P. 8

In fact, it is not a building but rather a whole compound, one of the finest and most representative buildings in Jerusalem and perhaps in the entire country – The National Institutions Building in Jerusalem.
It was the home of the "nascent government" of the "nascent state", which on Friday, 5 Iyar 5708, became the State of Israel. It was here that all the important meetings occurred, historic decisions were made and guidelines were issued to the various offices of the Jewish Agency, the Jewish National Council, KKL-JNF and Keren Hayesod – regarding ways to advance the establishment of the State of Israel, which initially had been merely a dream and which became a reality in 1948 - 5708.
The chapters of the book accompany the building even before it existed: The architectural competition in 1928, the selection of the proposal of the then-unknown architect, Yohanan Ratner, the stages of the building's construction in the mid Thirties; Special events that occurred in the building, including a hunger strike of the Yishuv leaders in 1946, as a sign of solidarity with a thousand "illegal immigrants" who went on a hunger strike in Port La-Spezia in Italy; The "occupation" of the building by the British during the "Black Sabbath"; The bombing of March 1948 – due to an Arab car bomb that had entered the courtyard of the National Institutions Building – and its serious aftermath, and more.
David Ben-Gurion is remembered today as the first Prime Minister. Less known is the fact that he was a "tenant" of the National Institutions Building for 23 years – 13 years as Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency and the Zionist Executive before the establishment of the state and ten years as Prime Minister during the country's first years, since the Prime Minister's Office resided in the rear wing of the National Institutions Building in the years 1950-1962.
It would not be a mistake to determine that this special building in Jerusalem is worthy of a book that deals with and addresses it from every possible angle, including demonstrations and rallies of thousands and tens of thousands that took place in the square at its front. Most memorable is the demonstration of joy that lasted twenty hours – from midnight of November 29/30, 1947 and until 8:00 PM the next day – following the UN General Assembly Resolution on the partition of the Land of Israel and the establishment of a Jewish state. Such joy – as attested by the elderly – Jerusalem had never seen before.
The utility of the National Institutions Building did not come to an end in 1948-5708, with the establishment of the State of Israel. The entities residing within it still have quite a few tasks – both those concerning the happenings in Israel and those tasks related to the relationship of the state and its residents with the Jewish World.
The building, as in the past, teems with life and activity and more stories await it.
Dr. Mordecai Naor
 A whole book about one building.

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