‘White City, Dark Days’ Exhibition

This exhibition, from curator Galia Zeev, displays photographs, documents and documentaries commemorating some of the most scarring events in the city of Tel Aviv’s collective memory.

The exhibition, held as part of Tel Aviv’s centennial celebrations, displays photographs, documents and documentaries that commemorate events that have left scars on the personal and collective memory of the city’s residents, and footprints in the municipal perception of Tel Aviv, which had a decisive impact on the shaping of the city’s character and historical perception.

Tel Aviv’s residents bore their fair share of suffering and pain. In 1917, during World War I, all of the city’s residents were brutally deported by the Turks as they were retreating from the British. In the beginning of the 1920s, waves of hostility surged between the Arab and Jewish populations of Jaffa and the south of the city, followed by recurring acts of violence and bloodshed known as the riots of 1921 and 1929. Ten years later, the Great Arab Revolt of 1936 broke out.

Additional events documented in the exhibition, leading up to the beginning of the 1940s and World War II, are the bombings of the city by Italian and German planes that left dozens of residents dead, and hundreds injured. A similar catastrophe took place in 1948 when Egyptian aircraft bombed the city. Throughout the 1950s, Tel Aviv was frequently plagued by flooding, particularly in the south, due to intense winter rainfall. Residents were forced to improvise methods of transportation to cross flooded roads, with many homes covered with mud and some houses damaged so severely that residents had to be evacuated. In 1966, a huge fire destroyed Zim House, an office building located on the corner of Rothschild Boulevard and Nachlat Binyamin street. The fire, one of the biggest in the country’s history, in which dozens of people were trapped on the roof and others remained hanging from windows and drainpipes, demolished the building, and resulted in the death of one and injury of sixty seven people.

The end of the 1960s marked the beginning of a period of attacks by terrorists. In 1975, the Savoy Hotel on Geula Street was hit by a bloody terrorist attack, following in the 1980s by a wave of attacks in the old central bus station and the nearby area. The 1990s saw the peak of violent terror attacks by suicide bombers, in bustling crowded areas, such as the murderous attacks on bus no. 5, Dizengoff Center, and the Dolphinarium.
The monuments built as part of official commemoration of the victims of these traumatic events, that have become transparent in the cityscape, are a central and leading motif in the exhibition.

Representation of the events in the exhibition enables their isolation from the ongoing life of the “city that never sleeps”, a city that even in the midst of terror attacks set its slogan as “back to routine”, and despite the numerous calamities that it suffered, continues to live, develop and create, a city that is as young and lively as ever.

Exhibition on until January 30th 2010:
Sunday to Wednesday: 10:00 – 16:00
Friday and Saturday: 10:00 – 14:00
Thursday: 10:00 – 20:00

Eretz Israel Museum
2 Levanon St, Ramat Aviv
Tel: 03-6415244