Newly-uncovered archived video shows Tel Aviv and Haifa in 1951

Filmed in surprisingly high quality, footage found at American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee gives a glimpse into important moments in Israel's history, including new immigrants arriving in the Holy Land

Itamar Eichner|
An archived video uncovered at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) shows rare footage of the first years of Israel establishment, including the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa in 1951.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • The JDC, an American organization founded in 1914 working to assist Jews across the world, shared the new video, filmed in surprisingly-good quality.
    JDC's visit to Israel in 1951
    (Video: JDC)
    An examination into the video concluded that it was filmed by then JDC Director Moshe Lewit with a personal camera, while he was visiting Israel as committee’s envoy to see what could be done to help the newly-established Jewish state.
    The video has been archived at JDC without anyone being aware of its existence. The video gives a rare glimpse into the infant years of the state, including the arrival of the "Transylvania" ship to the shores of Haifa, carrying Jewish immigrants from Romania.
    Members of the JDC are filmed welcoming the new immigrants, and touring the immigrant camp in Atlit, near Haifa, and another one, named “Israel” in Lod, located in central Israel. Immigrant camps were an important part of the early Jewish settlement, providing temporary shelter for new immigrants before they moved to bigger cities across Israel.
    2 View gallery
    סיור אנשי הג'וינט במחנה ישראל, מחנה עולים סמוך ללוד
    סיור אנשי הג'וינט במחנה ישראל, מחנה עולים סמוך ללוד
    Israeli settlement in Lod
    (Photo: JDC)
    The video also shows visits by JDC staff in two settlements established by the committee to welcome blind and deaf Olim, as well as documenting Tel Aviv and Haifa during that period.
    Uri Kraushar, a historian and head of the JDC archive’s research team, said: “The JDC received a grant in order to digitize its archive. I was asked to research two films that were taken in Israel and had no information about them in the database.
    “I opened the film on my computer and was shocked to see that it was a colored film taken by the JDC director,” Kraushar added. “Most films I’ve seen from that time period were in black and white.”
    2 View gallery
     מפרץ חיפה
     מפרץ חיפה
    Bay of Haifa in 1951
    (Photo: JDC)
    “The film presents a sneak peek into the personal, unedited point of view of someone in a high position who worked behind the scenes in the wake of the biggest challenges of a developing state. The film may be silent, but you can hear many things if you look at it well,” Kraushar said.
    Kraushar explained the nature of the JDC’s visit to Israel at the time. “They visited to see how things were advancing, to check what else was required, and to meet with leaders and immigrants in Israel. This is the reason why this video is so important. It provides us with a point of view of someone who came to see what was happening behind the scenes."
    The commenter agrees to the privacy policy of Ynet News and agrees not to submit comments that violate the terms of use, including incitement, libel and expressions that exceed the accepted norms of freedom of speech.