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At the Begining

​​The first flag

As appropriate for the first immigration (Aliya Rishona) Moshava, where the foundation stones were laid for the existence of the people int its renewing country, the city retains its history, which is intertwined with the history of the State of Israel. As a city, whose ancestors have designed the Israeli spirit, the values of education, language and assets of permanent value, established in its borders, continue to be sanctified.

Israel Belkind, the Bilu’im leader in the Moshava, and Fanny Meirovitch, 'daughter of the founder Ze'ev Abramovitch', were the creators of the world’s first blue and white flag with a Magen David) the Star of David (. The flag was first designed and hoisted on the birthday of the Moshava Rishon LeZion on 27 July 1887.


The first anthem

The "HaTikvah" anthem was created in Rishon LeZion. Its lyrics, in nine stanzas, were first devised in 1877 in Romania by Naftali Hertz Amber. Shmuel Cohen, a young farmer from Rishon LeZion, adapted in 1887 a melody to the lyrics, whereas the teachers at the first Hebrew school, Mordechai Lubman, David Yudelovitch, Israel Belkind and Yehuda Leib Matmann Cohen, made some amendments. In 2004, after 117 years since it was first sung in Rishon LeZion, the Knesset enacted the "HaTikvah" as the national anthem.

First in education 

In 1887, the "Haviv" elementary school was established in Achad Ha'Am Street in Rishon LeZion; the first school in Israel and the world where all subjects were studied and taught in Hebrew. The study texts in Hebrew were written by the teaching staff, including Mordechai Lubman, who wrote nature books, David Yudelovitch, who documented issues in Geography and Eliezer Ben Yehuda, who composed the "Chronicles of Israel" for the students. Thus began the Hebrew education in Israel. Haviv School continues to operate from its location in Achad Ha'am Street, and while continuing to advance and progress, it continues to preserve the heritage from which it stems.


First in music

The "Rishon LeZion Orchestra " was established in 1895, playing its pleasant melodies at the People's Hall [Beit Ha'am] as well as at the palm avenue and during receptions for dignitaries who came to the city, among them, Theodor Herzl, visited in 1898. In the 60's, Dan Almagor wrote the song "The Orchestra of Rishon". Today the orchestra has won a place of honor among orchestras and is considered one of the best in Israel. The Symphony Orchestra plays at the Heichal Hall, which is considered one of the finest in the country.

 

First for the people

Initiated and financed by the farmers of the Moshava, the first Hebrew Beit Ha'am (People's Hall) was inaugurated in Rishon LeZion in 1989. Beit Ha'am, which served as the home of the settlement committee, the orchestra and the local library, held reading evenings, lectures and concerts; the first Hebrew plays were shown, and parties were held. In 2000, Beit Ha'am underwent an extensive renovation. Today it continues to serve as an important cultural center, where meetings, poetry evenings and lectures are held, providing a unique addition to the diverse cultural events held in the city, offering alternatives for all ages and tastes.


First for children

In 1897, David Yudelovitch established the first Hebrew kindergarten, which was located in the basement of the synagogue at Rishon LeZion. The first Hebrew kindergarten teacher was Esther Shapira, a graduate of the Moshava school. Shapira studied and trained at the English kindergarten in the Evelina De Rothschild School in Jerusalem and knew her work well: "To make herself small so that the little ones in the first Hebrew kindergarten nowadays may understand her". Currently, promoting and developing education is at the top of municipal priorities in Rishon LeZion, in the belief that the key to building a better, higher-quality city lies in education – which begins with kindergarten.


First for women

Rishon LeZion was the first settlement in Israel to grant women the right to vote in 1919. In 1956, an important event occurred in Israel: Hannah Levin was the first woman elected to serve as mayor. Levin, who dedicated all her life to public activity, served as chairperson of the "Women's Zionist Organization" – WIZO. Upon the establishment of the State, she was appointed chief recruitment officer of the Women's Corps and was discharged with the rank of major. In 1956 she was elected mayor, holding the position until 1960. Within the framework of commemorating Hannah Levin's legacy, "International Woman's Day" in the city is marked by a women's conference, in cooperation with the Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women in the Prime Minister's Office. Within the framework of the conference the "Nachshonit Award" is granted to thosewomen who are first in their field, who work tirelessly for the benefit of the public