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Life in Israel 1948

I continue to research the vast collection of photos

from the LIFE Magazine. I sort the photos by a
photographer or event, etc. In this post I want to curate
the 1948 photos from Israel.

Jewish girl, Rachel Levy, 7, fleeing from street w.

burning bldgs. as the Arabs sack Jerusalem after its
surrender. May 28, 1948. John Phillips
Jewish families leaving the old city through Zion's
Gate. June 1948. John Phillips
Jewish families being evacuated from city. June 1948.
John Phillips
Egyptian plane shot down on Tel Aviv beach. May
1948. Frank Scherschel
Sandbagging in Tel Aviv. June 1948. Frank Scherschel
Arab refugees on a dock. Hafia, Israel, May 1948,
John Phillips
Two Rabbis conference with Arab Legion soldiers.
June 1948. John Phillips
There is a wide patch on the right cheek of the
Sephardi Rabbi, he must have been hit in the face.
Please identify these Rabbis?
Sephardic Rabbi discussing terms of surrender of the
Jewish quarter in Jerusalem with Arab Legion
Soldiers. June 1948. John Phillips
Jewish boy eating matzos, Jerusalem, June 1948, John
Jewish soldiers being guarded by Arab Legion soldiers
after their surrender in Jerusalem. June 1948. John
Captured Jewish soldier sitting between two members
of the Arab Legion. Jerusalem, Israel. June 1948. John
Frank Adam comments: Another useful detail in the
seated three men photo:Jewish prisoner in pukka Brit
shorts and two Arab Legion guards. The corporal on
the viewer’s right is a negro. So? The nearest negroes
to the Holy Land are in Sudan (deeply south from
Egypt) or escaped slaves from Saudi Arabia. Either way
he is an immigrant to the region which is one in the eye
for the Arab complaint about Zionist Jews being
This also illustrates the crafty recruitment of the Arab
Legion any number were recruited from outside Jordan
in southern Syria, Lebanon, (Saudi, Iraq) and
Palestine as commonly taken to be the entire country
West of the River J. This profile of personnel being
foreign mercenaries were utterly dependent on their
engagement & utterly loyal, but Glubb Pasha also
realised that he would have less trouble to police by
securing the consent of the desert tribes to his
operations and recruited from them in balance pro rata
to the size of each tribe which in the situation of
nomadic pastoralists not averse to smuggling and theft
in a subsistence society of who owes and owns whom
amounted to representation and committment to the
regime of the incipient Jordanian state. It was not so
obvious nor institutionalised as the Indian Army system
of ethnic regiments and companies with a company or
two of different ethnicit(ies) in each regiment, but it
was nevetheless political balancing of the grass roots.
Major James M. Hankin Turvin speaking with Lt.
Abdallah Mogely. Israel 1948, John Phillips
Arab Legion soldier standing guard in the Jewish
quarter in Jerusalem. June 1948. John Phillips.
Frank Adam comments: the status & responsibility of
client state troops is politcally nice. The Arab Legion
was British equipped, trained and had a lot of British
field officers (majors & colonels) and its commander
all, “on contract,” or, “secondment.” In 1920 – 46 it
was the originally gendarmerie desert patrol force of
the Emirate of Transjordan which the British had
created within the Eastern part of the Palestine
Mandate. In English English, “gendarmerie” is a
nationally organised, armed but police force at the
direction of civil power, local and central (state
troopers in US?). Britain audited TJ’s books ie
approved the budget, and supplied quite a few senior
civil officers all supervised by a Resident who reported
to the High Commissioner in Jerusalem his immediate
local senior, and directly to the Colonial Office,
London. So in the 1941 Iraqi campaign and for
internal security ie guard duties in Palestine 1945-47
inclusive, the Arab Legion was available (from ‘46,
turning itself into an “army”) to the British
commander in Palestine or Iraq as another British unit
– having formally asked for their service through usual
channels from the Transjordanian government which
was internally fairly independent – or had to be treated
as such to keep up appearances and so political
effectiveness. In 1946 the British signed a treaty with
Transjordan to become the Kingdom of Jordan and so
strictly an ally, rather than a dependent territory – but
it depended on a pa sub of £4 ($11) million from
London till the 50’s when Hussein fired Glubb and the
US after ‘56 gradually substituted for UK as it
frequently has across the World since 1945, but in its
own variations of retired officers on contract in
Kossovo Iraq and other locations.
Nevertheless there are press photos of Legionaries on
duty in Jerusalem’s “Bevingrad” in ‘46-’47 as it was
Bevin’s initial policy that the Arab parts of Palestine
would go in with Jordan – by one of his remarks.
Eventually the Jordanian Government withdrew the
Legion by early ‘48 from West of the Jordan entirely,
till Abdullah invaded Palestine in May ‘48. By the
memoirs and statements of the time any British
seconded officers had returned to their own British
units or were kept East of the Jordan, but there were
still some contract officers in the force across the River.
Just in case this all sounds ad hoc if not outright
louche, it is the stuff of British avoidance of systematic
big thinking and as a defence measure in the 1941
“flap” when it looked as if Rommel might break
through Egypt, the British incorporated the Palestine
Police – a civilian formation albeit armed – into the
British Army. As such it sent a detachment to march in
the victory parade in London.
Arab Legionnaires fight from walls of Jerusalem, May
1948. John Phillips
Two Israely soldiers. May 1948. Frank Scherschel
Illegal Jewish immigrants aboard captured refugee
ship surrounded by British troops who halted the craft
shortly before the official creation of the state of Israel.
Haifa 1948. Dmitri Kessel
Fran Adam Commenst: The half platoon of helmeted
British troops on the quay waiting for the illegal
immigrants to (be?) disembarked are Parachute
Regiment. The giveaway is – unlike the usual British
“battle bowler” souplate design from the 14-18 trench
war – the brimless helmet developed for airborne units
(2 divisions in ‘44 – ‘45) not to catch the door in the
jump, or slipstream. Later a lot of them went to the
navy for similar reasons of warship constricted
passages and hatches. There is a third design in which
the brim angle is not pressed so it has a parabolic
outline which served from 43-44 (till GRP – glass
reinforced plastic ie kevlar brimless took over in the
70’s because APC’s -armoured personnel carriers are
also cramped). The purpose of the broad but parabolic
third design which can be seen in the second lot of
photos was it protected the neck when on lying the
ground as it was impossible to wear jauntily with the
chinstrap behind the head.
Refugees on captured ship. Dmitri Kessel
Jewish Refugees from illegal ship. 1948. Dmitri Kessel
Elderly Jews going to Zion's Gate evacuating the
Jewish quarter of Jerusalem. June 1948. John Phillips
The Legion having a Banquet dinner. April 1948. John
Arab refugees crowding a British ship carrying them to
Acre. May 1948. John Phillips
Haganah Soldiers. May 1948. Frank Schersche
View of Haifa from Mt. Carmel in June 1948. Frank
The next two photographs are remarkable. I found
them in the different parts of the archive. It occurred to
me to compare the architectural elements, the stair, the
window openings, etc. This is before and after of the
same place!
Jewish families waiting outside their homes to be
evacuated by Arab troops. Jerusalem, Israel. June
1948. John Phillips
Rubble lying in the streets after Arab looting of Jewish
homes. Jerusalem. June 1948. John Phillips
Looting in burning Jerusalem, John Phillips. June
Jewish people attempting to leave portion of city
surrendered to Arab forces. Jerusalem, Israel. June
1948. John Phillips
International Red Cross employees helping Jewish
refugees. Jerusalem, Israel. June 1948. John Phillips
People along the waterfront watching an air raid. May
1948. Frank Scherschel
Elderly Jewish man sitting in street after surrender of
city. Jerusalem, Israel. June 1948. John Phillips
Arabs evacuating the village of Zenin. May 1948. John
Women and children refugees evacuating the village of
Zenin. May 1948. John Phillips
British Marines guarding a deserted Arab street of
Haifa. May 1948. John Phillips
Israeli Soldier. May 1948. Frank Scherschel
Jews take over as British Mandate ends. May 1948.
Frank Scherschel
Israeli men celebrate the end of the British Mandate.
May 1948. Frank Scherschel
Tel Aviv. May 1948. Frank Scherschel
Tel Aviv, Israel. 1948. Dmitri Kessel
Girls being trained in signal work at British detention
camp. Cyprus. June 1948. Frank Scherschel
A British soldier sitting guard on a rooftop. 1948.
Dmitri Kessel
Frank Adam comments: The British – Scots by his
Tam O’Shanter hat style – soldier with Bren light
machine gun on a roof is in front of the dome of the
Tiferet Israel Synagogue, also known as the Nissan
Bek after its original warden/sponsor. The dome of the
Hurva reaches the walls/edges of its main structure and
is not on a “drum.” Both synagogue outlines are easy
to distinguish on learning this structural difference
which is obvious when you look at the Old City from
the walls or external viewing points. The Nissan Bek
was on the Eastern edge of the Western hill of the old
City now crowned with modern yeshiva buildings, while
the Hurva is further West.

Arab soldier with rifle riding on a motorcycle. March

1948. John Phillips
A trampled tarbouche lying in the street which will be
picked up as a trophy by the Jews. Zenin, Israel. May
1948. John Phillips