Beit Froumine (Froumine House) on King George St. in Jerusalem served as
the temporary Knesset building in the years 1950 through 1966. It was used for
the first five Knessets until the Knesset moved to its permanent building in
the Government Complex on Givat Ram on August 30th 1966. The
extensive activity that took place at Beit Froumine is recorded in the “Divrey
HaKnesset” (Knesset Minutes) and in an extensive photograph collection.
Representatives and leaders of the generation who established the State
of Israel served in Beit Froumine as Members of the Knesset. David Ben Gurion,
Moshe Sharett, Levi Eshkol, Menahem Begin, Yohanan Bader, Yitzhak Ben-Aharon,
Moshe Sneh, Yosef Burg, and many others made historical speeches in the
building. Other dramatic events are also associated with Beit Froumine, such as
the mass demonstration held in January 1952 in protest of the Reparations
Agreement with Germany, or the hand grenade thrown at the government table in
October 1957, injuring Minister of Religious Affairs Moshe Shapira, Prime
Minister David Ben Gurion, and other government ministers.
After the Knesset began operating from its permanent building in Givat
Ram, Beit Froumine was occupied by the Ministry of Tourism, until 2004. The
ground on which Beit Froumine was built on belonged to the Israel Land
Administration, but it was sold in 2004 to a private entrepreneur who intended
to wreck the building and construct a complex for residential and commercial
purposes. It was planned to make the original Plenum hall the main room of a
commercial bank, and a replica was to be built in an underground floor. These
developments led to a public struggle, led by the Society for Preservation of
Israel Heritage Sites and supported by former and current Knesset Members, and
brought to the legislation of the Knesset Museum Law. This bill passed its
first reading in January 2005. It includes the restoration of the building to
its state during the years it housed the Knesset and its operation as a
state-funded museum. The bill also lists the makeup of the museum’s public
council and board of directors.
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