• LOCATION 8 | The Trail of Independence: Tracing the origins of modern Tel Aviv

    Hagana Museum

    Hagana Museum on Tel Aviv audio tour The Trail of Independence: Tracing the origins of modern Tel Aviv

    Stop here in front of 23 Rothschild Boulevard. This is the Hagana Museum on your left.

    We already saw that this is the birthplace of the first Jewish city in the world, as well as the first, and only Jewish state. Now we will see that this is also the birthplace of the first Jewish army in modern times.

    After the desecration of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, the Jewish people went into exile. For almost two millennia, Jews had to rely on others for defence, living off the mercy of foreign rulers, falling prey to their whims. Violent attacks against Jews were not uncommon.

    In 1881, the Russian Tzar Alexander II was assassinated. Though the assassin wasn’t Jewish, the blame fell on the Jews living in the Russian Empire. Mass attacks against Jews, known as Pogroms, were instigated. As the pogroms intensified, the authorities turned a blind eye.

    Many chose to flee Russia, taking refuge mostly in the United Kingdom and the United States. At first, only a small minority of Jews from Eastern Europe chose to settle in the Land of Israel, including the Shertok family. For a while, they lived in an Arab village in the hills of Jerusalem. Later, the family joined the founders of Tel Aviv and moved to its new home here, in the house designated as 23 Rothschild Boulevard.

    Here lived Moshe Shertok. He prided himself on being one of the first students in HaGimnasya Hertzliya - that’s the first school in Tel Aviv, previously mentioned. Fellow students and close friends of his were Eliyahu Golomb and Dov Hos.

    In 1917, Shertok, Golomb and Hos organized a group of thirteen volunteers to safeguard the houses of Tel Aviv that stayed empty during the First World War. They acquired rifles and ammunition, took shifts and trained as if they were soldiers. For the first time in the modern era, Jews organized for self-defence.

    The young men went on to participate in the leadership of the Jewish settlement in Land of Israel, shaping its security establishment. In the 1920s Eliyahu Golomb was one of the heads of the Hagana. The Hagana, Hebrew for “defence”, was a paramilitary organization that protected the Jewish settlement from Arab attacks. Moshe Shertok became an important figure in the Jewish Agency, second only to David Ben-Gurion. After the establishment of the state of Israel, he was appointed as the first foreign minister of Israel and was later the second person to hold the position of Prime Minister. Dov Hos laid the foundations for what would later become the Israeli Air Force.

    They were inseparable, not only because of their shared vocation but also because they became brothers-in-law. Dov Hos married Rivka Shertok and Eliyahu Golomb married Ada Shertok - sisters of Moshe Shertok, known later as Moshe Sharet. Well, it all stays in the family, right?

    In pre-state Israel, this house was used by Eliyahu Golomb as a kind of headquarters of the Hagana. The important security decisions - relating to weapon acquisitions, recruitment, etc. - were all made here on the balcony facing Rothschild Boulevard. Today, it’s a museum showcasing the evolution of organized Jewish self-defence, from the Hagana to the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) - the national army of the State of Israel.

    If it's open, and you would like to go inside, feel free to close off the app. Be mindful that it is an extra cost. When you're ready to get going again, open the app and hit resume.

    When you’re ready or if you didn't stop, continue on Rothschild Boulevard along the brass stretch embedded in the pavement to reach the next intersection.

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The Trail of Independence: Tracing the origins of modern Tel Aviv