Culture & Leisure
Yad LaBanim Complex, Petah Tikvah
Museum Complex, Arlozorov St 30
The Yad LaBanim house was the first building inaugurated in the culture center. Opened in 1953, it was the first commemorative institution of its kind in the young Israel. The purpose of the building was to be a home for the community to memorialize the fallen of Israel’s wars. Through the years, more wings and structures were added to the complex, and in 1980 Yad LaBanim and its director, Baruch Oren, received the Israel Award for being “the first and most advanced of the country’s memorial houses, and a model for all other houses of its kind” . The house’s form of memorialization is of a constant bond between the past, with descriptions of the fallen’s heroism, and the present life, reflected in the vibrant, multi-age activity that takes place within its walls. The house was established as an institution of both victory and commemoration of the victims of the Israeli wars, initiated by the Haganah organization in Petah Tikva in cooperation with the municipality's management, headed by Pinchas Rashish. They decided not to settle for a monument for the fallen, but to build a unique structure that would be both a memorial as well as a culture center. Therefore, the complex was established as consisting of several structures, serving different functions. The building’s cornerstone was laid in 1951. Leitersdorf and Belsitzman were chosen as the architects who would plan the house as well as the rest of the complex, in cooperation with the Petah Tikva municipality, the Haganah organization, the fallen’s bereaved parents, and Baruch Oren, who served as the site manager and to this day is considered the person who gave the place its spirit.
The house’s establishment was done in three stages, between the years 1951-1962:
A. The Yad LaBanim house (718 square meters) was inaugurated on Independence Day in 1953. Based on plans executed in 1951, it contained several functions that combine commemoration alongside cultural activities for the community. On the first floor: in the Eastern wing, commemoration rooms and signs for the fallen, a Parents Room with pictures, photo albums and excerpts from creations of the fallen, as well as a library and reference room. In the Western wing, a room dedicated to the history of the Haganah, and toilets. On the second floor: an assembly and gathering hall in the Eastern wing, and an exhibit hall in the Western wing. Outside of the main building were placed a guard room and offices, and at the front of the building, a large paved space for gatherings and ceremonies.
B. A wing for the founders of Petah Tikvah – “Zecher Rishonim” – was added, dedicated to the city’s first people and founders (738 square meters). The structure was an addition to the memorial institution, and included exhibits, certificates, documents, original work tools, pictures and sculptures that tell the story of the first settlers of Petah Tikvah, the “Mother of the Moshavot”, and of the early days of the Haganah. Additionally, there was a Founders Room, displaying the figures of the founders and a permanent exhibition. This structure was inaugurated in 1958, on the city’s 80th anniversary.
C. Art museum (548 square meters) and the Shor exhibition hall (102 square meters). The plan was of two floors: the first floor was built in 1962 and the second, planned in 1973, was never executed. The proposed plan was a more extensive plan with further design ideas but was cut down due to lack of resources. According to the original plan, the lot where Beit Rishonim and the antique museum were later built was to have a roofed area, which would be an addition to the memorial space at the front of the building. This area was to have a plastic corrugated roof – an element which was eventually not used. The art museum holds permanent and temporary exhibitions with works by local as well as international artists. The exhibition hall displays painter Zvi Shor’s and sculptor Nahum Aronson’s art collection.