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The demolition of the Customs House in the port of Jaffa began

The Jaffa customs building is going down


My tours are pretty much concentrated on the history of my lovely country and seeing historical buildings destroyed is frustrating, this week the municipality of Tel Aviv begins another project destroying the rich past of ancient Jaffa.

Herzl also lived here during his historic visit to the Holy Land, but the bulldozers of the municipality came to wipe the place out. The conservation people are outraged, the municipality claims that this is a hazard. But who made him?

The original building was established by the Ottoman rule in the second half of the 19th century. The British built a new terminal there about a hundred years ago and what happened to the mythical water tower of Tel Aviv? Interfered with the neighbors to sleep - then closed it to the whole public. A long legal struggle came to an end this morning, with the arrival of bulldozers from the Tel Aviv municipality to the port of Jaffa. They came to establish facts on the ground and began to destroy the structure of the Customs House, to the displeasure of the advocates of urban conservation. The protracted struggle, which lasted more than a decade, was decided in the High Court earlier last year with the postponement of the petition filed by the council for the preservation of heritage sites against the city's decision to demolish the structure, with the support of the National Planning institutions.

one of my favorite guided tours in Israel is Jaffa. the tour goes along the port and I will miss my stories about this historical building.

The building whose demolition began this morning was located on the waterfront. This is an international-style building, which the British government in Eretz Israel established in the 30s of the last century, as a passenger terminal in the bustling port. The building was built on the remains of the Ottoman Customs House, which operated in the same place since the 60s of the 19th century and was a symbol of the entrance gate to Eretz Israel. The state contract, Benjamin Zeev Herzl, also passed there on his visit in 1898 when he arrived to meet the German Emperor Wilhelm II. Since Herzl went up the stairs of the platform, it was decided to keep them and they will not be destroyed. The rest of the wreckage will be evacuated, to open the gaze to the sea.





A decade after the establishment of the state, in the mid-60s, the activity of the Customs House was stopped, and the structure was handed over to the use of "sea-goers". Over the years, the structure was severely neglected, with the effect of sea salinity being felt in it as expected. The state of the building deteriorated until it was decided to demolish it and not renovate and run a museum there.


"The permission of the municipality is illegal and the issue is in the appeal committee," Tamar's teacher, from the council for the preservation of heritage sites in Israel, claimed that the demolition should begin in the morning. "They can not do this within the framework of the appeal, they have to change TPS (City Building Plan, MBA). How can we destroy this structure, which is shown in every publication of the state of Israel and Tel Aviv Jaffa to the world? He finishes Jaffa's silhouette."




Tuchler is outraged that the property has passed from the state to the hands of the municipality when it is a building for conservation and gradually deprived him of the status that protects him, simultaneously with the daredevil of his condition. "The port of Jaffa has a tourist and social role," she emphasizes, " there have been agreements with the public and simply ignore everything. This is a default of the order of demolition of the Herzliya gymnasium. The city of Tel Aviv is pushing for conservation, but note that all those buildings for conservation are private buildings, which the municipality requires entrepreneurs to preserve."


Following rumors about the town planning to demolish the place in the morning, Reuven Abramovich (chips), who worked in the port of Jaffa since 1959 and managed the maritime port from 2004 to 2015, arrived at the place. Abramovich, who took an active part in the struggle for the preservation of the site, argues: "The municipality of Tel Aviv did it secretly, put notes on the shops instead of 4 am so that they did not know. The information came to us yesterday in the late evening, but it was too late and we could not prevent the demolition, and what they did until now is already impossible to fix.


Abramovich, who published a few years ago the book "Jaffa - the Port of the House", which reveals the history of the port, claims that "they do not realize that it is impossible to align this territory. It was built following the request of the churches-water from the sea entered this area. What will happen is that water will again begin to penetrate, and then a wall and stones will be built, as they have already done in some places on the northern promenade."


As for the municipality's claim of blocking the view and the passage, he claims that " there is no problem of the passage there, there are 14 meters this is not an even crowded place, they could renovate it for the well-being of the public and sea viewers. Why don't they destroy the port's Hangar 1? There is a narrow passage.


Municipality: "There are no values that justify conservation"

The municipality said in response, " The existing building is not the Ottoman historic customs house, but a mandate-era building built instead of the Customs House that the British destroyed, and operated for only a few years. According to the opinion of the municipal Conservation Department, this structure does not have historical or architectural values that justify conservation, unlike other buildings in the port preserved and renewed by the municipality.


"The existing structure is a violation of the texture of the buildings in the port and blocks the open view to the North and the sequence of the open public promenade, in which the city is working on its development along the entire coastline. The position of the municipality coincides with the position of the Supreme Court and the National Council. There is also the consent of the Israel Land Administration to demolish the building, and the administration also signed the application for its removal."


2020 is a surprising year with all the global changes and diseases and we in Israel can see how the historical landscape is changing constantly, the tycoons are taking over the history and erasing the past.


contact me to discover Jaffa in one of my guided tours in Israel.



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