Israeli history photo of the week: Building Ein Gev, 1937

JPost special feature: A Library of Congress collection of photographs that document Israel before the creation of the state.

September 1, 2011 12:22
1 minute read.
Ein Gev

Ein Gev black and white 311. (photo credit: American Colony-Jerusalem-Photo Dept.)


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The Library of Congress has recently digitalized a collection of over 10,000 photographs, taken by the "American Colony" in Jerusalem, a group of Christian utopians who lived in Jerusalem between 1881 and the 1940s. The photographers returned to the US, and bequeathed their massive collection to the Library of Congress in 1978. The collection includes Winston Churchill's visit to Jerusalem, Jewish expulsions from the Old City during Arab riots, and the building of Tel Aviv.

At the height of the 1936-1939 Arab Revolt in Palestine, rural Jewish communities were under attack from local Arab militias. Ambushes were constant threats on the roads. The Yishuv (the Jews of Eretz Yisrael prior to Israel's formation) was in danger of losing lands purchased and farmed, in some cases, for decades.

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In order to circumvent the British Mandate's restrictions on new Jewish construction and to challenge the Arab aggression, the Zionist pioneers devised Tower and Stockade - fortified settlement projects - which were built overnight as defensive posts. The 52 projects developed into agricultural communities. Most of the villages were kibbutzim or moshavim communal settlements.

One of the projects, the community of Ein Gev, is pictured here. Established in July 1937 on the eastern banks of the Sea of Galilee, Kibbutz Ein Gev was a frontline community, facing Arab attacks in the 1930s and 1948 war. Until the 1967 war, Ein Gev was constantly in the crosshairs of the Syrian army located on the Golan Heights above the kibbutz.

More photos can be viewed at

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