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Israel's History in Pictures: Kibbutz Tel Yosef 1921

A mystery is solved by comparison with a photo in an archive and Google Earth.
By Arutz Sheva Staff
First Publish: 5/20/2013, 2:35 PM

Beit Alpha Archives
Beit Alpha Archives
INN: L.D.

Is the picture on the main page Kibbutz Tel Yosef? The photo is from the "Cigarbox Collection" of Dr.Othniel Seidon, recently come to light.


The composition of this photo is striking -- a new Jewish settlement at the foot of a mountain ridge and at the bottom of a gorge. On the back someone wrote "Tel Yosef 1921," apparently the year, the only date found on a photo in the Seidon collection.

The kibbutz was named after Yosef Trumpeldor, a Jewish Zionist hero who died defending the Tel Hai settlement in 1920.

The photo is an enigma. Tel Yosef is located in the Jezreel Valley in northern Israel, not located at the base of mountain. Research into Tel Yosef's history uncovered that the kibbutz was located a few kilometers away in its first years, and was located where Kibbutz Ein Harod is located today. But it too was not at the foot of a mountain.

Modern technology helped us locate the chalutzim's (pioneer) settlement 90 years ago.

A Google Earth search of the Jezreel-Gilboa area quickly found a possible location of the mystery picture -- the Kibbutz of Beit Alpha. The settlement at the foot of the mountain and the gorge appear identical.

We checked Beit Alpha's history and photo archives and confirmed that the Cigar Collection photo was Beit Alpha and not Tel Yosef. Someone had forgotten where the picture was taken when he wrote on its back.The picture above shows the same tents and buildings as the one on the main page. You can also look at  Beit Alpha's archives.