• Issue: November 1967
  • Designer: O. Adler
  • Plate no.: 211 -212
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

On November 2, 1917, Arthur James Balfour, foreign secretary of Great Britain, sent the following letter to Lord Rothschild:

"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."

It was as if, down the chronicled corridors of Time, an echo rang of the accents of Cyrus the Great King, almost three millenia ago, bidding Ezra the Scribe go homeward with Nehemiah the Governor and the exiles of Babylon and rebuild God's Temple in Jerusalem.

This, then, was the Balfour Declaration. It was endorsed by the United States Congress. It was written into the Mandate for Palestine which the League of Nations entrusted to the British Government. It was acclaimed by the enlightened world as the vindication of Zionist yearnings, the righteous redemption of a nation's age-old hopes and the requital of tribulation, torment and tragedy agonizingly endured by the People of the Book bereft of its land. It brought three battalions of fighting Jewish volunteers from Palestine and America into the victorious ranks of Allenby's Army in World War I. It heralded the ultimate homecoming of the Wandering Jew. It had sown the seed from which Jewish statehood and sovereignty were to burgeon again and forever.

In Eretz Israel the 50 years following its issue were as fraught with destiny and drama, as momentously epoch-making, as any half-century yet in the annals of mankind - multitudinous immigration that swelled the Jewish numbers in Israel from 60,000 in 1917 to forty times as many in 1967; scores of new towns, and the central and suburban extension of ancient cities; industry proliferating; agricultural villages springing up by the hundreds; swamps purged and sand dunes anchored, rocky hillsides cleared for the plow; rural yields diversified and enlarged to feed thousands of newcomers; exports from farm and factory mounting; Hebrew miraculously, ubiquitously, on all lips; schooling, from kindergarten to university, in the organized forefront of national policy; science and the arts, under national tutelage and encouragement, advancing into world-wide recognition; social security, welfare and equality, fair wages, decent conditions of work - all with highest priority; health, hygiene and hospitalization perfected; preventive and curative medicine in most modern application; religious freedom, the sanctity and inviolability of all Holy Places, unquestioningly guaranteed; democracy in genuine expression.

In 1967, in the Six-Day War, the Third Jewish Commonwealth, displaying a national solidarity and fortitude without parallel, proved its will and capacity to defend its existence and its independence against the hostility of intransigent neighbors, against their boycotts and blockades, against their hired commandos and their invading columns.

The stamps in honor of the Balfour Declaration Jubilee bear the likenesses of Lord Balfour and Dr. Chaim Weizmann, Israel's first president. The tab of each stamp bears the biblical phrase "Your children shall come back to their own country" (Jer. 31:17)

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50 Years Balfour Declaration