• Issue: February 1976
  • Designer: A. Hecht
  • Stamp size: 40 x 25.7 mm
  • Plate no.: 445
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Photolithography

Like everything connected with Zionism, Bezalel started as a dream. The dreamers believed that a nation rebuilding its home-land after two thousand years of exile, most create an art of its own in order to survive.

The man who first made the dream a reality was Professor Boris Schatz, the founder of the Bezalel Art School, as it was then called. In 190h Schatz decided that a vocational arts and crafts school should be the starting point for the creation of national art. He trained his students less in fine arts than in crafts, for the basic principle in the Palestine of those days was the ideal of halutziut (pioneering), which focused on the value of manual work. Schatz therefore concentrated on weaving, silversmithing, ceramics and applied arts Upon graduation, Bezalel's students worked in bare, simple workshops, a reflection of the economic situation of the time.

The daily struggle for existence was difficult for those working in the arts and crafts, as in the milieu of those times, the plastic arts were looked upon as an unnecessary usury. Today in retrospect, it seems a miracle that Bezalel even survived until t928, when it closed down for lack of funds.

With the financial support of the Jewish Agency. Bezalel was re opened in 1935. The Berlin artist Joseph Budko came to Jerusalem to direct ''The New Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts'' -a new name that clearly reflected the social changes that had taken place in the interim.

A staff of five began work with some forty students, mainly new immigrants from Central Europe. in applied art and silversmithing. The name "applied art" was an honest reflection of what was taught, but some lessons were also devoted to fine arts, justified on the grounds that increasing immigration had created a growing number of potential art lovers. Meanwhile, industries were being established requiring publicity, and new opportunities had opened up for the applied artist. Silversmithing remained on a more modest level, concentrating on low-cost products that most of the population of the time could afford.

Under the economic circumstances of the day, Bezalel's budget sufficed only for urgent everyday needs. Bezalel was always at the periphery of the budget-makers line of vision, so that lack of funds impeded the School's progress for many years.

Two central events decisively changed Bezalel's fate The first occurred when Dr. Mordechai Ardon, Bezalels director in the 40's, introduced the concept of 'modern art' based on the experience of the Bauhaus. The second took place some twenty years later, with the introduction of the concept of "design".

After Ardon, the situation at the beginning of the 60s was still ambivalent. On the one hand there was already a dynamic industry based on modern technology, with products penetrating international markets and requiring proper presentation and image. On the other hand, the lack of innovative designers and planners meant that too many Israeli products were in fact only imitations of foreign products, a tact that stood out in sharp contrast to the industrial potential.

Despite positive developments in industry, Bezalel was still labouring under outdated conditions and antiquated concepts Furthermore, any attempt to display initiative was foredoomed because of lack of funds.

In 1963, a meaningful breakthrough began with the appointment of a new director, Dr. Dan Hoitner, and with the help of the late Minister of Education and Culture. Zalman Aranne, a new concept was born: Bezalel, as an educational institution, has the right to exist only if it actively serves the needs of society and industry. It was very clear that artists and designers were needed who could participate in the daily process of defining and solving problems. Their ability to deal with this intellectual challenge would henceforth be one of the aims of the basic curriculum.

The "design revolution" had reached Bezalel. The new emphasis on design was to a certain extent a logical extension of Ardons intentions and aim: the addition of social awareness to professional capability.

From then on. the whole structure of Bezalel changed completely In 1970 Bezalel was formally recognized as an Academy of Arts and Design. With recent academic recognition and a new campus near the Israel Museum under construction. Bezalels highest aspirations are gradually being fulfilled furthering the active participation of lecturers and graduates in the quiet revolution' - improving the quality of life in Israel.

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"Bezalel" Academy 70th anniversary