• Issue: August 1963
  • Designer: E. Weishoff
  • Plate no.: 99
  • Method of printing: Photolithography

The reports of the World Refugee Year in 1960 were marked by a significant omission. The Jewish refugee problem, which was for so long a burden on the conscience of the world, no longer figured in the records of international agencies dealing with the rehabilitation of the homeless. This is not to say that there were no more Jewish refugees. Insecurity and oppression, the causes of most of the world's refugee problems, were still the lot of a significant section of the Jewish People. There were large numbers of Jews who could not remain in their present abodes. The search for a new home, however, is no longer the tortuous quest it was in days gone by. The emergence of the State of Israel has opened up the prospect of a permanent home to any Jew compelled by political or social pressures to become a refugee.

For centuries the Jews were the classic refugees of the world. Frequently, they were expelled from the countries where they had been settled for centuries. Their constant insecurity rendered them potential refugees at all times. It was not until the emancipation of the Jews in the first half of the 19th century, that they were accorded the status of legal security in the countries of Western Europe - though not everywhere of civil equality.

In Eastern Europe, however, notably in Czarist Russia and Romania, Jews were denied even legal security. The 1880s saw the beginning of an era of official persecutions and tolerated mob outbreaks. This gave rise to a new Jewish refugee problem, with its climax - the Nazi Holocaust.

In 1948, when the State of Israel was established, its first act was to throw open its gates to the "immigration of Jews from all countries of the dispersion." In the first dozen years a total of more than 900,000 settled in Israel. They came from displaced persons camps and hideouts all over Europe; from Asian and African countries including Yemen, Iraq, Egypt & Morocco.

Most of them arrived completely destitute. In many cases their property and assets had been sequestered before their departure by the authorities of their countries of origin.

In addition, the State of Israel resettled approximately 50,000 Arabs who had become homeless during the war against Israel or subsequently admitted into Israel in the "Reunion of Families Scheme"designed to enable Arabs from outside Israel to join their families residing in the country. Thus there were no longer any Arab refugees in Israel depending for their maintenance and support on international institutions.

The former Arab refugees, together with the other Arab residents numbering about 220,000, benefited from the general development activities and from the special schemes of irrigation, electrification, and rural reclamation carried out under the auspices of the Government in the Arab villages and districts of Israel.

Absorption and rehabilitation created enormous problems, involving old timers and new arrivals and creating difficulties in many ways. Housing and employment had to be made available, new towns and villages had to be planned and built. By means of large scale irrigation projects, areas hitherto written off as bad land, have been reclaimed and opened up to agricultural settlement. In the new urban regions refugees were trained for new jobs in industry at vocational schools or at special courses held at their places of employment.

The designs of the two stamps symbolize the ingathering and resettlement of refugees from the Arab Diaspora to Israel. The tab inscription of the first is: "Ils habiteront chacun sous sa vigne et sous son figuier, et il n'y aura personne pour les troubler" (Micah 4: 4); the tab inscription of the second is: " ... je vous ai porte sur des ailes d'aigle ... " (Exodus 19: 4).

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