Apparently, the last Israel Mystery Photo was fairly easy, as I expected it would be (and not just for tour guides). All four people who answered got it right, and I’m sure that if more people saw it, they too would have responded correctly. It is located on a major street in Tel Aviv, in front of an important historical landmark. So many people see it on a frequent basis. But more on that shortly.
First, I want to introduce the current mystery photo, featured at right. This too will likely be somewhat easy, though a drop harder than the last one. Fewer people will have actually seen it, but the combination of the style, the subject, the background, and other ancillary information might make it easy to guess, even if you’ve never actually seen it.
So if you don’t recognize it, try to put on your thinking caps and figure this baby out! As always, you can click on the image to view a larger version of it.
So what about the previous photo? As everyone correctly noted, it is a statue of Meir Dizengoff atop his beloved horse. So congrats to Gary, Lisa, Nachum and Orah! Though I must admit that despite Gary’s clever reply, I can’t promise the horse was a mare (female) and not a stallion (male). Nor have I been able to confirm its name. Still, for fun’s sake, let’s go with it!
So who was Meir Dizengoff? He was the first mayor of the city of Tel Aviv, and it would be fair to say that few people left their mark on that city as much as he did. Many cities have had beloved mayors who were virtually synonymous with the cities’ characters. Think Teddy Kollek in Jerusalem or Ed Koch and/or Fiorello LaGuardia in New York City. That’s who Dizengoff was for Tel Aviv.
Dizengoff was among the founding members of Achuzat Bayit, the suburb of Yaffo/Jaffa established in 1909 that would soon be renamed Tel Aviv. When it became its own city in 1921, Dizengoff would become its first mayor (Mayor Meir, as we like to call him). He and his wife Zina never had children, so in many ways the city itself filled that role. And at times he was a tough father. He used to say, “If you want to be mayor, build your own town.” But without a doubt, he left an indelible and positive mark on the city.
When the Great Arab Revolt of 1936-39 led to the Arabs closing the Jaffa Port, Dizengoff took it in stride. He arranged for a new port to be constructed in Tel Aviv proper (the same port which today has been transformed into a very popular shopping and nightlife spot). Tel Aviv’s famous annual Purim Parade (known as Adloyada) always featured Dizengoff on his beloved horse. This is why the artist felt it appropriate to sculpt him in this fashion. And Dizengoff’s name has even been transformed into a slang Israeli Hebrew verb: L’hizdangef. It means to stroll on Dizengoff (the street named in his honor before he died), to shop there and sit in its many coffee shops. In general to enjoy a night out. (It isn’t used much anymore, by the way, so don’t use it unless you want to sounds old fashioned.)
But perhaps the most significant event in Tel Aviv’s history that is connected with Mayor Meir is the one that is also the seminal event in the country’s history — the declaration of independence on May 14, 1948. After Zina Dizengoff died, Meir donated his home (from the original Achuzat Bayit plot) to become the home of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. With Jerusalem under siege in May of 1948, the declaration of the State took place in this public building. Today, it houses the Independence Hall museum, and I highly recommend a visit to anyone visiting Israel. The statue in the picture sits in front of it, in the center median of Rothschild Blvd.
Now, get to guessing what the current mystery photo is of!