A short account of Independence Hall, given by your Israel & Jerusalem private tour guide
In 1910, Meir Dizengoff and his wife Zina built their home in the small neighborhood that was then called Tel Aviv. After Dizengoff was elected as the mayor of the city in 1921, the house was renovated a few times, with a second floor added and the “international style” look given to it.
With the death of the art-loving painter Zina, Meir turned his home into the official Museum of Art of the city. When he died childless in 1936, his will stated that the house was to be donated to the city and be maintained as a museum. It did serve as the Museum of Art of Tel Aviv until it moved to its current modern location.
On May 12, 1948, it was decided to declare independence for the State of Israel once the British would be leaving on May 14th. The museum was chosen for the declaration ceremony. The actual reason for choosing it was the fact that the main hall was lower than the ground level, and could protect the participants in case of the bombing of Tel Aviv from the air. Eventually, nothing of the sort happened, and the supposedly secret ceremony was so secret that hundreds of excited people gathered outside and heard it on loudspeakers.
How it functions today
Since 1978, the building serves as the Museum for the Declaration of Independence. Every day, many groups and individuals come to hear the story of the creation of Israel and the story of the declaration. There is also a movie about the beginning of Tel Aviv that is shown.
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