BUILDING AND AGRICULTURE
Working the land and building the Yishuv were central to the ethos of early Zionism.
Men working a field in 1932. Daniel Kaplan, Israel Government Press Office
Building Tel Aviv Gymnasium (high school). Central Zionist Archives
The plow breaks through. Central Zionist Archives
Men constructing a “tower and stockade” (homa u-migdal) settlement. Central Zionist Archives
Renewing the Hebrew language was a central project of early Zionism, and Hebrew writers were widely revered as the voices of a reemerging nation.
Learn Hebrew! Central Zionist Archives
The purple 50 nis bill featured Shai Agnon, Israel’s first Nobel Laureate. © 2014 The Bank of Israel
Agnon was later replaced on the 50 nis bill, but by another writer, the poet Saul Tchernichovsky. © 2014 The Bank of Israel
Eliezer Ben-Yehuda surrounded by books. Central Zionist Archives
Hayim Nachman Bialik at his desk. Central Zionist Archives
Illegal immigration—in defiance of British restrictions—was critical in the early years, both to save Jews fleeing Europe as well as to amass a population sufficient for creating a viable state.
British soldiers carefully watch a ship approaching with illegal immigrants. Central Zionist Archives
Pulling an immigrant boat into shore. Central Zionist Archives
Immigrants arrive on boat. Central Zionist Archives
This Zionist poster shows a “new” muscular Jew helping European Jewish survivors reach shore. Central Zionist Archives
IMAGES OF THE NEW JEW
Early Zionism was focused on the creation of a “new Jew” who, unlike the Jews of Europe, could shape his or her own future. These early Zionist posters illustrate the focus on the new, muscular Jew, and weave together images of Jews who both work the land and defend it.
Join the Army! Central Zionist Archives
Rifle and Hammer. Central Zionist Archives
Redemption of Nation and Humankind. Central Zionist Archives
Shoulder to Shoulder Gun and Shovel. Central Zionist Archives
Israel’s independence was seen as one of the most transformative moments in all of Jewish history.
David Ben-Gurion just moments before declaring the new state on May 14, 1948. Frank Shershel, Israel Government Press Office
A tally sheet the Zionist delegation used at the UN during the vote on Partition (later signed by many dignitaries). Israel State Archive
Crowds celebrate and dance in Palestine after the vote. Central Zionist Archives
A telegram from Chaim Weizmann to President Harry Truman pleading for his help in ensuring that the motion for Partition would pass. Courtesy of Yad Chaim Weizmann, The Weizmann Archives, Rehovot, Israel
PEOPLE WHO MADE IT HAPPEN
Among the shapers of Israel’s story were fascinating and passionate men and women, religious and secular Jews, scientists and generals, writers and politicians. They developed the ideas behind Zionism, advocated for the movement in international circles, built Israel’s democracy and infrastructure, led its military and turned from enemies of Israel to peacemakers. These are but a few of the most central figures.
Theodor Herzl visits Palestine. The tuxedos illustrate the chasm between Herzl’s imagination the realities of Palestine. Israel Government Press Office
Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook meets with nonreligious Jews. Central Zionist Archives
Golda Meir addresses members of the Histadrut labor union. Zoltan Kluger, Israel Government Press Office
Dr. Chaim Weizmann and Lord Arthur Balfour. Central Zionist Archives
Menachem Begin beside a photo of his political nemesis, David Ben-Gurion. Joseph Roth, Israel Government Press Office
Yitzhak Rabin and his peace partner, King Hussein of Jordan. Ya’acov Sa’ar, Israel Government Press Office
Yitzhak Rabin, Hosni Mubarak, King Hussein, and Bill Clinton putting on their ties as Yasser Arafat watches. White House Photographer Israel Government Press Office
Ariel Sharon, though long a warrior and politician, always saw himself as a farmer. © 2016 Gideon Markowicz/Flash90
IMMIGRATION AND ETHNICITIES
Israel was built in large measure by successive waves of immigrants, bringing to the Jewish State Jews from all over the world.
Operation Magic Carpet brings Yemenite Jews to Israel. © 2016 courtesy of the JDC
Ethiopian Aliyah. © 2016 FLASH90
Survivors of Buchenwald concentration camp arrive in Israel. Yad Vashem