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Photo: Froumine House - the home of the Knesset between 1950 and 1966
Froumine House - the home of the Knesset between 1950 and 1966

Beit Froumine

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.

State Symbol - Menora and Olive Branches
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