Ironi Alef High School

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Ironi Alef High School (Hebrew: תיכון עירוני א'‎), previously Gymnasia Balfour (Hebrew: גימנסיה בלפור‎), is a famous high school located in Tel Aviv, Israel.[1]


Gymnasia Balfour[edit]

The Gymnasia Balfour was founded in 1931 by Alexander Koler as a private gymnasium, Real Balfour Gymnasia (Hebrew: הגימנסיה הריאלית בלפור‎). Koler decided to build the gymnasium similar in spirit to those in Europe which would provide its students education in Hebrew that would allow them to enter a university. He had previously managed a government-run gymnasium in Galicia (modern-day Poland). The school was situated on Mazeh Street in Tel Aviv, near the water tower. Koler carefully chose the teachers for the school – most of whom were immigrants from Eastern Europe whom he knew personally from his days in Poland. In addition to general curriculum, selective students were given an opportunity to partake in a business school. These students did not continue their extended studies in English, Hebrew and mathematics.

The school quickly developed into a very prestigious and selective institution, providing the highest levels of education in the country. The school became a Jewish cultural with national values. Due to its great success, Koler founded a second school in Ramat Gan called Ohel Shem.

In 1935, Paul Rieger took over as the head of the school until 1943. During those years Rieger had significant influence on the school. Rieger improved, the teaching methods were improved, which increased the level of education. The results were evident in the significant increase in the number of applicants. After a number of years, Rieger left to head Levinsky College of Education. He was succeeded by David Rachavi (Rakowitzki).

Ironi Alef[edit]

In July 1947 the school discontinued its private operations and was sold to the Tel Aviv municipality.[2] It had since been renamed to Ironi Alef High School (Hebrew: תיכון עירוני א‎).[2] Even after becoming a public school, the school maintained its prestigious standing. After its sale to the Tel Aviv municipality and after and during the first few years after the creation of Israel the school continued to operate by David Rachavi at its previous address. The school was than relocated to Shprintsak Street in Tel Aviv. Dr. Joseph Fried replaced Rachavi from 1963 until 1975. In 1976 he was succeeded by David Ben-Zvi until 1980.

Due to demographic changes in Tel Aviv and the aging population around the school, the school saw a decline in the number of students. This led to an initiative by Ilana Minkin, the director of the school from 1981 until 2000, to establish an art school as part of the school. The initiative corresponded well with its location, next to institutions like the Habima Theatre and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. The move proved to be successful, increasing the number of students and producing many notable artists such as Maor Cohen, Rami Heuberger, Erez Tal, and Danielle Wircer.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ Giveon Cornfield; Giveon Cornfield (2013). Zion Liberated. Xlibris Corporation. p. 52. ISBN 9781483634654.[self-published source]
  2. ^ a b "בוגרי תיכון עירוני א' בת"א חוגגים הערב 20 שנה למוסד" (in Hebrew). Ma'ariv. June 30, 1966. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Grapevine: An unparalleled friendship". The Jerusalem Post. July 10, 2007. Retrieved 25 January 2014.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°4′17.14″N 34°47′2.45″E / 32.0714278°N 34.7840139°E / 32.0714278; 34.7840139