A lapsing landmark

Historic Dizengoff House at 16 Sderot Rothschild, where David Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of the State of Israel, is slowly falling apart.

dizengoff house 298 88 (photo credit: Archive)
dizengoff house 298 88
(photo credit: Archive)
According to the Hebrew weekly Tel Aviv, without financial assistance it may collapse before long. On the building's second floor, where the state was declared and the Bible House museum is now located, the wooden walls have deteriorated to the point that they can no longer hold the explanatory signs. City councilor Ron Levithal (Shinui) plans to petition the Tel Aviv Court for Municipal Affairs in an attempt to force the city and state to take action to restore the building. "It is disgraceful how we relate to places of great historical importance," he said. The building's staff is angry that the city will not allow them to place a sign at the entrance declaring that memorial ceremonies are no longer held in honor of the city's first mayor, Meir Dizengoff, and that many artworks and historical furniture have been removed and placed in storage. Furthermore, Dizengoff House did not appear on the municipal map of historical sites issued last year, and the Education Ministry no longer includes it in the curriculum. A Tel Aviv municipal spokesperson responded, "The building is owned by the state, not the city. When the municipality asked that it be made available for public use, the Israel Lands Administration demanded more than NIS 2 million to lease it, despite its rundown condition that requires extensive renovation work. Renovations done in accordance with the regulations for preserving buildings would cost several million shekels more than ordinary work. The furniture and other objects removed from Bible House are being stored at the Israel Museum and will be returned only when the building is suitable for displaying them. The solution is now in the hands of the state and the Israel Lands Administration. If they were to lower its price, which is not likely or practical at the moment, the city would invest in making it into an attractive museum." An Education Ministry spokesperson said, "The ministry considers it very important to renovate this historical building and has allocated some funds for its restoration, together with other agencies. Unfortunately, the association that currently manages Bible House does not meet the Finance Ministry's requirements for withdrawing the funds. A meeting with the city to discuss the matter has been scheduled for December." It's academic The school year got underway this week at Tel Aviv area colleges and universities, where nearly 90,000 students study. While the largest number of students will be attending Tel Aviv University (TAU), the academic colleges are growing apace. According to Tel Aviv, Ono Academic College (OAC) and Ramat Gan College have more new students than Bar-Ilan University. At TAU 7,158 new students began degree studies. Nearly equal numbers are registered to study humanities (1,094) and social sciences (1,093). Far fewer will study education (93) or social work (79). The university's new Jewish Culture department incorporates Bible studies, Talmud, the Hebrew language, Semitic languages, rabbinic, midrash, classical Jewish philosophy, kabbala, hassidism, and modern Jewish thought. The university's total enrollment is approximately 30,000. Some 1,260 new students will be attending Bar-Ilan University this year. The most popular programs at Bar-Ilan are economics, business administration, and logistics, while the least popular is social work. New programs include quantitative biology - which combines life sciences and computer sciences - and brain science, which includes research in psychology, linguistics, and computer science with the aim of understanding how the human brain functions. Approximately 25,000 students have enrolled at the university. There will be 1,800 new students at Ono Academic College, 1,000 of them in the law school. Outstanding students in the business administration program will benefit from hands-on education in the college's new trading room, established in cooperation with the First International Bank. Law students at OAC also benefit from the practical experience acquired by working in the school's legal aid clinics. OAC's total enrollment will reach 6,000. Ramat Gan College has accepted 1,610 new students, but it is still possible to apply for the current year. More than 1,200 will be studying social sciences and only 24 the humanities. The college's total enrollment is 5,600. Approximately 1,000 new students will be studying education at Levinsky College, where the most popular major is early childhood education, and the least popular secondary education. At the Seminar Hakibbutzim college, 120 of the 500 new students will be studying special education and 100 arts education. New offerings include a master's degree in mathematical education for elementary schools, a major in social justice, and a special program for students over 30. At the Engineering College, more than half of the 500 new students will study electrical and electronic engineering. New programs include specialization in medical engineering and a robotics laboratory. At the Michlala L'minhal (college of administration), there will be 350 new students, of whom a majority will study advertising.