Skip to main content

Activists hope to bring new life to Israel's old buildings

Architects and activists are working to save thousands of deserted buildings throughout Israel.

In April, the Dov Hoz Community Center was inaugurated in a renovated old building in Tel Aviv. Since then, said Nadav Avnery, the center’s director, it has seen nonstop visitors who “pop their head in the door and ask what we do here and when there will be activities for them.” The renewed vitality of the place testifies to the potential for the evolution of buildings in Israel.

The structure was built in 1938 as a Mizrahi “home for young women,” to help house the influx of children during the youth immigration of that period, and then it became a boarding school for girls. In 1999, the building was abandoned, after which it attracted the homeless and drug users, becoming a sore at the center of Tel Aviv on very expensive land. In 2011, the old abandoned building became a symbol in the protest over the cost of living, with social activists taking it over and establishing an independent community center and running programs and other activities out of it.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.