HaKirya, or The Kirya (Hebrew: הַקִּרְיָה, lit. The Campus), is an area in central Tel Aviv, containing the Tel-Aviv District government center and the major Israel Defense Forces base, Camp Rabin (Hebrew: מַחֲנֶה רַבִּין, Mahaneh Rabin), named for Yitzhak Rabin. It was one of the first IDF bases and has served as the IDF headquarters since its founding in 1948.
Much of the Kirya today is located on the lands of Sarona, a Templer settlement founded in the 19th Century. Sarona was an agricultural colony, and kept this nature despite the expansion of Tel Aviv and attempts by the city to buy some of Sarona's lands. In World War II, the British forces took control of Sarona and converted it into a prison camp for Germans. After the war, the German prisoners were deported, mostly to Australia, and Sarona became a British military and police base. The base was the site of the first ever unconcealed Haganah attack on a British installation.
The base was taken over by the Haganah on December 16, 1947, and renamed to Camp Yehoshu'a, after Yehoshu'a Globerman, who was killed near Latrun while returning from a mission to Jerusalem. It was the first independent Jewish military base in modern history. The base was dubbed HaKirya because it contained the government offices in Tel Aviv, the provisional capital of Israel at the time, until Jerusalem was secured and declared the capital. The Haganah and then Israel Defense Forces also used the Templer buildings as their first headquarters, including the headquarters of the Sherut Avir (later Israeli Air Force) and the Kiryati Brigade. The Givati Brigade was also founded at the base.
Over the years, the military base's land area has been decreasing, due to the high land value and sale to private companies, although the government retains many of its offices in the Kirya Tower in the southern Kirya. As of 2009 however, Camp Rabin remains the base with the largest amount of regular soldiers. In 2012, the IDF announced that they believe that, in the next war, HaKirya could be targeted by enemy GPS-guided missiles, in particular the M-300 missiles installed in Syria.
Geography and structures
The Kirya today consists of a northern section, used for the military base, and the southern, a business district mostly under construction as of 2008, which includes the Kirya Tower. These sections are separated by Kaplan Street. The military base is home to the Matcal Tower and Marganit Tower, and serves as the headquarters of the IDF's General Staff. From 1951 to 1998, the former new school of Sarona was home to a large birthing center (HaKirya Maternity Hospital), closed when the newer Lis Maternity Hospital was opened in the adjacent Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. The hospital building, erected by architect Theo Wieland as the new school in 1930 in Bauhaus style, was torn down in 2002 to give way for the Matcal Tower, however, its cornerstone box of documents was retrieved by Professor Reuven Peyser.
There are plans to evacuate parts of the northern section (military base), including the dining room, in favor of the Tel Aviv Light Rail and private development. Plans also exist to build five new towers in the base, including new structures for the Military Intelligence Directorate and Navy. In August 2013, The Tel Aviv Local Committee approved plans for the Keren Hakirya mixed use complex, composed of 80 and 50 story commercial towers, two 45 story residential towers, on a base consisting of a two story retail mall, at the intersection of Menachem Begin and Shaul HaMelech and Boulevards.
- Vilnay (1976), p. 1899
- Mann (2009), p. 157
- Mann (2009), p. 158
- Bamahane (3012th Edition): p. 7. November 20, 2009.
- The Kirya will be a target of opportunity in the next war Israel Defense, Amir Rapaport 21/2/2012
- Aharoni, Keren (2008-11-20). "The Ten Extinct Places of Tel Aviv". Mynet. Retrieved 2008-11-22. (Hebrew)
- Peter Lange, "Die Schriftrolle von Sarona", in: Warte des Tempels (year's issue No. 165; October 2009 ed.), pp. 151seq, here p. 151.
- "Rail Tracks Instead of Cakes: Dining Room in the Kirya to be Evacuated in Favor of Light Rail". Bamahane. 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2008-10-27. (Hebrew)
- "Kirya of the Future". Bamahane. 2007-08-01. Retrieved 2010-04-17. (Hebrew)