The Philatelic Service of the Israel Postal Service issued several fascinating stamps on a variety of topics this month, spanning a variety of periods and disciplines.
Among them is a stamp focusing on the centennial year of Nili - a small but tough Jewish espionage organization that operated in the Land of Israel during World War I. Its members were colorful characters, such as brother and sister Aharon and Sarah Aharonson, who eventually sacrificed their lives to assist the British in ending the Ottoman rule. Founder Avshalom Feinberg was killed by Turkish forces in the Rafah area (southern Gaza), and his grave was identified only years later by a date palm tree growing on the site out of a date he had held in his pocket. Three towns have been named in commemoration of Feinberg's heroism and death: Diklah (a variation of the word dekel, which means date palm) in the Yamit region, which was dismantled in 1982 when Israel left the Sinai; Dekel in the Gaza Strip, which was dismantled in 2005 when Israel left Gaza; and Avshalom, located south of Gaza in the Halutza region.
Another stamp is entitled Israeli Nostalgia, remembering items such as the Susita (the only Israeli-made car), the kova tembel (see picture), and home seltzer-makers. The purpose of the issuance is to "bring back pleasant nostalgic memories," according to the Philatelic Service. To this end, too, an accordionist is seen making music for hora-dancers in a field.
A third stamp issued this month encourages Pension Savings. In recognition of the importance of ensuring sufficient income after retirement, this new issue comes at a time when a planned reform has been announced to improve pension services.
The stamps can be seen not only on the Israel Postal Service site, but also on the private website of Jacob Richman of Maaleh Adumim. Richman is a life-in-Israel enthusiast whose dozens of web pages depict the best that Israel has to offer in countless areas.
"Many people living abroad and even in Israel," Richman says, "are not aware of the educational stamps that the Israel Postal Service has been issuing for decades." As a subscriber to the IPS collectors' service, he receives the new stamps every quarter – which he then scans and posts on his site.
In addition to being a unique hasbara (PR) tool, Richman feels, many educators all over the world find this a very unique way to show the good things happening in Israel."
Two other stamps issued this month honor Israeli entertainers Chana Meron, known as the First Lady of Israeli theater, and Sefi Rivlin, a comedian and actor. Yet another stamp relates to the ancient Mamluk Postal Road, through which Mamluk Empire (1260-1516) horse-riding messengers passed news throughout the Land of Israel and elsewhere. Some impressive remnants of the route still attest to the importance of this land bridge connecting various lands.
Photos courtesy of the Israel Postal Service