“Balfour Declaration: The divisive legacy of 67 words”


From Wikipedia:

“Beit Aghion (Hebrew: בית אגיון‎), also known as Beit Rosh HaMemshala (בית ראש הממשלה‎, lit. House of the Prime Minister) is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Israel. It is located at 9 Smolenskin Street, on the street corner of Balfour Street in the upscale Jerusalemneighborhood of Rehavia, situated between the city center and the Talbiya neighborhood. The building was built for the JewishGreek merchant Edward Aghion who was an affluent resident of Alexandria, Egypt. It was designed by the Jewish-German architect Richard Kauffmann and was built between 1936–1938.

In 1941, Peter II, King of Yugoslavia resided in the house. During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War it served as a hospital for the Irgun fighters. In 1952, the Israeli government purchased the house for the purpose of turning it to an official residence for the Foreign Minister. In 1974, the Israeli Government decided to transfer the official residence of the Prime Minister from Beit Julius Jacobs, which served as the official residence of the Israeli Prime Minister between 1950–1974, to Beit Aghion. During the 1990s, a wall was erected around the house for security reasons and a segment of Balfour Street was closed to traffic.

On 8 February 2009, the Israeli government approved the Almog Project, within the government’s complex, which was to unite the official residence of the Prime Minister with his office, in which the official residence of the Prime Minister was to be transferred from Beit Aghion. The cost of that planned project was around 650 million shekels, and thus was criticized as overly extravagant. On 5 April the decision to move the official residence of the Prime Minister of Israel was canceled.
In 2014, the plans to relocate the official residence to be close to the prime minister’s office were approved by ministers.”

Judy Peres wrote for the CHICAGO TRIBUNE of 21.3.98:

“…When the British Mandate ended in 1948, Princess Mary Street was renamed Shlomzion Hamalka, for Queen Salome Alexandra of Judea. But the new regime decided to retain a few good Englishmen, for old times’ sake. Nearly every Israeli city still has a King George Avenue and a Balfour Street. It was in 1917, under King George V, that the British foreign secretary, Lord Balfour, promised the Jewish people a “national home” in Palestine. Most cities also have an Allenby Road or Square, for the British general who ended four centuries of Ottoman rule that same year…”

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