Poster Calling For Ceasefire by Ichud, April 1948
This poster contains a statement calling for the residents of pre-State Israel, Jews and Arabs, to stop fighting and to join together to encourage peace and coexistence between Jews and Arabs. It was printed by an organization called Ichud, meaning union, in April of 1948, which was the height of the War of Independence, about a month before the declaration of the State of Israel.
In the illustration in the centre of the poster stand two men, a Jewish and an Arab farmer. They are talking and holding hands. Both hold shears, hinting at the verse from the Book of Isaiah “and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore”(Isaiah 2:4). Weapons lay scattered at the men’s feet, and the burning homes behind them depict the outcome of war.
The headline of the poster is “Cease Fire!” At the side of the illustration is a text explaining the poster’s purpose and the Ichud organisation’s viewpoint. This poster is written in Hebrew but states that it has been printed and distributed in both Hebrew and Arabic. The poster states that despite the fact that many oppose their beliefs, many silently agree that the bloodshed must be stopped and efforts made to strengthen the coexistence between Jews and Arabs. At the beginning of the text it is written that the advertisement was published “despite opposition from certain circles.” This opposition was for various reasons. Among Jews, some believed that the Land of Israel rightfully belonged only to the Jewish people, while others believed that the Arabs had a right to land but coexistence was not possible. On the Arab side, many did not accept the Jews’ right to the land.
Tension between Jews and Arabs had been growing since the Balfour Declaration in 1917. Between 1936 and 1939, Arab communities in Mandate Palestine rebelled against the British and against the influx of Jewish immigrants. By 1948, these growing tensions were reaching a boiling point which propelled the War of Independence leading to Israel’s creation.
It is no coincidence that this poster was published on April 20, 1948, the day on which the Haganah secured control of the Jerusalem Road after a bloody battle and much warfare. The promise by Ichud not to give up on coexistence in the Land of Israel was meant to be communicated even during the hardest of times.
Ichud was deeply committed to peace between Jews and Arabs. They advocated for a binational state. The poster states that both Jews and Arabs truly wished to stop the bloodshed but could not due to fear. Many famous and influential people supported Ichud and its goals, among them Judah Leon Magnes, Martin Buber, Hugo Bergmann, Gershom Scholem, and Henrietta Szold. The poster proclaims: “We will not be silent, we will continue our work for peace in spite of everything!”
Jewish History teachers can use this poster to present the different political views at the time of the War of Independence. It can also be integrated into units about the history of peace negotiations in Israel.
This poster can also be used in Jewish Studies or Bible lessons as a depiction of the verse in Isaiah 2:4 “and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”
Media Studies teachers can use this as an example of the use of biblical references in advertising.
What is the headline of the poster?
Who published it?
When and where was this poster made?
What was the situation in Israel at the time?
Can you find the exact date of publication?
What happened on this day?
Describe the illustration.
Who do the people represent?
What are they doing?
What is in the background? What is happening?
Read the translation of the text and summarise it in your own words.
Reading Between the Lines
What was the ideology of the creators of this poster?
What was their vision for the Land of Israel?
How does the illustration hint at their hopes?
On the poster it is written:
“This advertisement has been published...despite opposition from certain circles.”
Who do you think opposed the advert and why?
According to this poster, why haven’t more people joined Ichud publicly?
How do you think the Jewish community and the Arab community each responded to this advert?
Pacifism is the opposition to any type of war, militarism, or violence.
Do you think this poster expresses pacifism?
Do you agree with the message of this poster?
Do you think a poster with a message like this is still relevant for Israel in the twenty-first century?
Can you think of another place in the world that could benefit from a ceasefire?
Who is involved in the fighting?
What are they fighting over?
Do you think an advertisement like this could help?
Create a poster promoting peace between Arabs and Jews using canva.com
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To all inhabitants of the Holy Land!
Join us in our work for the sake of peace of honour, agreement, and coexistence between Jews and Arabs in the Land of Israel!
This advertisement has been published in Hebrew and Arabic and placed in the streets of the Land of Israel despite opposition from certain circles who wish to hide the truth from the public so that it will not understand and criticise.
We know that this advertisement has reached the masses and influenced them.
And it is no wonder, that they express the true desire, the will of the masses of Jews and Arabs in the land who wish for an immediate stop to the bloodshed in peace and agreement for the continuation of peaceful cooperation for the good of all the country.
They are only still silent today out of fear!
We will not be silent!
We will continue our work for peace in spite of everything!
The enemies of peace should be ashamed, and true peace will come for us and our children forever!
Ichud Society, 11 Nissan 1948, April 20,1948