry we strongly recommend a Wong restaurant, a Vietnamese restaurant, located in front of the Independence Hall. We ate at this restaurant on another visit to Rothschild Avenue. The food was excellent and the flavors reminded us of the trip we had ten years ago in Vietnam.

 

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