• Issue: April 1968
  • Designer: M. & G. Shamir
  • Plate no.: 229 - 230
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Method of printing: Photolithography

Immigration and Integration

Half a million Jews immigrated to the Land of Israel in the 70 years before the establishment of the State in 1948 . However, since that time and until the beginning of 1968, 1,286,254 Jews immigrated to Israel. The Scroll of Independence of the State of Israel proclaimed that the "State of Israel would be open to Jewish immigration and to the ingathering of the Exiles," and the Knesset gave expression to this in legal form by passing the Law of Return which was enacted in the year 1950. Thus the State of Israel became a country absorbing immigration. The organization of the immigration and its integration was handled by the Jewish Agency, representing the Jewish people as laid down by the Law of the status of the World Zionist Organization - the Jewish Agency.

There was mass immigration in the first three years after the establishment of the State and 684,201 immigrants arrived by the end of 1951. Whole communities were brought to Israel at that time and the Displaced Persons camps of the remnants of the Holocaust in Europe were emptied. This mass immigration was first absorbed in the cities and in the houses abandoned by the Arabs in the War of Liberation - in towns and villages, in cooperative and collective settlements, moshavim and kibbutzim. With the increase of mass immigration, 113 transit camps were put up for about a quarter of a million immigrants in order to absorb them temporarily. After that, 25 development towns were set up, immigrant housing was erected throughout the country and immigrants' cooperative settlements, moshavim, were established. In the twenty years after the establishment of the State 100,000 children and young people were educated in the educational institutions of Youth Aliya, and 91,000 immigrants learned Hebrew in Ulpanim - special intensive study courses.

A turn took place in the sphere of immigration after the year 1965. The mass immigration had come mainly from countries where Jews had been living in conditions of distress. As from the year 1965 it emerged that after one and a quarter million people had immigrated, there were few people left in the distress countries, apart from the Soviet Union which was then closed to emigration. The decrease of distress immigration opened up the question of immigration from the affluent countries as a vital priority. In order to deal efficiently with the immigration from affluent countries the Jewish Agency set up a network of hostels and integration centers in which the immigrants stay temporarily, learn Hebrew and find employment and housing. At the end of the year 1967 the Joint Authority for immigration and integration of the Government of Israel and the Jewish Agency worked out a plan of special facilities for immigrants in the spheres of taxes, customs, insurance, loans, housing, employment, and education for immigrants' children. This plan was given the status of law and went into effect at the beginning of 1968.

In the wake of the Six-Day War there was a great surge of volunteering to help Israel, and thousands of young people came to give their services. It was hoped that immigration from the affluent countries would increase to considerable proportions in the near future.

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Twenty Years of Settlement in Israel, 1948 - 1968

Agricultural settlement in Israel, which was relatively limited before the establishment of the State because of the difficulty of acquiring land and manpower, received new impetus with the establishment of the State. Simultaneously with the setting up of new settlements and new immigrants villages, new forms of settlements were created and new principles of settlement took shape.

The number of Jewish agricultural settlements in Israel at the time of the establishment of the State, excluding urban settlements, reached 291 with a population of 30,000 families. In the following 20 years over 440 new settlements were set up with 35,000 families living on agriculture. Of those 440 settlements 270 were set up in the first three years, 1948-1951.

Most of the settlers were new immigrants, survivors of the concentration camps and newcomers from the distressed countries of Arab states in the Middle East. Only a small minority were settlers from the affluent countries or veteran settlers of Israel.

New areas were settled in this span of twenty years. The expanses of the Negev and the South were becoming populated, the city of Jerusalem was linked up with the coastal plain by a chain of agricultural settlements, Galilee was been colonized and points of settlements were put up in the Aravah (Arabah). Large-scale development made this settlement possible; regional water projects were completed and the National Water Carrier was built, which allowed for the piping of water from the north of the country to the Negev. Tens of thousands of dunams of land in the hill regions were prepared for cultivation; the Huleh and adjoining areas were drained and cultivated as well as additional land in the Negev and the South.

These new areas of settlement played a decisive part in the growth of agricultural production and the supply of food for the inhabitants of the country. By 1968, they produced some 40% of all agricultural produce in the State of Israel and in certain branches such as dairy, poultry and vegetables, their share reached 50% and more.

New methods of development for rural areas in Israel also took shape during these twenty years.

The regional planning method was evolved, such as that of the Lakhish region, based on the development of a whole region through agricultural settlements, its rural and urban centers. Groups of agricultural settlements were set up along these lines, each with its own rural center serving all the settlements. In this way the consumer and producer services given the farmers could be improved and made more efficient.

The planning, implementation and financing of the new settlements is handled by the Settlement Department of the Jewish Agency working in cooperation with the Jewish National Fund, with the latter dealing with the preparation of the land for cultivation and settlement.

The activities of the Settlement Department do not only include agricultural development and settlement of new areas and professional guidance and instruction for the settlers. Social activity in many forms is also undertaken which, in the period of twenty years, changed the new immigrant settlers into a stable rural community founded on principles of cooperation and management which have long been accepted by the veteran Jewish settlements in Israel.

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20th Independence Day