• Issue: December 2014
  • Designer: Pini Hamou
  • Stamp Size: 30 mm x 40 mm
  • Plate no.: 964, 965, 966, 967
  • Security mark: Microtext
  • Sheet of 15 stamps, Tabs: 5
  • Printers: Cartor Security Printing, France
  • Method of printing: Offset

The automotive industry in Israel, both before and after the establishment of the State, consisted of a number of workshops and factories, most of which did not remain in operation for more than two decades. Most of these assembled automobiles from parts and pieces that originated overseas. Only two plants (Autocars and Ramta) designed and constructed cars independently.

In total, there were four factories that either assembled or constructed passenger cars for private use:
Palestine Motors Company (1936); Kaiser-Frazer of Israel - later Kaiser Ilin, E. Ilin (1951-1971); Mosachim U'Mechonot (Garages and Cars) - later Autocars, Rom Carmel (1952-1981); Nazareth Illit Automotive Industries (AIL), the only company still in existence (1966 - the present).

Along with these, a number of plants manufactured and continue to manufacture trucks, buses and designated vehicles, notably: Leyland Ashdod, Haargaz Transportation, Merkavim Transportation Technologies, Plasson Ltd. and Ramta.

Israel's automotive industry developed in the 1950's with the help of subsidies and tax concessions provided by the government of Israel, blossomed in the 1960's and declined in the 1970's and 1980's. Export attempts failed and it became apparent that importing automobiles was more profitable for the small Israeli market, with the exception of designated vehicles.

Standard Carmel, 1936
The first car assembled in Eretz Israel by The Eretz Israel Mobiles Company.
The British Standard Motor Company began manufacturing passenger vehicles early in the 20th century. In 1936, businessmen from Britain and Eretz Israel collaborated in founding the Palestine Motors Company in order to assemble Standard cars at a small plant in Haifa Bay. The cars assembled in Eretz Israel were called Carmel and there were two models - one small and one large. This was the first attempt to assemble passenger cars in Israel. After only a small number of these cars had been assembled, the 1936-1939 uprisings broke out and the plant was abandoned. Since this car has not been available in Israel since 1936 - the stamp features a Standard car manufactured in Britain in 1946, which is identical to the 1936 model. The car on the stamp is owned by Zvika and Yossi Gazinsky.

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Kaiser Manhattan, 1951
The first car manufactured in the State of Israel, by Kaiser-Frazer of Israel, in an initial attempt to establish an automobile factory "like those overseas".
The Manhattan was a relatively large and luxurious American car. It was originally produced by the Kaiser-Frazer plant from 1951-1954. In 1951, Israeli entrepreneur E. Ilin joined with the owners of Kaiser-Frazer and together they founded a large factory (by local standards) in Nesher. The first car assembled at the plant was the Manhattan, which served as the official car for Israel's Prime Minister, President, government ministers and ambassadors overseas. Overall, a few thousand cars were manufactured, some of which were exported to Europe. Assembly of the Manhattan ceased in 1955 following the closure of its parent factory in the U.S.
Since this car has not been available in Israel since 1951 - the stamp features a car manufactured in 1953, which is mostly identical to the 1951 model and is owned by Doron Itelson.

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Sabra Sport, 1961
The first sports car manufactured in Israel by Autocars.
The Sabra was a British-designed sports car initiated by Yitzhak Shovinsky, owner of Autocars, producer of the Susita. The prototype was manufactured in Britain by Reliant. This model was manufactured concurrently by Autocars and Reliant (under the name Sabre) until 1965. It was exported to Europe and the U.S., with only a few actually sold in Israel. There was a roadster model (2-seater with a convertible top), a 2-seater model with a removable hardtop and a coupe with a permanent top. This bold endeavor to compete with renowned European sports cars ultimately failed and produced in all fewer than 300 cars, of which 180 were manufactured at the Autocars plants in Haifa and Tirat Hacarmel.
The car that appears on the stamp belongs to Nitzan Primor.

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Sufa Jeep, 1992
The first jeep designed and manufactured by Nazareth Illit Automotive Industries (AIL).
The Sufa (Storm) is an off-road vehicle based on the renowned American JeepĀ  Wrangler. In 1992 it began to be manufactured at the AIL plant in Nazareth Illit, mainly for the security forces. In the initial years it had an original Israeli-designed front and a gasoline engine however from the early 2000's the Sufa was upgraded and incorporated the American Jeep front, including the JEEP logo, attesting to the strong connection with the parent plant in the U.S.
A number of Sufa models are still being produced today with diesel engines. The current model (the Storm III) is very advanced and significantly different than the original. Many of the Sufa vehicles that were emitted to the civilian market have been enhanced and improved by their owners.
The car that appears on the stamp belongs to Ronen Greenstein.

Benny Haspel

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Israel's Automotive Industry