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Independence Hall

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Highlights of the Independence Hall

 

This is where the State of Israel was declared in 1948 and the setting of this major event can still be experienced by the visitor. The Museum is preserved as it was back in 1948 and is situated in the heart of Tel Aviv's redeveloped Bauhaus district, located in the Rothschild Blvd. 16 in Tel Aviv, formerly the house of Zinna and Meir Dizengoff, Tel Aviv's founding father and first mayor, who bequeathed his home to the city as an Art Exhibition.


Today, Dizengoff House serves as a Biblical Museum with rare editions, printings and illustration, where another section of the building serves as Museum of Zionism.

The art exhibited at the time of the declaration can still be seen on the walls in Independence Hall together with other artefacts of this main event in Israel's history.

 

 

Background on Independence Hall

 

With a visit to Israel's Independence hall, the visitor begins to learn about the context in which Israel declared its sovereignty in 1948, 51 year's have publishing Herzl's Judenstat (Jewish State). It was not a foregone conclusion, in fact - only two days prior to the declaration, Israel's strategic position was very much in danger.


The situation for the National Council was very complex: the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Road was blockaded by Arab bands, and two members of the National Council were unable to arrive in Tel Aviv for the historical decision. Golda Meirson (Meir) reported the results of a secret night time meeting on 11th of May 1948 with Abdullah; King of Jordan, the King had decided to withdraw from former agreements for political arrangements to recognize the Jewish state, joining the Arabic league preparations to invade Palestine directly after termination of the British Mandate. Somber strategic estimates were provided by Israel Galili, the head of the Haganah; Yigal Sukenik (Yadin), head of the Haganah's Operations Department, depicted the dangerous situation, such as weapon shortage and the very critical circumstances in Gush Ezion, which finally fell into the hands of Arab bands between 12-14 of May 1948. Moshe Shertok (Sharett), the future Minister for Foreign Affairs, gave a detailed report about American State Department policy, on the one hand, pressuring the Zionist Organization to postpone a declaration of independence, in order to prevent an Arab invasion, and on the pro Arab position of Great Britain. On the other hand, he reported the warm sympathy he found from Andre Gromyko,the Russian representative at the United Nation, who took a contrary position and opposed American policy, after the Russian frustration in negotiations for oil concessions in Moslem states, to such an extent, that USA officials were afraid that the Jewish state would be become a bridgehead for Russian influence in the Middle East.


After serious appraisal of the dangers in days of lengthy meetings before the Declaration, on the 12th of May the Jewish National Council finally decided to take advantage from the maybe unique opportunity provided by the termination of the English Mandate to establish the State of Israel. From now on, the State of Israel could set its own foreign policy and import weapons to defend its independence as a sovereign state.


No borders of the state were mentioned in the declaration. When queried on this point, Ben Gurion asked, "When the United States declared independence, did it define its borders?".


In the US, President Truman did not agree with the policy proposed by the State Department officials and his Secretary of State Marshall, who did not support independence. He sent his adviser, Clark Clifford secretly to Eliyahu Eilat, the Jewish Agency representative in the USA, to prepare a request for recognition of the Jewish State when declared, and Clifford even gave him the text requested by President Truman. A interesting fact is, that when Eliyahu Eilat presented the request for approval, he did not yet know name of the future Jewish State.


On the 15th of May USA recognized Israel, Guatemala followed, and on the 17th of May Russia gave its official recognition


Here in this hall, the members of the National Council, representatives of the Jewish settlements and the Zionist movement, gathered on the 14th of May 1948 in the afternoon, to sign the Scroll of Independence. Behind the table, David Ben Gurion, the Chairman of the Zionist Movement, proclaimed the establishment of the Jewish State, Israel.



Independence Hall, where the State of Israel was declared, is preserved as it was on that day.

 

 

 

Travelujah Tips

 

 

Because Independence Hall is situated within the complex of the Eretz Israel Museum, it is worthwhile taking the time to see both exhibitions at once. Both exhibitions display magnificent collections of art which can be enjoyed by both young and old, and a number of other interesting exhibitions.

 

 

Nearby Places of Interest

 

Tel Aviv 

Jaffa

Nachalat Binyamin

Carmel Market

IDF Museum

Tachane 

 

 Hours of Operation

 

Sun.-Fri. 09.00-14.00

Cost: Adults 20 Nis, Children 16 Ni

 

  

Useful Links

Eretz Museum

Independance Hall


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