top of page

Triple 'Knesset' (Israeli parliament) 2008

Since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, its parliament, the Knesset, had moved between two cities: from Tel Aviv's Opera House to Jerusalem's Frumin House, and later, to its permanent location in Givat Ram, Jerusalem. The changes that these historic locations had undergone, particularly the destruction of their historical memory and architectural legacy, represent the dichotomy between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, religion and nation, past and present.
The Tel Aviv Opera House, designed by Yosef Noifeld and built in 1945, initially served as a movie theater. In 1948 it was converted into a military headquarters, and from March to December 1949, it housed the first Israeli parliament. Once the Knesset moved to Jerusalem in 1950, its former sea-side residence was occupied by the Tel-Aviv municipality. From 1958 it served as the home of the Israeli Opera for the next 24 years. Later, the building was demolished, and in 1988 the new Opera Tower was inaugurated in its place. The new building consists of a luxury apartment complex, a shopping mall, a movie theater, and a parking lot, with only a wall plaque and an enlarged reproduction of a historical photograph of the Assembly Hall to commemorate the historical significance of the site.
Located in Jerusalem's city center, Frumin House was initially designed as a bank but was repurposed to host the Israeli parliament between 1950-1966. The Assembly Hall was set in the cellar, designed to accommodate the bank's safes. Once the parliament had moved to its permanent location, Frumin House was used by various government agencies, notably the Ministry of Religious Services, which had converted the former Assembly Hall into a synagogue.
The cornerstone of the current parliament building in Giveat Ram was laid in 1958. The building, developed by Yosef Klarewine, was inaugurated in 1966, and in 2008, a new wing was opened. The enrooting of the current building as 'The Knesset' and the disappearance of the two prior locations from the Israeli national narrative, with no earnest attempt to preserve its modern architectural-national history, is remarkable, especially in the face of the accessive funding of preservation initiatives in the Old City and other religious sites.


bottom of page