70th Anniversary of the Bilu Settlers of Gedera, 1954
This poster from 1954 advertises a show honouring seventy years of the town of Gedera and its Bilu founders. The event, organized by the Ministry of Tourism and the Gedera local council, took place in Gedera’s amphitheatre. At the top of the poster, in between the English and Hebrew texts, is the symbol of Israel with the menorah surrounded by olive branches and the word Yisrael written in Hebrew underneath. The menorah symbolises the ancient temple, and the olive branches represent not only an important and common tree in Israel but also the hope for peace. The colours blue and white, similar to the flag of Israel, remind us of the colours of the tallit or prayer shawl.
The event advertised here was to take place during the festival of Sukkot and Simchat Torah. The show was put on by 150 children and adults from Gedera and was written by Aaron Ever-Hadani, a well-known playwright at the time. Following the performance, people were invited to dance to music played by the IDF Orchestra, conducted by Major Shalom Ronli-Riklis. At the bottom of the poster are listed ticket offices in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa, indicating that people were expected to come from all over the country to join the celebrations.
Gedara was established by the members of Bilu, a pioneer movement whose name was an acronym based on the verse "בית יעקב לכו ונלכה" O House of Jacob! Come, let us walk” (Isaiah 2:5). The verse refers to the primary goal of the Bilu pioneers, namely, to build up the Land of Israel. The land upon which Gedera was built was purchased from the French Consul in Jaffa and divided into twenty-five equal plots. On Chanuka 1884, the first settlers arrived in Gedera, lighting two bonfires in honour of the second day of the festival. They lived in a wooden shack and had a donkey, a gun, nine shovels, and a small amount of cash. In their first year they planted a vineyard that they called Moshe and Yehudit in honour of Sir Moses and Judith Montefiore. Lack of knowledge, experience, and resources and clashes with their Arab neighbours caused many hardships, but more new settlers slowly arrived, and Gedera developed into a modern town. Today, Gedera is home to approximately 26,000 residents. Unlike many of the other moshavot, which turned into large cities with large economies, Gedera remained a smaller town and does not attract employment – most residents work elsewhere. Tourists to the area can visit a museum of the history of Gedera and the Bilu founders, which includes a number of locations from the early settlement period such as the main street, the first synagogue, and an ancient well.
Jewish History teachers can use this poster to teach about the different Zionist groups that immigrated to Palestine such as the Bilu and Hovevei Zion.
Geography teachers can show this poster when teaching about Israel’s urbanisation and the development of the towns and cities in the centre of the country.
Teachers of Art or Media can analyse this poster as an example of advertisements from the mid-twentieth century, and create a poster advertising the same event marking Gedera’s 125th anniversary.
What is the purpose of this poster?
What languages are used in the poster?
What was the event celebrating?
Who was involved in planning and performing in the show?
What is the symbol at the top of the page?
What does it represent?
Reading Between the Lines
The poster is advertising the celebration honouring the seventieth anniversary of the Bilu settlement of Gedera.
Who were the Bilu pioneers?
What is the meaning of the word “Bilu”?
Where did they come from?
What was the organisation’s goal?
Members of the Bilu established the town of Gedera.
What challenges did they face?
How did they overcome these challenges?
Why do you think this poster was in two languages?
Who was the intended audience? What clues tell you this?
Look at the dates when the celebration was taking place. Why do you think the organizers of the event chose these dates?
The writer of the production was Aharon Ever-Hadani. Find out more about him here. Why do you think he would have been interested in writing this production?
This poster boasts many names known to Israelis at the time, including Major Shalom Riklis, conductor of the IDF Orchestra. Find out about his accomplishments here. Why would his presence at this celebration have been an attraction?
Imagine that you were an idealistic Zionist at the end of the nineteenth century.
Would you have wanted to settle in Gedera?
Why or why not?
Find out about Gedera today.
How has it changed since its early days?
Gedera has developed less than other moshavot established at the same time, such as Rishon Letzion and Petach Tikva. One reason might be its location.
Where is Gedera located? How far is it from Tel Aviv?
How is this connected to the development of Gedera?
Imagine that you work for the Ministry of Tourism and are looking to create an event to mark the 125th anniversary of Gedera.
What would the event include?
Which Israeli personalities or organisations would be involved?
Create an event invitation using Canva.