This is an aerial photograph taken in the 1930s of Jerusalem’s Rehavia neighbourhood with the Jewish Agency building in the foreground. The building is designed in the shape of the Hebrew letter, “bet” (ב) with a large courtyard in the centre. The photograph depicts the modern two- and three-floor buildings of the Rehavia neighbourhood, most with flat roofs in the Middle-Eastern style. From this angle Rehavia gives the impression of being a planned neighbourhood with wide, straight roads surrounded with trees and greenery. The text beneath the photograph reads, “Jerusalem, Rehavia Quarter – Jewish Agency Building in the Foreground” and “Jerusalem Rehavia” written in Hebrew.
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Jewish Agency Building– The Jewish Agency building, also called the National Institutes Building, is located at 48 King George Street in Jerusalem and houses Keren Hayesod, Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael (JNF), and the Jewish Agency. The land was purchased in 1920 and a design competition, in which thirty-seven different plans were submitted, took place in 1927. There were strict requirements including that it should house three separate institutions, be made of Jerusalem stone, and not cost more than 35,000 pounds to build. The winner of the architectural contest was the Ukrainian-born architect Yohanan Ratner. The building was completed in stages with the first floor opening in 1930 and the second floor being completed in 1936. The front of the building has a balcony which was used on special occasions such as the celebration of the United Nations vote on the Partition Plan on November 29, 1947. Although the building was built with security in mind, a bomb went off in the courtyard on March 11, 1948, killing twelve people including the head of Keren Hayesod, Leib Yaffe. The Knesset, the Israeli parliament, convened in this building for the first few months after the establishment of the State of Israel. The original agencies continue to be housed in the building today.
Rehavia – Rehavia (רחביה) is an affluent Jerusalem neighbourhood. The neighbourhood's name, based on a biblical source, was given by one of its first inhabitants and early architects, Eliezer Yelin. Rehavia is situation on land that was purchased by the Greek Orthodox Church in 1922, and the first house was built two years later. The German-Jewish architect Richard Kauffmann was commissioned to plan Rehavia as a garden neighbourhood with gardens surrounding the houses and an orderly grid of streets and footpaths. The architectural style of the houses of Rehavia was influenced by the Bauhaus International Style. Most of the streets are named after Jewish scholars and poets from the Golden Age of Spain, including Ramban, Ben Maimon, Radak, Abarbanel, and others. In addition to the residential buildings, the Gymnasia Rehavia high school, the Yeshurun synagogue, and the Jewish Agency building were also built in the neighbourhood. The Prime Minister's official residence is also located in Rehavia. Other notable residents of the neighbourhood include David Ben-Gurion, Reuven Rivlin, Menachem Ussishkin, Golda Meir, Hugo Bergmann, Gershom Scholem.
Yohanan Ratner – Yohanan Ratner was born in 1891 in Odessa and immigrated to Israel in 1923. He was an architect who taught at the Technion in Haifa and designed the Jewish Agency building in Jerusalem. Ratner was also a commander in the Haganah and, after the establishment of Israel, the Israel Defense Forces. Ratner died in 1965.