On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel and the 50th anniversary of Israel’s Labor Party, the Berl Katznelson Foundation recently published, The Book of Declarations of the Poalei Eretz Yisrael Party which contains 26 Mapai posters from the 1940s and 1950s. Most of the posters shown in the book were created to express praise in the construction, defense and immigration activities carried out by the ruling Mapai Party. They were hung up on billboards in the cities, kibbutzim and moshavim, as well as at bus stops. Posters played an important role in shaping public opinion and mobilizing voters before elections, especially Israel’s first Knesset elections in 1948, 1951 and 1955. Prominent illustrators and graphic designers were engaged – the brothers Gabriel and Maxim Shamir were hired to create the Israel Coat of Arms, and Otte Wallish was responsible for the calligraphy and design of the scroll for Israel’s Declaration of Independence and the country’s first postage stamps. “Then, unlike today, posters were works of art. They didn’t resemble advertisements for cigarettes,” says the editor of the book, Adam Raz, a historian, who is the educational coordinator at the Berl Katznelson Foundation. “We’re currently trying to make these posters accessible to the public to restore the old glory. There’s no reason for them to waste away in a dusty old storage cabinet or be taken by private collectors. These posters belong to the public.“These movements wanted to strengthen the status of women in Israel and to involve them in the political process,” continues Raz. “There were many countries around the world in the 1950s in which women did not play much of a role in the political process. From the outset, Zionism pushed for equality between the sexes.”Rina Ben Shahar, a professor of language at the University of Haifa and Oranim Academic College of Education, noticed that these posters display a complete absence of humor. “In contrast to today, you also didn’t see any word games or puns used in them that could have attracted the attention of passersby. The old posters repeatedly used simple words in large letters to describe the party’s values, such as pioneering, vision, action, faith, mission, building and work.”Translated by Hannah Hochner.