Search

WINSTON CHURCHILL, MEIR DIZENGOFF AND FAKE TREE PLANTS - TEL AVIV STORIES

On March 1921, Winston Churchill, the British Minister of Colonies, and future Prime Minister, visited Palestine which had been just declared British Mandate Territory. He spoke in front of 10,000 people on Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus, describing his support of Zionism and the founding of a future Jewish state. At Mount Scopus, Churchill participated in a palm tree-planting ceremony at Hebrew University and planted his own tree. It was a great event indeed. An alley on the Hebrew University Mount Scopus campus was later named after Churchill.


Churchill plants a palm tree in Jerusalem

Churchill in Palestine

Rothschild Boulevard at 1909 and after Churchill's visit.

The "First Kiosk" where Soda water was sold, which was the 1st and the only business at Tel Aviv, stands in the front

He also visited Tel Aviv, the first Hebrew City, as it used to be called, which had just celebrated his 10th anniversary in 1919. But Churchill's visit of Tel Aviv caused a great confusion for the first Tel Aviv major, Meir Dizengoff. 12 years old, Tel Aviv still was a small and dusty town. Its main street, which was proudly called the Rothschild Boulevard, was supposed to be green and beautiful, but no trees had been ever planted there until Churchill's visit. By no means cannot a street called "Boulevard" be without trees. It would be a shame in the eyes of the British Minister! And this is how Dizengoff hastily ordered to plant some trees along the boulevard towards Churchill's coming.

Camels crossing Yarkon River in Tel Aviv


When Dizengoff and Churchill walked along the boulevard, some kids tried to climb the newly planted trees. And these trees, which did not have chance yet to get rooted in a dry sandy soil, obviously started falling under the kids weight. Churchill, who had forth a sharp eye and a great sense of humor, turned to tremendously ashamed Dizengoff, and calmed him down saying that he did not see any problem that the plants were just a show-off on his behalf. For him it was much more important that the Jews would develop sustainable roots and will stand strong here, much stronger than these trees!


"The First Kiosk" at the Rothschild Boulevard still stands today


Today Rothschild Boulevard is still the main street of Tel Aviv, which will celebrate his 100 Anniversary this year. It is full of beauty indeed, and both the trees and the people have already developed very deep roots in this soil!

Rothschild Boulevard in our days