Tour Locations | The White City

  • LOCATION 17 | The White City

    Beit Lessin Theatre

    Beit Lessin Theatre on Tel Aviv audio tour The White City

    At the intersection, stop and look across the road at the Beit Lessin Theatre. It's the wide building covered with the white slats all across its windows.

    This is another landmark in the cultural landscape of Tel Aviv. Formerly, the Cameri Theatre, this place is also where the secular identity of the city was forged.

    Shabbat - the holy day of rest in Judaism - is to this day a highly debated issue between secular Jews and religious Jews. In the 1980s, when the theatre started to run shows on Friday evenings, it was viewed as a political statement or even a provocation.

    Politicians representing religious parties in Israel demanded that the theatre would cease violating the religious observance of Shabbat. Even the mayor at the time caved to the pressure and ordered the closure of the Theatre.

    Secular residents took to the streets. Plays and performances were held outside of the theatre in spite of the political pressure. Eventually, the secular spirit of Tel Aviv prevailed. Theatres in the city now run shows on Friday night as well.

    Look to the left and you’ll see a residential high-rise. That's our next destination. Use the pedestrian crossings to get to the same corner as the high-rise.

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