A collection of 26 photographs designated to be printed by newspapers during Israel’s War of Independence was revealed this past week, with several of them capturing scenes that transpired on the Arab side of the war.
One photo depicts Arab troops at the port in Haifa surrendering to the Israel Defense Forces and Palyam (naval corps) soldiers, who were waving the Israeli and Navy flags at the port for the very first time. The Israeli fighters are also seen welcoming Israel’s founding father and first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion.
The collection of photos will be put up for public auction next week in the Kedem Auction House in Jerusalem.
Among other fascinating scenes depicted in this rare photo collection include an Egyptian war plane being downed on a beach in Tel Aviv; a photo of Jordanian King Abdullah I and the Iraqi Regent Abd al-Ilah in Oman dressed in military garb only several weeks before the Arab armies invaded the State of Israel; and an altered photo of propaganda appearing to show a Palmach soldier surrendering to Arab soldiers.
In actuality, the “Palmach soldier” was an Arab man dressed in an IDF uniform.
Jerusalem, which was under siege by Jordanian forces at the time, was in need of water, food, medicine and ammunition. Armored caravans carrying truckloads of equipment were dispatched to provide for residents.
Some of the photos show sabotage attempts by Arab attackers, including an image of an Arab guerrilla fighter ambushing Jewish caravan 8 kilometers southwest of Jerusalem on Mount Castel, and one of an Arab sharpshooter puncturing a water pipe that led to a Jewish community near Jerusalem. Arab women are also seen waiting on line in Jerusalem to receive rations of cooking oil.
Simultaneously in Haifa, the battle raged on for five months. As a mixed city under the British Mandate, the port in Haifa was one of the primary locations where Jews and Arabs worked side by side in relative harmony. Before the British ended the mandate, the Palmach had founded its naval corps under the command of Yohai Ben-Nun in an effort to ensure security for the port’s Jewish workers.
Meron Eren, co-owner of Kedem Auction House, which will be putting the photograph collection up for sale, said: “We were excited with this remarkably rare and valuable collection. We hope it will reach the right owners, who will put the photographs on exhibit in one of the many memorials or libraries documenting the history and achievements of the State of Israel in the years leading up to independence.”
In related news, a postcard written and signed by Ben-Gurion, just one day after officially declaring the State of Israel’s independence on May 14, 1948, was recently discovered.