Tour Locations | The White City
LOCATION 11 | The White City
Dov Hoz Community Center
Stop here next to the wide yard on your right. This is Dov Hoz Community Center. You can take advantage of the huge staircase and sit down for a few minutes while I’ll tell you all about it.
Tel Aviv of pre-state Israel was the heart of political activity. We’ve already seen several landmarks connected to the political Left and now we’re looking at a site connected to the religious political party HaMizrahi.
This building used to be a boarding school for religious young women. Each room in the sleeping quarters was used by up to three women. They cooked together, studied together, cleaned together and even learned a little bit about vegetable farming in this very yard.
In April 1948, the young women who lived and studied here were sent on a long vacation with their families. It was shortly before the withdrawal of the British army from Palestine, or, as the Jewish inhabitants called it, the Land of Israel.
The Jewish leadership was preparing to declare the independence of the State of Israel. The leaders from all political parties gathered in this building and debated for almost a week how to establish a new Jewish state. A body of 37 members was formed as a parliament-to-be, and 13 were given government roles, including David Ben-Gurion as a sort of Prime minister to be. Official titles had to be avoided until the British Mandate was to end on May 14th 1948.
That day, the 37 members of the People’s Council gathered in the old Tel Aviv Museum and Ben-Gurion declared “the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel - that is, the State of Israel”. The People’s Council became the provisional state council, later to become the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament. And it all started here!
After the establishment of the state of Israel, this place continued to serve as an important establishment of the religious political party. In the 1990s it was abandoned and stood vacant for almost two decades. Calls to renovate and repurpose the building fell on deaf ears. Only after 2011, when Occupy Movement activists squatted the building, the municipality took these calls seriously.
The place reopened in 2016 as an all-age community center. The bottom floor houses kindergartens, next to a coffee place. In the top floor, you’ll find a co-working space for young adults, next to a baby play area. As you sit here, you’ll feel the lively atmosphere of the White City today - not only a World Heritage Site, but also a vibrant community.
When you're ready, continue on Dov Hoz Street in the same direction you've been going. You'll hear from me further ahead.
On your way look to your right. You’ll notice that almost each and every building has a plaque mentioning the important actors, singers, playwrights and other bohemians who lived and created in this area.