The Interim Postage Between the British Mandate of Palestine and the Creation of the State of IsraelEdit
United Nations Resolution 181 was passed on November 29, 1947 deciding the fate of the Mandate of Palestine. With 33 votes for, 13 against and 10 abstentions the Mandate was divided into Arab and Jewish partitions. The die was cast, and the British Prime Minister Attlee would at last have to disengage British military might from a war against the last human flotsam which had escaped Hitler’s delusion of the “Final solution to the Jewish Question.” The Postal Administration of the Mandate in its Public Notice No. 53 of April 13, 1948 announced the planned staged withdrawal of postal services throughout the Mandate to begin just two days later. Rural service would be completely discontinued by April 30, with closure of the main post offices in Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem by May 5. These closures would leave the Yishuv (the Jewish population within the Mandate) without postal services until the creation of the State of Israel on May 15. To maintain a semblance of normalcy, the Jewish Agency for Palestine (Haokhnut HaYehudit L’Eretz Yisrael) and the National Council for the Community of Israel (Va’ad Leumi Likhneset Yisrael) created the Minhelet Ha’am postal services. For the main this included the same employees and workers in the same offices but required new stamps and cancellations. Unfortunately the nascent Jewish state did not officially exist and its postage was still in development. As a stopgap solution, the Minhelet Ha’am appropriated the Jewish National Fund charity labels for that year. Overstamping/printing them with the Hebrew word Doar (post), these labels would then serve as official postage for the short transitional period between May 1 and 15 and would be tolerated beyond that until May 23 giving the new state’s official postage time to be disseminated. Karen Kayemet LeYisrael (KKL) also known as the Jewish National Fund was created at the first Zionist Congress in Basel as its philanthropic arm. Its task was the acquisition of land in Palestine on behalf of the Yishuv, and it importantly also funded the forestation and reclamation of a land too long left dormant. Each year the KKL raised funds by issuing new charitable labels depicting various facets of Judaica. The labels available for the Jewish year 5709 were a combination of stockpiles of existing labels, reprinted older releases, and new issues specifically for the new year. With the postal crisis, the KKL was called upon to sacrifice their entire stock of labels for 1948 so that the Minhelet Ha’am might convert them to official postage. The stamps were overprinted with the Hebrew word for post, “Doar,” and then sold as official postage. The Minhelet Postal Offices at the time were in Tel Aviv in the South and Haifa in the North. The third main Post Office of the British in Jerusalem was besieged and would have to function independently of the rest of the Yishuv.