Next week, 100 years ago, on April the 11th 1909, Tel-Aviv was founded. The local Israeli papers are coming with specials about 100 year Tel-Aviv. The first one is the daily ‘Yediot-Achronot’ with on the cover a picture that tells you all: The crime of the century: Herzl-street with at the end the Gymnasium Herzliya and on top of it the ‘Shalom-Tower’.
The Gymnasium Herzliya was designed in 1909 by the architect Joseph Barsky. The corner-stone laying ceromomy took place on July 28/1909; it opened his doors on October 26th 1910. The facade of the building was meant to evoke the appereance of the Temple. Jews from all over the world sent their children to be educated at the school, and writers and poets like Haim Nachman Bialik and Ehad Ha’am were among its teachers.
Then in 1958 an ‘act of cultural vandalism’ took place. Some egg-head within the Municipality of Tel-Aviv decided that the city needed the highest tower of the Middle-East. The only spot, he could found was…at the end of Herzl Street! So, the historic Gymnasium Herzliya, one of the most impressive and beautiful buildings in Tel-Aviv was knocked down’. There were no protests, no discussions…the bulldozers came and in a few hours destroyed an important part of the heritage of Tel-Aviv.
I never understand, until today, why they call this building the ‘Shalom-Tower’…it is the ‘Shame-Tower’.