The Jewish bourgeoisie which started to develop in the middle of the 19th century left the traditional Jewish quarters and found a new residential area. This area was the southern coast and hills of the gulf which is now the Mithatpasa Street. When the need for prayer of the Jewish population which gradually increased in this area could not be satisfied by the existing synagogues, an application was filed with Sultan Abdulhamid II in order to build a new and larger synagogue.
Upon the Sultan’s edict, the construction Bet Israel Synagogue started on 15th March 1905 and it was opened to prayer in 1907. However, economic distress delayed the completion of its internal decoration and the synagogue took its present state in 1950.
Bet Israel is the largest and most magnificent synagogue of Izmir and religious marriage ceremonies usually take place here. The building style and sitting order of the synagogue are different from the conventional Izmir style and it was not constructed with a central plan. There has been a double Tevah application from the beginning. Due to the position of the building plot, Ehal Ekodesh has been placed in the southern wall but not in the eastern wall. Therefore, prayer is said turning toward the eastern wall. It was thought to cover the synagogue with a large dome, but due to economic distress, it has been covered by a small dome.
The woodwork of Bet Israel Synagogue was performed by the use of massive mahogany by the Italian master workers and is reminiscent of Italian synagogues. Bet Israel Synagogue is two-storied. While the downstairs is reserved for the men, the upstairs has been built as the women’s section. At present, the upstairs houses a small exhibition hall consisting of religious objects, documents and photographs. The synagogue is located in the Mithatpasa Street at Karatas.