Our War of Freedom, Ha’Aretz Shelanu, 1951
In the middle of the poster: Our War of Independence
From the upper right moving anti-clockwise:
Intelligence, courage, and love of freedom are the foundations of our struggle (on the wall of a military position in the Negev)
The end of the murderers’ hideout
Our fighters in an ambush between battles and on a march. They began the fight; now their wives and children pay with exile.
The British lower their final flag in our homeland.
The route to our capital is open.
The tank levels the way in the Negev.
The Egyptian spitfire has been shot down and here is the loot: a parachute and machine gun.
This is a series of photographs from the children’s newspaper, Ha’aretz Shelanu (Our Country) which was published prior to the third Independence Day in 1951. The series deals with the War of Independence and the IDF achievements in this war.
At the top of the page is an inscription from a combat post in the Negev: “Intelligence, courage, and love of freedom are the foundations of our struggle.” The other photographs focus on other elements of the war such as soldiers reopening the route to Jerusalem, the lowering of the final British flag still standing in Israel, tanks rolling through the Negev, Arab families leaving their homes, and soldiers fighting in various different places.
The display was intended as a souvenir pullout for children, perhaps to put on a wall or a display, and was designed to be a proud testament to the bravery of the soldiers. There are numerous references to “our country” and “our army,” probably an attempt to instill in the children a sense of pride.
History teachers can use this resource to focus on the different elements of the War of Independence, including the battles for Jerusalem and the Negev.
Sociology teacher can use this supplement to discuss the effects of battle on the wider population. The photograph also shows the evacuation of the Arab population during the war and can be used in a discussion of the different viewpoints regarding this issue.
What is the title of this newspaper page?
Describe the different scenes that appear in the photographs.
Who are the people?
Where are they?
What are they doing?
Where do these photographs appear?
Reading Between the Lines
These photographs appeared in the children’s newspaper in 1951.
What was happening in Israel at that time?
Why do you think these photographs were published?
The title of the article is “Our War of Independence.”
Why do you think the editors chose this title?
Why does the text refer to the IDF as “our army”?
What is the overall message of the display of photographs?
Why is a photograph of Arab families leaving their homes included in this page?
What is the message of the text in the image on the upper right corner?
Imagine that you were living in 1951.
How would you have felt when you saw these photographs?
Choose the photograph that most moved or interested you.
Explain your choice.
One of the photographs shows the evacuation of an Arab family from their home in Israel. The caption is: “They began the fight; now their wives and children pay with exile.”
What do you think about this statement?
Have you ever seen any physical reminders of the battles of the War of Independence when visiting Israel? (Hint: think about the main roadfrom Tel Aviv to Jerusalem).
What was the reaction of the Arab countries to their defeat?
Has that reaction changed in subsequent years?
Despite the many years since the War of Independence, 18-year-old Israelis still have to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces.
Interview someone from your family or friends who has served in an army?
If they fought in a war, how did they feel on their return home?
Design a souvenir poster to celebrate 70 years of the State of Israel.
Organise a debate in your class regarding the “exile” of the Arab citizens from their homes in Israel.
Was this justified?
Should steps be taken to allow these Arab citizens to return to their homes?