The Germans were the first in Sarona
History of Sarona from the perspective of Israel is remarkable. So many things happened here. Sarona was buzzing with activity even before Tel Aviv came into existence. Back then from Jaffa until Sarona there was nothing at all except some orange trees.
Sarona was, in fact, a swampy area plagued with diseases such as malaria. No one lived there at that time. It took the ingenuity of the German templers to soak up water and fight diseases.
The Germans fought m
alaria & won
As much as 28 templers died of malaria in the first year of their arrival. However, they did not fret. They knew their stuff. The Germans planted eucalyptus trees in the swamp. Eucalyptus is a thirsty tree that can soak up insane amounts of water pretty quickly. The trees helped templers remove the stagnated water in the swampland and thereby fight malaria. Indeed, they survived to tell a story. Sarona is the place in Tel Aviv where the German Templers built their colony.
The templers are a group of German Christians who felt compelled to believe that they do not need a mediator – church or priests- between them and God. While in Germany, they were part of a sect called Temple Society.
In 1868, a group of them disowned the Lutheran church and came to Israel hoping that redemption will take place and Jesus Christ will rise.
In the beginning, the settled near the Bahai Gardens in Haifa in a place a now known as the German colony.
How did they end up near Sarona market?
A year later, half of the Germans in Haifa moved to Jaffa. They bought the houses of the American Christians who lived there. The Americans left the holy land because it was too difficult for them to live here.
Later in 1871, the Germans settlers bought about 60 hectors of land in Sarona from a Greek monastery where they built the German-styled homes that we see today near the Kaplan street. Back then from Sarona until Jaffa there was nothing at all except some orange trees.
These houses have a basement, a ground floor, first floor, and an attic. – Most other homes in Israel do not have basements. They used locally available materials such as sandstone to build these houses.
Why is this place called Sarona?
When the Germans bought this place they thought that they were in the plains of Sharon near the Yarkon river. In reality, they were a bit north from the plains of Sharon. At any rate, they decided to name to place Sharona, which later became Sarona. Now, the Israelis are still debating whether to call it Sarona or Sharon. How fun!
The legacy of Germans in Sarona
The Germans were met with a lot of difficulties. Even though they got it right with using eucalyptus trees to dry up the swamp land, the agricultural practices that they learned from Germany, in general, were not suitable for Israel. Everything including the soil and the weather was different.
Yet, they successfully established the colony. They went on to become the first pioneers of modern agriculture in the Ottoman-ruled Palestine and modern Israel. The successfully cultivated a lot of orange trees, grapes, and potatoes in the area.
The templers did not have any churches. Instead, they built community houses. A renovated German
The British arrive in Sarona
Most of the time, the Germans had good relations with the Jews and the Arabs. The British came to Israel in 1917 and they saw Germans here. They decided to put the Germans in detention camps in Egypt. They were allowed to come back only later in 1920-21.
When they came back to Sarona the Germans saw that everything has changed. The British soldiers used and destroyed their houses. Household equipment and tools were stolen. So they had to reconstruct the colony in Sarona again.
The Nazis come to power in Germany
Everything was good until the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933. As time passed, the templers as a whole became less religious. More and more templers adopted Nazi ideology, especially the youngsters. The young templers went to high school in Germany. They came back to Sarona stuffed up with Nazi ideologies. They even started a branch of the Nazi party in Sarona. Finally, the Nazis were really here in Israel.
The second world war begins
In 1939, the second world war started. The British decided to arrest all the Germans in Sarona again. As world war progressed and Germany started to control more and more regions in the world, the British decided to expel a few of the templers. But they did not expel them to Egypt as they did last time. The British expelled them to the far end of the globe, Australia.
At the end of the second world war, there were a few templers left in Israel and they tried to put pressure on the British government to reconstruct their houses. But the Jews did not want any more Germans in here. To make matters serious, the Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah in 1946 assassinated one of the leaders of German templers. After the establishment of the State of Israel, a few remaining templers left the place to countries such as Australia, Germany, and Cyprus.
Sarona becomes the British police camp
After the templers left in 1941, Sarona became a British police camp. In 1947, the British put forward the partition plan. The Arabs declined the plan and clashes between Jews and Arabs started. In 1941, the British were still here in Israel. The relations between the Jews and the British were complicated. The British at the beginning had promised the Jews that they will declare a state for the Jews but they rolled back later. It was the time when the Jewish military underground movements such as Haganah took a raise.
The night at the police station
One of the most landmark operations that the underground Jewish military movement Haganah executed is known as the “night at the police station.” The plan was to attack four police stations at one night. They executed three of them as planned but they were late at Sarona. The British could resist and, in the end, four members of the Haganah were killed by the British.
The operation did not go as planned but something spectacular happened afterward. A huge number of people, almost 50000 people, attended their funeral of the dead members of the Haganah disregarding bad weather. BBC covered it and the support the members of the Haganah received from the Jewish community shocked the British government.
Establishment of the State of Israel
The same day when the British left David Ben Gurion declared the establishment of the State of Israel. He decided that the new Government will start functioning from Sarona. After the independence war, most of the government offices moved to Jerusalem. The first president of Israel moved to Sarona in 1949 and only after in 1952 when he died the Office of the President was moved to Jerusalem. The first President of the State of Israel worked from Sarona, and not from Jerusalem.
Army moves into Sarona
Once all the government offices were moved to Jerusalem, the Israel government decided to move the headquarters of the army to Sarona. Certain offices of the army are still functioning at the northern part of Sarona.
aircrafts were assembled in the templer winery
When the British left, they had some
They moved the parts of