Municipal notice, Tel Aviv, 1925
This is a municipality notice issued by the Tel Aviv authorities in 1925 informing residents of Lord Balfour’s imminent visit. The visit was clearly a subject of great excitement, and the municipality was anxious to ensure its smooth running.
The poster requests the public to show due respect to the important visitor and to decorate their homes and maintain order during the visit. At the bottom of the notice is the schedule of Balfour’s visit through the streets and important places in Tel Aviv. According to the notice, at 4.25 Balfour was to inaugurate a street named in his honour.
The Israeli film researcher Yaakov Gross recently located a film of Lord Balfour’s visit to Palestine, which was made by Kamil Suago for the French-Jewish banker Albert Kahan. The film allows us to view many different aspects of Balfour’s visit. It shows him visiting the Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium in Tel Aviv, the country’s first Hebrew high school, on March 26, 1925. Thousands of people filled the streets, photographs of Balfour were hanging from the balconies and lampposts, and a gate of honour was erected on Allenby Street with the words “Baruch haba” (welcome)in gold lettering . When Balfour arrived, accompanied by the Zionist leaders Nahum Sokolow and Chaim Weizmann, Meir Dizengoff, Tel Aviv’s first mayor, proclaimed: “Fortunate are you, to be privileged to draw close to the fulfilment of the ideals.”
Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 by sixty families who moved from Jaffa to establish the first new Jewish city for hundreds of years. The city’s growth, however, was arrested by the Ottoman authorities who expelled the residents of Jaffa and Tel Aviv in 1917. Under the British Mandate the Jews were free to return to their homes in Tel Aviv and, by the time of Balfour’s visit, there were approximately 34,000 residents in the city, which had become the first city in Israel to be connected to electricity two years earlier.
This source could be used by Jewish History teachers to discuss the importance of the Balfour Declaration for the residents of Palestine and their appreciation of Lord Balfour. It could also be used when teaching about the situation in Mandate Palestine and the growth enjoyed by the Yishuv in this period.
Hebrew teachers teaching high level students could use this poster as an example of a historical text.
Who wrote this notice?
Who was the notice addressing?
What event was being announced?
What instructions are given in the notice?
Reading Between the Lines
What type of reception did Lord Balfour receive and why?
Why was the municipality so anxious for the visit to be successful?
Why did the Tel Aviv municipality decide to name a road after Lord Balfour?
Why do you think there are no images or colour in the notice?
How is the Balfour Declaration regarded today?
Can you think of any places in Israel named after Balfour?
Plan a day trip to Tel Aviv for a VIP visiting Israel for the first time.
Which sites would you take them to and why?
Balfour’s visit route included Allenby Street, Ahad Ha’am Street, the Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium, the newly-named Balfour Street, Rothschild Boulevard, Herzl Street, Nachalat Binyamin Street, Lilienblum Street, and the Eden Cinema.
Choose one of these places and write about its history and what has happened there since the time of Balfour’s visit.
Lord Balfour’s Visit
Citizens of Tel Aviv
On Thursday, 1st Nissan we have the honour of receiving Lord Arthur James Balfour within the walls of our city.
The city will do all it can to welcome the creator of the Declaration with the honour that is due to this important statesman and representative of the great and enlightened nation under whose protection we find shelter.
We hereby request all residents of the city to assist us with this by decorating their homes with flags, rugs and flowers and, particularly, by maintaining calm and order when our guest passes through the streets of Tel Aviv.
The schedule of his visit has been planned so that each and every resident will be able to see the honourable guest and his entourage. The crowd is requested to stand peacefully in the designated places while he passes through the streets.
We hope that all residents will understand the significance of this visit and that each and every one of you will make an effort to show our guest that we are an organised public who know how to keep order and respect our guests. …