Some Of The Most Fascinating Photos From Israel’s War Of Independence


Yesterday we celebrated Israel’s Independence Day (Yom Ha’atzmaut), which commemorates the Israeli Declaration of Independence on 14th May, 1948 (we celebrate according to the Hebrew date).

While it is a joyous occasion, some may forget that after the British Mandate was officially terminated the very next day and the State of Israel came into being, neighboring Arab states including Egypt, Jordan and Syria, invaded and attacked. And while we prevailed, there was a heavy cost: 6,373 of our people (about 1% of its population at the time) were killed (including around 2,000 Holocaust survivors), and 1,500 Jewish inhabitants were expelled from the Old City of Jerusalem (we returned only after recapturing it in the Six Day War 19 years later).

Here are some of the most remarkable photos taken during this war.

Officer in charge of Chen women’s corps training base demonstrates use of rifle. (AP)
During the War of Independence, 1948, a woman receives basic training in grenade throwing (David Rubinger).
Hasidic soldiers fighting during the War of Independence (From the ‘Pictorial History Of The Jewish People’, by Nathan Ausubel)
Boy and girl Haganah member, 1948 (Dmitri Kessel)
Typical young Haganah member, 1948 (Dmitri Kessel)
Jewish girl, Rachel Levy, 7, fleeing from street w. burning buildings. as the Arabs sack Jerusalem after its surrender. May 28, 1948. John Phillips
Jewish families leaving the old city through Zion’s Gate. June 1948. John Phillips
Sephardic Rabbi discussing terms of surrender of the Jewish quarter in Jerusalem with Arab Legion Soldiers. June 1948. John Phillips
Elderly Jewish man sitting in street after surrender of city. Jerusalem, Israel. June 1948. John Phillips
Mayor of Jewish quarter “Muhktar” Weingarten being escorted to Arab Legion headquarters by Arab soldiers. Jerusalem. June 1948 (John Phillips)
Captured Jewish soldier sitting between two members of the Arab Legion. Jerusalem, Israel. June 1948. John Phillips
Sandbagging in Tel Aviv, June 1948 (Frank Scherschel)
A Machlanik (foreign volunteer) during the Israeli War of Independence. Photo: Beit Hatfutsot.
72nd Command Battalion of Machalniks. Photo: Beit Hatfutsot
Israeli soldiers travel on route 7 to Jerusalem in June during the War of Independence
Ariel Sharon holds a Sten gun as a young commander in the Alexandroni Brigade of the fledgling Israeli army

A picture released on July 5, 1948 shows Jewish and Arab representatives confering with a UN delegate (L) as they study a map to delineate harvesting areas in the Palestine’s no-man’s land between the two armies

Soldiers of IDF’s Eighth Brigade. Zoltan Kluger
People running away from the watersfront during air raid, exact location unknown, May 1948.
Frank Scherschel—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Burned-out buses seen shortly after the establishment of the state of Israel, exact location unknown, May 1948.
Frank Scherschel—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Israeli policemen meet a Jordanian legionnaire near the Mandelbaum Gate on the ceasefire line that went through Jerusalem between 1949 and June 1967 (Photo taken not long after War of Independence)

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