• Issue: June 1963
  • Designer: Otte Wallish
  • Plate no.: 95
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

In 1963, one hundred year after the first appearance of a Hebrew newspaper in the Holy Land, Hebrew readers could cull their daily news from 14 Hebrew newspapers that were printed in Israel each day. They could supplement this daily fare by gleanings from numerous illustrated weeklies and from the many bimonthly, monthly, and quarterly publications devoted to literary, social, and political issues. Even the school-going Israeli has a choice of five weekly papers - offspring of the five foremost dailies. At that time Israel's newspapers were nationwide in distribution and interest and no specifically "local" papers existed. In the Israel of the 1990s every sizable locality has its own paper, some linked to the main newspapers, others independent.

The first Hebrew newspaper - Halbanon - was published in Eretz Israel in the spring of 1863, some 20 years before the birth of modern Zionism. This pioneer publication, printed and published by Yoel Moshe Salomon, marked one of the earliest signs of the transition of the Yishuv (the Jewish population) to modern times. Halbanon was followed in the same year by a second publication known as Havazeleth.

Though both these journals were Orthodox in spirit their editors tried to imbue new life and thought into the stagnating Jewish community. Their criticisms of the Jewish institutions of the time brought them into conflict with the traders of the Yishuv and led to the ultimate discontinuation of these journals. Halbanon closed down after the twelfth issue, and its editor Yechiel Brill was compelled to leave the country. He later revived Halbanon from Paris and Mainz. In 1870 Havazeleth reappeared under the editorship of Israel Dov Frumkin, an early Jerusalem pioneer. It continued to appear regularly until shortly before the outbreak of World War I.

The arrival of Eliezer Ben Yehuda - the father of modern Hebrew - marked an important milestone in the development of the Hebrew press. In 1885 Ben Yehuda founded Hazewi in which he championed his ideas for the revival of Hebrew as a living language.

With the advent of the Second Aliyah the "winds of change" began to gather force in the Yishuv. The men who brought with them a ferment of new ideas naturally sought suitable avenues of expression for their aspirations and ideological concepts.

In 1907 and in 1910 Ha-Po’el Hatzair and Ha'achdut appeared, the first weekly publications of the nascent labor movement. In the pages of these journals thinkers like H. Brenner, A. D. Gordon, Moshe Smilansky, and Berl Katzenelson gave expression to the type of thought that inspired the Second Aliyah with that rare compound of realism and visionary idealism that was to have far-reaching effects on the future of the nation.

In this same period Eliezer Ben Yehuda and his son Ittamar Ben Avi founded the first Hebrew daily - Doar Hayom. However, it was only with the end of World War I that the daily press came into its own. With the rapid expansion of the Yishuv and the firm entrenchment of Hebrew as the language of daily communication, the demand grew for a wider Hebrew press. This period saw the establishment of Haaretz. the first large independent daily and of Davar, the organ of the Histadrut (The General Federation of Labor), which were followed by others, and later by the appearance of two widely distributed evening papers.

On the stamp appears a 19th-century typesetter at work. The background of the complete sheet shows the facsimile of the first page of Halbanon newspaper from 1863 thus creating a different background for each stamp. On the tab the name of the paper appears in Hebrew, English, and Arabic.

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Halbanon - Hebrew Press