During the second half of the 19th century millions of Jews chose to leave countries where they had lived for a thousand years. A majority sailed to North America, but some idealistic and religious Jews immigrated to the Holy Land to participate in the Jewish national renaissance to create a Jewish economy based on agriculture and eventually lay the foundation for a Jewish state. They are called the FirstAliyah, to differentiate them from the socialist immigrants who followed them a generation later. Rishon was founded by members of Hovevei Zion from the Ukraine and Bilu pioneers on land purchased from the Arab village of Ayun Kara. If you want to take a peek at the fulfilment of this dream you should come to tourist Rishon Lezion (Isaiah 41:27).
Rothschild Pedestrian Mall
The main street is named after Baron Edmond Rothschild who came to the aid of the pioneer settlement by funding the digging of the life saving well.
Colony Garden (Gan HaMoshava)
First Aliyah villages all created gardens, perhaps under the leadership of Baron Rothschild’s French settlement managers.
The historic city hall near the well and the garden.
Museum of Rishon LeZion
Authentic pioneer homes have been renovated and transformed into a very cute museum which gives you a chance to feel as if you were there when they lived here. This is not a model, but the real thing! Exhibits are open Sun/Tues/Wed/Thurs: 09:00-14:00. Mon: 09:00-13:00, 16:00-19:00 Address: 2 Ahad Ha-am St. (Kikar Ha’meyasdim). Tel: 03-9598862,03-9598890
Diligence Stage Coach
Rishon Lezion pioneered coach travel between the Jewish settlements and the main city in Jaffa.
The museum shows you how the first settlers lived.
As you can see the original First Aliyah settlers were mostly Orthodox Jews. However in the multi-media movie in the Yosef Feinberg Colony Well Sound and Light Show the pioneers look like modern Israelis.
First Jewish Flag
This is the flag of Rishon Lezion. Note that it has four stripes. Michael Halperin’s flag in Ness Ziona with only two wider blue stripes became the model for the flag of the Zionist Movement.
Clothing in Rishon Lezion
This is a beautiful exhibition.
Professions in Rishon Lezion
Yosef Feinberg Colony Well (Be’er HaMoshava)
You should view the Yosef Feinberg Colony Well Sound and Light Show near by.
Haviv School – the first Hebrew speaking school – in Rishon
This unique photo compares the school as it is today with a photo of the original school building. In the Haviv School, teachers not only had to teach, but they created new Hebrew words (based on ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic and common sense) for tools and terms that did not exist at the time of the Bible.
The Great Synagogue
Built by Baron Rothschild. Very similar to the Great Synagogue in Zichron Yaakov
Carmel Mizrachi Wineries
The first thing that comes to my mind when you say “Rishon Lezion” is wine. Yes, vineyards became one of the main products of the new Jewish farmers of the Zionist movement. Wine had been deleted from agriculture since the Muslim conquest. Crusaders would grow grapes and drink wine, but Arabs would not. So the Zionist movement had to recreate this industry. Grapes and Jaffa oranges strengthened the economy of this new settlement.
This is the first winery in Israel. Tours are available for groups of 10 – 20 people. Winery tours are held from Sunday to Friday but prior arrangements are required.
The Rishon Lezion “Orchestra”
This popular parody on the make-shift “orchestra” of Rishon Lezion’s pioneers.
Shvil HaRishonim (the Founders Trail) in Rishon LeZion
Follow the Yellow Brick Wall to the tourist sites of Rishon Lezion.