If you are interested in Zionist history and the rebirth of the State of Israel, stop in BenGurion House at 17 Ben-Gurion Boulevard. This was the home of David and Paula Ben-Gurion when he became Israel’s first prime minister.
This simple house contains more than 20,000 books in five languages, a testament to the breadth of this man’s mind. Also check out Independence Hall at 16 Rothschild Boulevard.
Here, David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the founding of the Jewish State on May 14, 1948 as the armies of five surrounding Arab countries prepared to invade and crush the fledgling state. Some days the museum closes as early as 2:00 p.m., so plan ahead, and reservations are now required.
You might get in without on a walk in basis, but no guarantee. Also near Tel Aviv University, you can visit the Palmach Museum, which tells the history of this pre-State militia affiliated with the leftist Labor Zionist movement.
Note: advance reservations are required. Tours are in Hebrew, but with Englishlanguage audio units provided. Like Bet Ha-t’fusot, this is not a museum of artifacts but of visual and auditory recreations of the experiences of one Palmach unit. While a tad over-the-top at times, I found it a powerful tribute to this force that played such a critical role in the fight for Israel’s independence—with an enormous casualty rate.
Apollonia National Park
not far north of Tel Aviv and its very upscale neighboring city Herzliya. After all my visits, I just discovered this place in March 2015, and it’s stunning. While the site has been populated and fortified off and on since Phoenician days the Crusader fortifications from 1101-1265 are the center of the national park today.
The physical setting, with the remarkable ruins perched atop the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean, is well worth a visit even irrespective of the sites impressive history. There are now very accessible paths for people with mobility limitations, a relativity new development at antiquity sites, and Apollonia is a tad off the beaten path, not usually swarmed by tour buses.