Sirlaugh’s Blog

August 12, 2009

LIFE in Israel in 1948 – Part 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — sirlaugh @ 3:41 pm

LIFE in Israel in 1948 – Part 1

by Ben Atlas on July 2, 2009

I continue to research the vast collection of photos from the LIFE Magazine. I sort the photos by a photographer or event, etc. In this post I want to curate the 1948 photos from Israel.

Jewish girl, Rachel Levy, 7, fleeing from street w. burning bldgs. as the Arabs sack Jerusalem after its surrender. May 28, 1948. John PhillipsJewish girl, Rachel Levy, 7, fleeing from street w. burning bldgs. as the Arabs sack Jerusalem after its surrender. May 28, 1948. John Phillips

1948israel3Jewish families leaving the old city through Zion’s Gate. June 1948. John Phillips
Jewish families being evacuated from city. June 1948. John PhillipsJewish families being evacuated from city. June 1948. John Phillips
Egyptian plane shot down on Tel Aviv beach. May 1948. Frank ScherschelEgyptian plane shot down on Tel Aviv beach. May 1948. Frank Scherschel
Sandbagging in Tel Aviv. JUne 1948. Frank ScherschelSandbagging in Tel Aviv. June 1948. Frank Scherschel
Arab refugees on a dock. Hafia, Israel, May 1948, John PhillipsArab refugees on a dock. Hafia, Israel, May 1948, John Phillips
Two Rabbis conference with Jordanin Solgiers. June 1948. John PhillipsTwo Rabbis conference with Arab Legion soldiers. June 1948. John Phillips

There is a wide patch on the right cheek of the Sephardi Rabbi, he must have been hit in the face. Please identify these Rabbis?

Sephardic Rabbi bringing terms of surrender of the Jewish quarter in Jerusalem to Jordanian Soldiers. June 1948. John PhillipsSephardic Rabbi discussing terms of surrender of the Jewish quarter in Jerusalem with Arab Legion Soldiers. June 1948. John Phillips
Jewish boy eating matzos, Jerusalem, June 1948, John PhillipsJewish boy eating matzos, Jerusalem, June 1948, John Phillips
1948israel11Jewish soldiers being guarded by Arab Legion soldiers after their surrender in Jerusalem. June 1948. John Phillips
Captured Jewish soldier sitting between two members of the Arab Legion. Jerusalem, Israel. June 1948. John PhillipsCaptured Jewish soldier sitting between two members of the Arab Legion. Jerusalem, Israel. June 1948. John Phillips

Frank Adam comments: Another useful detail in the seated three men photo:Jewish prisoner in pukka Brit shorts and two Arab Legion guards. The corporal on the viewer’s right is a negro. So? The nearest negroes to the Holy Land are in Sudan (deeply south from Egypt) or escaped slaves from Saudi Arabia. Either way he is an immigrant to the region which is one in the eye for the Arab complaint about Zionist Jews being immigrants.

This also illustrates the crafty recruitment of the Arab Legion any number were recruited from outside Jordan in southern Syria, Lebanon, (Saudi, Iraq) and Palestine as commonly taken to be the entire country West of the River J. This profile of personnel being foreign mercenaries were utterly dependent on their engagement & utterly loyal, but Glubb Pasha also realised that he would have less trouble to police by securing the consent of the desert tribes to his operations and recruited from them in balance pro rata to the size of each tribe which in the situation of nomadic pastoralists not averse to smuggling and theft in a subsistence society of who owes and owns whom amounted to representation and committment to the regime of the incipient Jordanian state. It was not so obvious nor institutionalised as the Indian Army system of ethnic regiments and companies with a company or two of different ethnicit(ies) in each regiment, but it was nevetheless political balancing of the grass roots.

Major James M. Hankin Turvin speaking with Lt. Abdallah Mogely. Israel 1948, John PhillipsMajor James M. Hankin Turvin speaking with Lt. Abdallah Mogely. Israel 1948, John Phillips
Arab soldier standing guard in the Jewish qarter in Jerusalem. June 1948. John Phillips.Arab Legion soldier standing guard in the Jewish quarter in Jerusalem. June 1948. John Phillips.

Frank Adam comments:  the status & responsibility of client state troops is politcally nice. The Arab Legion was British equipped, trained and had a lot of British field officers (majors & colonels) and its commander all, “on contract,” or, “secondment.” In 1920 – 46 it was the originally gendarmerie desert patrol force of the Emirate of Transjordan which the British had created within the Eastern part of the Palestine Mandate. In English English, “gendarmerie” is a nationally organised, armed but police force at the direction of civil power, local and central (state troopers in US?). Britain audited TJ’s books ie approved the budget, and supplied quite a few senior civil officers all supervised by a Resident who reported to the High Commissioner in Jerusalem his immediate local senior, and directly to the Colonial Office, London. So in the 1941 Iraqi campaign and for internal security ie guard duties in Palestine 1945-47 inclusive, the Arab Legion was available (from ‘46, turning itself into an “army”) to the British commander in Palestine or Iraq as another British unit – having formally asked for their service through usual channels from the Transjordanian government which was internally fairly independent – or had to be treated as such to keep up appearances and so political effectiveness. In 1946 the British signed a treaty with Transjordan to become the Kingdom of Jordan and so strictly an ally, rather than a dependent territory – but it depended on a pa sub of £4 ($11) million from London till the 50’s when Hussein fired Glubb and the US after ‘56 gradually substituted for UK as it frequently has across the World since 1945, but in its own variations of retired officers on contract in Kossovo Iraq and other locations.

Nevertheless there are press photos of Legionaries on duty in Jerusalem’s “Bevingrad” in ‘46-’47 as it was Bevin’s initial policy that the Arab parts of Palestine would go in with Jordan – by one of his remarks. Eventually the Jordanian Government withdrew the Legion by early ‘48 from West of the Jordan entirely, till Abdullah invaded Palestine in May ‘48. By the memoirs and statements of the time any British seconded officers had returned to their own British units or were kept East of the Jordan, but there were still some contract officers in the force across the River.

Just in case this all sounds ad hoc if not outright louche, it is the stuff of British avoidance of systematic big thinking and as a defence measure in the 1941 “flap” when it looked as if Rommel might break through Egypt, the British incorporated the Palestine Police – a civilian formation albeit armed – into the British Army. As such it sent a detachment to march in the victory parade in London.

Arab Legionnaires fight from walls of Jerusalem, May 1948. John PhillipsArab Legionnaires fight from walls of Jerusalem, May 1948. John Phillips
1948israel15Two Israely soldiers. May 1948. Frank Scherschel
llegal Jewish immigrants aboard captured refugee ship surrounded by British troops who halted the craft shortly before the official creation of the state of Israel. Haifa 1948. Dmitri KesselIllegal Jewish immigrants aboard captured refugee ship surrounded by British troops who halted the craft shortly before the official creation of the state of Israel. Haifa 1948. Dmitri Kessel

Fran Adam Commenst: The half platoon of helmeted British troops on the quay waiting for the illegal immigrants to (be?) disembarked are Parachute Regiment. The giveaway is – unlike the usual British “battle bowler” souplate design from the 14-18 trench war – the brimless helmet developed for airborne units (2 divisions in ‘44 – ‘45) not to catch the door in the jump, or slipstream. Later a lot of them went to the navy for similar reasons of warship constricted passages and hatches. There is a third design in which the brim angle is not pressed so it has a parabolic outline which served from 43-44 (till GRP – glass reinforced plastic ie kevlar brimless took over in the 70’s because APC’s -armoured personnel carriers are also cramped). The purpose of the broad but parabolic third design which can be seen in the second lot of photos was it protected the neck when on lying the ground as it was impossible to wear jauntily with the chinstrap behind the head.

Refugees on captured ship. Dmitri KesselRefugees on captured ship. Dmitri Kessel
Jewish Refugees from illegal ship. 1948. Dmitri KesselJewish Refugees from illegal ship. 1948. Dmitri Kessel
Elderly Jews going to Zion's Gate evacuation the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem. June 1948. John PhillipsElderly Jews going to Zion’s Gate evacuating the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem. June 1948. John Phillips
The Legion having a Banquet dinner. April 1948. John PhillipsThe Legion having a Banquet dinner. April 1948. John Phillips
Arab refugees crowding a British ship carrying them to Acre. May 1948. John PhillipsArab refugees crowding a British ship carrying them to Acre. May 1948. John Phillips
Haganah Solgiers. May 1948. Frank ScherscheHaganah Soldiers. May 1948. Frank Schersche
View of Haifa from Mt. Carmel in June 1948. Frank ScherschelView of Haifa from Mt. Carmel in June 1948. Frank Scherschel

The next two photographs are remarkable. I found them in the different parts of the archive. It occurred to me to compare the architectural elements, the stair, the window openings, etc. This is before and after of the same place!

Jewish families waiting outside their homes to be evacuated by Arab troops. Jerusalem, Israel. June 1948. John PhillipsJewish families waiting outside their homes to be evacuated by Arab troops. Jerusalem, Israel. June 1948. John Phillips
Rubble lying in the streets after Arab looting of Jewish homes. Jerusalem. June 1948. John PhillipsRubble lying in the streets after Arab looting of Jewish homes. Jerusalem. June 1948. John Phillips
Looting of the Jewish Jerusalem, John Phillips. Jume 1948Looting in burning Jerusalem, John Phillips. June 1948
Jewish people attempting to leave portion of city surrendered to Arab forces. Jerusalem, Israel. June 1948. John PhillipsJewish people attempting to leave portion of city surrendered to Arab forces. Jerusalem, Israel. June 1948. John Phillips
International Red Cross employees helping Jewish refugees. Jerusalem, Israel. June 1948. 	John PhillipsInternational Red Cross employees helping Jewish refugees. Jerusalem, Israel. June 1948. John Phillips
People along the waterfront watching an air raid. May 1948. Frank ScherschelPeople along the waterfront watching an air raid. May 1948. Frank Scherschel
Elderly Jewish man sitting in street after surrender of city. Jerusalem, Israel. June 1948. John PhillipsElderly Jewish man sitting in street after surrender of city. Jerusalem, Israel. June 1948. John Phillips
Arabs evacuating the village of Zenin. May 1948. John PhillipsArabs evacuating the village of Zenin. May 1948. John Phillips
Women and children refugees evacuating the village of Zenin. May 1948. John PhillipsWomen and children refugees evacuating the village of Zenin. May 1948. John Phillips
British Marines guarding a deserted street of HaifaBritish Marines guarding a deserted Arab street of Haifa. May 1948. John Phillips
Israeli SolgierIsraeli Soldier. May 1948. Frank Scherschel
Jews take over as British Mandate ends. May 1948. Frank ScherschelJews take over as British Mandate ends. May 1948. Frank Scherschel
Israeli men celebrate the end of the British Mandate. May 1948. Frank ScherschelIsraeli men celebrate the end of the British Mandate. May 1948. Frank Scherschel
Tel Aviv. May 1948. Frank ScherschelTel Aviv. May 1948. Frank Scherschel
Tel Aviv, Israel. 1948. Dmitri KesselTel Aviv, Israel. 1948. Dmitri Kessel
Girls bring trained in signal work at British detention camp. Cyprus. June 1948. 	Frank ScherschelGirls being trained in signal work at British detention camp. Cyprus. June 1948. Frank Scherschel
A British soldier sitting guard on a rooftop. (Is this Haruvah?). 1948. Dmitri KesselA British soldier sitting guard on a rooftop. 1948. Dmitri Kessel

Frank Adam comments: The British – Scots by his Tam O’Shanter hat style – soldier with Bren light machine gun on a roof is in front of the dome of the Tiferet Israel Synagogue, also known as the Nissan Bek after its original warden/sponsor. The dome of the Hurva reaches the walls/edges of its main structure and is not on a “drum.” Both synagogue outlines are easy to distinguish on learning this structural difference which is obvious when you look at the Old City from the walls or external viewing points. The Nissan Bek was on the Eastern edge of the Western hill of the old City now crowned with modern yeshiva buildings, while the Hurva is further West.

Arab soldier with rifle riding on a motorcycle. March 1948. John PhillipsArab soldier with rifle riding on a motorcycle. March 1948. John Phillips
A trampled tarbouche lying in the street which will be picked up as a trophy by the Jews. Zenin, Israel. May 1948. John PhillipsA trampled tarbouche lying in the street which will be picked up as a trophy by the Jews. Zenin, Israel. May 1948. John Phillips
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