Israel’s Independence Hall sits between Tel-Aviv and Jaffa. The hall is of great importance to Israelis, it housed the monumental declaration of an independent Jewish state. This landmark is preserved and open to visitors today; it is important and worth seeing as it is a physical representation of God fulfilling His promise that he would bring the Jewish people home.
The Birth of Israel
On Friday, May 14, 1948, eight hours before the end of the British Mandate, Jewish leaders gathered in the Tel-Aviv Art Museum’s hall. Only those who received a personal invitation could attend; they were asked to keep the gathering a secret (this proved to be in vain). At 4:00 P.M., David Ben-Gurion arrived and read the declaration of Israel’s independence, proclaiming the first Jewish state in the land of Israel. Then, Rabbi Fishman-Maimon recited a blessing and the members of the People’s Council and Executive signed the declaration scroll. The gathering concluded with the singing of “Hatikva,” meaning “The Hope”—which became Israel’s national anthem. The following day, Israel’s 9-month war for independence began.
History of the Hall
Back on April 11, 1909, sixty-six Jewish families gathered for a lottery that distributed plots of land in a new Jewish neighborhood north of Jaffa. Meir and Zina Dizengoff received plot #34, where they then built their home. Meir Dizengoff was head of the new neighborhood committee, and he later became the first mayor of Tel Aviv. In 1930, after the death of his wife, Meir Dizengoff donated his home to the city of Tel-Aviv and requested it be used as a museum. After six years of renovations and expansions, Meir Dizengoff’s home became the Tel-Aviv Museum of Art, in whose hall Israel’s independence was declared. Today, a statue of Meir Dizengoff on a horse stands outside of the Independence Hall.
Visiting the Independence Hall
The renovated Independence Hall has been open to the public since 1978. The exhibits do a fantastic job of recreating the events that took place within their walls. Upon entering, visitors are encouraged to watch a short film on the history of Israel’s declaration of independence. In the main hall, visitors can see the original art that hung on the walls at the time of declaration while listening to the original recording of the ceremony play in the background. This is a one-of-a-kind experience that allows visitors to relive this remarkable event.
Originally posted at Sar-el Tours.