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March 16, 1973 - Image 53

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1973-03-16

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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March 16, 1973—Supplement to The Jewish News—Page 33

25 Years of Stamp Production in Israel

By SHLOMO SHAMGAR
Israel's postage stamps were born two days after the
proclamation of the state. Independence was declared
on Friday, May 14, 1948; on the Sabbath all post-offices
remained closed, but on Sunday morning, May 16, large
crowds, undeterred by the Egyptian bombs that had
rained exactly 24 hours earlier on Tel-Aviv, could be
seen patiently standing in line, waiting for the counters
to open for business under the new administration, in
order to buy the first Jewish stamps after 2,000 years"
as they were jocularly referred to.
`Hebrew Posts'
The joke contained more than a grain of truth,
since those nine stamps keenly awaited by collectors,
were featuring twothousand-year-old coins, from the
time of the Maccabean and Bar-Kochba revolts, thus
representing a fitting historical link between ancient
Jewish statehood and reborn Israel.
Incidentally, the first series did not mention "Israel"
at all. At the time the stamps were printed, no agreement
had been reached on how to name the as-yet-unborn
state. As a compromise, it was decided to have the in-
scription read "Hebrew Posts"—DOAR IVRI—under
which name these stamps have soared to philatelic fame
and fabulous prices. Indeed, those people that queued
up at Tel Aviv Central Post Office on May 16, 1968,
never regretted the amount they spent on stamps and
first-day-covers .
The same eagerness that marked the appearance of
the Doar Ivri set was to become typical of the public's
attitude toward all later issues.
Several factors have contributed to the excellent
reputation enjoyed by Israel's stamps, at a time when
most other countries have no qualms about exploiting the
world's collectors by putting out all-too-frequent high-
value issues that are not worth the paper they are
printed on.
"Do-It-Yourself"
In the first place, all of Israel's stamps are locally
produced. From the clandestine primitive press on which
the first stamps were manufactured to the modern equip-
ment of the Government Printer in Jerusalem, that today
carries out stamp-printing orders from many foreign
countries, runs a straight line of "do-it-yourself" and of
pride in our own gradually improving craftsmanship.
• Secondly, a firm policy of keeping the number of
issues per year within reasonable bounds was faithfully
adhered to throughout the years, coupled with a no less
consistent line of not putting into circulation printings
larger than absolutely necesary for postal purpose,
which the philatelic market would be unable to absorb.
Thirdly, the high quality of Israel's issues, from a
technical and graphic point of view, the constant search
for perfection. rewarded by numerous prizes won at in-
ternational competition and exhibitions, has put our
stamps in a category apart among the countries that
have attained political and philatelic independence in the
last quarter of a century. It should also be pointed out
that most of our stamps, with rare exceptions, were de-
signed by local talent and some of our artists have risen
to international fame as stamp-designers for countries
in other parts of the world.
Something to Say
Last but not least, Israel's stamps have always got
something to say and this may well be the main key to
their ever-increasing popularity among Jews and Christ-
ians alike.
Browsing through an album and looking at the hunk
dreds of items issued since 1948, one can easily classify
their principal tonics: Ingathering of the Exiles, national
development, history of the Jewish people and the Holy
Land and its monuments, defense and security, fauna
and flora, personalities famous in the arts and culture
etc., all of which have enjoyed world-wide appeal.
In addition to definitive sets that remain current

for a number of years (incidentally, there is no demone-
tization; all Israel stamps issued since 1948 remain valid
for postage), Israel produces regular traditional com-
memoratives for the High Holy Days, for Independence
and Memorial Days and, in recent years, is adding spe-
cial sets for the Sukkot, Pasover, Shavuot and Hanuka
holidays, which have religious as well as national signi-
ficance.
No Living Persons
Unlike other countries, Israel does not feature living
persons on her stamps and there is a marked reluctance
to portray even important figures of the past unless there
is real justification, like, for instance, the marking of
centenaries. Even though stamps are considered the most
persuasive ambassadors of any country, political propa-
ganda on our stamps is taboo. However, some Israeli
stamps, especially those dealing with freedom of immi-
gration, have in the past aroused the wrath of Com-
munist postal administration, who have sent back mail
franked with such "Zionist propaganda."
International Exhibition
Among the festivities of Israel's 25th anniversary
year, an international stamp exhibition — JEREX 73 —
will be held in Jerusalem in December 1973. It will be
the second to be held here, and one of the largest and
most ambitious ever, on an international scale.
It will certainly occupy a proud place as an event
that not only makes Israel the year's main host to the
world of stamp-collecting, but will also give her oppor-
tunity to present her past, present and future, her people,
her land, her history and her magnificent achievements
to many thousands of visitors from abroad—through
those colorful bits of paper that mean so much to so
many.
Incidentally, the first series did not mention "Israel"
at all. At the time the stamps were printed, no agree-
ment had been reached on how to name the as-yet-unborn
state. As a compromise, it was decided to have the
inscription read "Hebrew

SHALOM...

Hearty Greetings and

the Blessings of Our

Movement to Israel

and Its People .. .

Mizrachi-Hapoel FIa\Iizrachi
• takes pride in the quarter century
of its partnership in Israel's
uphuilding.

\lay the 25th Anniversary
of Israel he marked with new
hopes for peace and the faith
in Israel's continued progress.

DETROIT MIZRACHI
HAPOEL HA-MIZRACHI

Phillip Stollman. President

Zvi Tonikiewiez. Executive Director

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