Political Poster Promoting Arab-Jewish Coexistence, 1949
To all the inhabitants of the Holy Land!
The view of the Ichud [Unity] movement : Stop hostilities!
Join us in our work for a peace of honour and Jewish-Arab agreement and partnership in the Land of Israel!
This message was published in Hebrew and Arabic and was posted in the streets of the cities of Israel despite the opposition of certain circles who wish to conceal the truth before the public, so that people do not reach their own understanding and criticism.
We know that the message has reached the masses and had an effect on them.
This is no coincidence, since it expresses the true desire, the desire of the masses of Jews and Arabs in the country who want an immediate cessation of bloodshed and instead peace, an agreement, and the continuation of their quiet and cooperative work for the benefit of the whole country.
Only from fear have they been silent today!
We will not be silent!
We will continue our work for peace despite everything!
The enemies of peace will cease and true peace will be for us and our children forever!
The Ichud Association
Jerusalem 11 Nisan 5708, 20.4.48
This is an announcement published by the Ichud Association in April 1948 at the height of the War of Independence. The declaration called upon all residents of the country to stop the fighting and to join the movement for peace and Jewish-Arab cooperation in the Holy Land. According to the writers, this was the desire of both Jews and Arabs alike.
In the centre of the notice is an illustration showing a Jewish farmer and an Arab peasant standing in the centre of the field talking and holding hands. Each of the peasants holds clippers in his hand, perhaps as an allusion to the verse from Isaiah 2: 4, “And they will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” Weapons are scattered on the ground, and the results of the war can be seen in the background, namely, houses on fire.
The notice is written in Hebrew, but it claims that copies were also published in Arabic. According to the announcement, “certain circles” are trying to prevent the message of peace from reaching the public. The Ichud movement believe that their message has, nevertheless, been heard and that the vast majority of Jews and Arabs want to stop the bloodshed and are continuing only due to their own inner fears. Despite this, the authors declare: “We will not remain silent, we will continue our work for peace, despite everything!”
The Ichud Association was an incarnation of the Brit Shalom movement, a movement that advocated a bi-national Arab-Jewish State in the Land of Israel. Among its supporters were Yehuda Leib Magnes, Martin Buber, Samuel Hugo Bergman, and Gershom Scholem.
Jewish History teachers can use this poster to discuss the different political Jewish organisations in in pre-state Israel and the different viewpoints about the Israeli-Arab conflict at the time.
In Sociology lessons this poster can be used to explore the wider topic of societies in times of war and how different factions choose to publicise their message.
In Bible lessons, the article can be used when discussing the prophecy in the book of Isaiah: “And they will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks.”
Describe this poster.
What language is the message written in?
In which other language did the message appear, according to the writers of the poster?
Look at the image.
Who are the two characters supposed to represent?
What is the message that the image is conveying?
Reading Between the Lines
The poster was published in April 1948.
What was happening in Israel at that time?
How do the illustrations support the message of the text?
The text says that people were too scared to stop the violence.
Why would this have been so?
The text states that “the notice was published despite the opposition of certain circles.”
Who do you think opposed and why?
How do you think the advertisement was accepted by the Jewish public and by the Arab public?
The Ichud movement was part of the activities of the Brit Shalom organisation.
What was Brit Shalom’s ideology?
Which famous Jewish figures belonged to this organisation?
To what extent does this notice support pacifism?
Is Judaism a pacifist religion?
Do you consider yourself a pacifist?
Why, in your opinion, did some circles in the Yishuv consider the Ichud Association to be non-Zionist?
Do you agree with this position?
How successful was this message in the long run?
There is still tension between different communities in Israel today (e.g., Arabs and Jews, secular Jews and religious Jews).
How do you think these different tensions could be eased?
Create a historical timeline of the Arab-Israel conflict.