On April 11, 1909, 66 families gathered to participate in a lottery for plots of land for Ahuzat Bayit, a new Jewish neighborhood outside Jaffa. Meir Dizengoff and his wife Zina won lot #43 and built their home there. In 1910, at a general meeting of the Ahuzat Bayit residents, the name of the neighborhood was changed by majority vote to Tel Aviv.
Dizengoff became the first mayor of Tel Aviv and, following the death of his wife in 1930, donated his house and requested that it be turned into a museum. The building was expanded and renovated and, in 1936, became the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
On May 14, 1948, at 4 p.m. – eight hours before the termination of the British Mandate in what was then Palestine – the members of the People’s Council and invited leaders gathered in the hall of the Tel Aviv Museum to hear David Ben-Gurion, head of the People’s Council, the Zionist Executive and the Jewish Agency, read Israel’s Declaration of Independence. Rabbi Fishman-Maimon recited the Shehecheyanu (a Jewish blessing of thanksgiving) and members of the Council and Executive signed the declaration scroll. The ceremony concluded with the singing of “Hatikvah.”
The renovated Independence Hall opened to the public in 1978 with original exhibits and reconstructions designed to transport the visitor back to 1948. The names of those who attended the ceremony are on the dais and chairs; Theodor Herzl’s portrait hangs above center stage, flanked by two long Israeli flags. Most of the pictures displayed at the time, part of the Tel Aviv Museum’s collection from the day the state was declared, remain on the walls. In the corner there are various items connected with the ceremony: documents, invitations, recording and broadcasting equipment, memos and more. Visitors can listen to the original recording of the ceremony and view a 16-minute film describing the events of the period and the history of the building.
Independence Hall is located at 16 Rothschild Blvd. It is undergoing extensive renovations and is closed for visits until 2023.
A temporary visitors center is in the Shalom Mayer Tower and features three exhibitions. Entrance is free during opening hours of the Tower: Sun-Thurs 07:00-19:00, Friday & Eve of Holidays 07:00-14:00, Saturdays & Holidays - closed.
Tel. +972-3-5106426, +972-3-5173942.
Address: The center is in the East Lobby of the Shalom Mayer Tower (Ground Floor). Entrance is from Ahuzat Bait 4 Street, Tel Aviv (Next to the Stock Exchange and Innovation Center).
Ahad Ha’am 9 Street, Shalom Mayer Tower, Tel Aviv 6525101