Israel: 5 Issues + ATM Label in December 2017

From Israel Post. These stamps will be issued December 19, 2017:

Snakes, Submarines and Sport Arenas and are just a few of the popular topics that are included in the last stamp issues of 2017.

The magnificent gold –domed Russian church named the Gorny Convent in Jerusalem was chosen as the topic for the Joint Issue with Russia. The church represents Russia’s deep religious bond to Jerusalem and the joint issue expresses Russia’s friendship with Israel.

Some people scream and others have them as pets but Snakes are first and foremost an important component in the food chain of predators and prey. Although no one wants to get bitten by a snake, it is imperative that they are kept safe as part of ensuring healthy ecological systems.

Submarines are an important part of any navy and this stamp set shows the history of the submarines acquired by Israel’s Navy. Today, interestingly, some of the most innovative parts of the new sophisticated submarines are manufactured in Israel.

Today, when you visit one of the Ancient Roman Arenas represented on this stamp set you can close your eyes and imagine the noise, the atmosphere, the cheering on, bloody shows, gladiators and chariot races. All this is depicted on the stamps which represent three types of Roman arenas that are found in Israel: theater, amphitheater and hippodrome.

Israel recognizes the importance of Integrating People with Disabilities in Society and promoting their increased involvement in the life of the country, not only as those who receive but also as those that want to contribute and share their talents with society.

A delightful illustration is found on this year’s Season’s Greetings from the Holy Land ATM label. Perfect to send good wishes to friends around the world.

Submarines in Israel (Israel 2017)

These stamps will be issued December 19, 2017. From Israel Post:

The Israeli Navy did not have any submarines when it was founded in March 1948. The thought of acquiring and operating submarines did not ripen until a few years later. It was a bold and innovative step for the teams slated to operate these submarines as well as the technical personnel who would maintain them. Submarine personnel are selected meticulously, as they must be extremely level-headed and professional, and beyond all else must be able to work and live as a team.

S Class Submarine, 1959
The Navy’s flotilla of submarines was established in 1959 and included two outdated submarines purchased from the British Navy’s surplus. These submarines, with all their limitations, served as a first step for Israel’s young Navy. One of them, the INS (Israeli Naval Ship) Tanin, participated in a daring operation during the Six Day War.

T Class Submarine, 1967
Based on its experience to that point, it was decided that the Navy should acquire newer submarines, the T Class, which were also British-made. The second in the series, the INS Dakar, sank en route to Israel with its entire crew of 69 onboard. The cause remains a mystery to this day. The Navy subsequently decided not to purchase any more used submarines, but rather to order new ones.

Gal Class Submarines, 1976
The Gal Class Submarines were manufactured in Britain to the Israeli Navy’s specifications. The first in the series arrived in Israel in 1976. The submarines in this series were very stealthy and reliable.

Today, the Israeli Navy operates new, sophisticated submarines. Some of the most innovative parts are manufactured in Israel. The Navy has made great strides since the initial decision to incorporate submarines into its fleet, largely thanks to the first generations of visionary submariners who forged the way.

Description of the Stamps
The stamps in this set feature three submarine models. The tabs show a submariner working on the submarine.

The photographs are courtesy of the Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum in Haifa. The First Day Cover shows the Gal Submarine as it ceremoniously enters the Haifa Port in the 1970’s.

Snakes in Israel (Israel 2017)

From Israel Post. These stamps will be issued December 19, 2017. Larger image below.

Israel is home to many different reptile species thanks to its location at the meeting point of three different continents and the wealth of habitats it provides. Some 100 reptile species make their homes here, among them approximately 40 species of snakes, nine of which are venomous.

Snakes are an important component in ecological systems and in the food chain of predators and prey. They feed on arthropods, fish, fowl, small mammals and other reptiles, including snakes, each species according to its size and abilities. Snakes are preyed upon by birds, hedgehogs, mongooses and other animals.

Snakes also face other dangers – dwindling numbers of habitats, accidents with vehicles on the roads and agricultural equipment in the fields, as well as intentional harm by humans. All the snakes and other reptile species in Israel are protected by law and it is illegal to harm them. It is imperative that they are kept safe, as part of ensuring healthy ecological systems.

Schokari Sand Racer (Psammophis schokari)
Length: to 120 cm

This is a rear fanged snake, i.e. it has venomous back teeth. The venom is not injected by a quick bite but rather through a prolonged bite. Like the other sub venomous snakes found in Israel, the Schokari Sand Racer is not hazardous to humans. It is thin and fast and has a number of different attributes: in the northern and central areas of the country it most commonly has four dark lengthwise stripes against a brownish-yellow background whereas the snakes in the south have faded lengthwise stripes or none at all. There is a dark stripe along the sides of the head, beside the eyes. This is one of the only snake species in Israel that can be found throughout the entire country, from Mt. Hermon in the north to Eilat in the south. It is common in different habitats, climbs on shrubs, walls, etc. It feeds on a wide range of animals: arthropods, reptiles, birds and small rodents.

Large Whip Snake (Dolichophis jugularis)
Length: to 250 cm

The Large Whip Snake is not venomous. It is large and shiny and its appearance changes when it reaches maturity. When young, this snake is brown or grey with black and white spots. The mature snake (usually more than 120 cm in length) is completely black. In both instances, the shade of the lower jaw is lighter than the body. It feeds on different animals: reptiles, birds, rodents and more. These snakes are commonly found in agricultural areas, where their food supply is abundant, thus they are frequently killed by farming equipment. Found from Mt. Hermon in the north to the Beer Sheva area in the south.

Palestine Viper (Daboia palaestinae)
Length: to 135 cm

The Viper is venomous and the most dangerous to humans of all the snake species found in Israel, due to the potency and quantity of its venom, as well as its prevalence in inhabited areas. Its background color is yellowish, light brown or grey, with a lengthwise zigzag stripe that is brown with dark edges. Sometimes this stripe appears broken. There are additional spots on the sides of the body. This snake’s head is significantly wider than its neck and it has small scales. It is common in various habitats (including sand) in the Mediterranean region, from Mt. Hermon in the north to the Beer Sheva area in the south. It is prevalent around agricultural communities, where it is attracted to the rodents found in chicken coops, storerooms, cowsheds, etc. This Viper is responsible for the vast majority of cases in which humans are bitten in Israel. Hospitals have an antidote for its venom, which is given to the injured as needed.

Rules of Caution
In the field: high-top shoes are recommended; do not stick one’s hand into concealed places (day or night); shake out equipment and shoes after spending the night outdoors. In inhabited areas: avoid piles of pruned branches, scrap-iron, stones, etc. Keep the area clear of food scraps that attract rodents.

If You See a Snake
In the field: allow the snake to find its way by itself. Do not approach it or try to trap it. At home or in the yard: call a trained snake catcher. Keep children and animals away from the snake and try to keep it in sight until the catcher arrives. A list of licensed snake catchers is posted on the Israel Nature and Parks Authority website. Some local authorities also provide snake catching services.

First Aid in Case of Snakebite
What to do: calm the injured person, lie them down and take them to the hospital (even if he/she feels well). If the bite is on the arm or leg, it is possible to put a splint on the limb (like in the case of a fracture). Remove any rings, bracelets, watch, etc. from the injured person. If possible, take a photo of the snake.

What not to do: do not cut or burn or suck the bitten area. Do not block the blood vessels with a tourniquet. Do not put ice on the bite site, do not sterilize the spot with alcohol, do not let the injured person drink hot liquids or alcohol. Do not try to catch the snake. These guidelines do not replace medical consultation and treatment.

— Noam Kirshenbaum
Editor and Publisher, Nature in Israel

Ancient Roman Arenas (Israel 2017)

From Israel Post. These stamps will be issued December 19, 2017.

Entertainment and sporting events constituted a significant part of the cultural activity in ancient Rome. The city rulers, who coined the phrase “bread and circuses”, distributed free food and built arenas as a way to placate the masses. Roman soldiers and officials brought their customs to every corner of the vast empire and contributed to the dissemination of this culture among local populations. Thus, these arenas became an important part of the urban landscape in Eretz Israel during the Roman Period.

The most common arena was the semi-circular Theater, in which all seats faced the front stage. Every self-respecting city built a theater and overall more than 30 theaters of varying sizes were constructed in Eretz Israel. The theater was adopted from the Greeks who preceded the Roman Period. Dramas, comedies and tragedies were performed in the Greek theaters, but the audiences’ tastes changed and in the Roman Period most of the performances were pantomimes and social satire. Rabbi Abbahu, an amora (Jewish Talmudist) and head of a yeshiva who lived in Caesarea in the 4th century described a satire performance in which actors dressed as animals took the stage as part of a show that mocked Jewish customs. The Jerusalem Talmud features a description of the role of an actor in a pantomime who hires the services of female musicians and dancers, applauds them, dances and plays the cymbals before them.

The elliptic Amphitheater, in which the audience sat around a central stage, was built outside the city. This venue hosted bloody performances, mostly featuring battles between gladiators or men versus animals. The Amphitheater also served as a venue for executions, as those sentenced to death were pitted against wild animals or were forced to fight for their lives in hopeless battles. These brutal shows were well liked by the Romans but not by local residents. Only a few Amphitheaters were discovered in Eretz Israel and these were built in cities where Roman troops were posted, such as Beit She’an, Caesarea and Beit Guvrin. The Jewish Sages, who generally forbade watching these bloody shows, allowed it in unusual circumstances “because shouting saves”: customarily, the audience was given the right to decide whether to kill the warrior who lost the battle, and Jewish spectators could lend their voices against the killing and possibly even save the life of a Jew fighting in the ring.

The Hippodrome (hippos = horse) was also built outside the city and mainly served as a venue for chariot races. The seats were placed along the long sides of the arena. One end had a curved wall and the other had a straight wall where the chariot gates were located. A grand divider decorated with statues and columns was erected in the center of the arena, between the two tracks. The chariots rode around this divider repeatedly during the race. The winning chariot driver got to hold a palm spoon and Sages equated the waving if the lulav during the Sukkoth festival to victory before God.

The Jewish Sages rejected the foreign culture brought to Eretz Israel by the Romans and considered it to be a complete contradiction to Jewish culture. “One may go to synagogues and places of Torah study or one may go to theaters and circuses” (Bereishit Rabbah 67:4). However, the Sages were well aware of what occurred at those entertainment venues and used this reality to illustrate their views to their followers.

Description of the Stamps and Sheet Margins
The illustrations on the stamps, the sheet margins and the cancellation were inspired by mosaics from the Roman Period and by 18th and 19th century works of art describing that period (books, paintings, posters).

Tab illustrations: based on photos by Moshe Rimer (Caesarea); Carole Raddato (Beit Guvrin); Israeltourism (Beit She’an).

Cover: adaptation of a photo by Israeltourism.

Gorny Convent, Ein Karem (Israel-Russia Joint Issue 2017)

From Israel Post. This stamp will be issued December 19, 2017.

Christian tradition calls the village of Ein Karem, located to the west of Jerusalem, the “City of Judea”. The Virgin Mary visited Ein Karem while carrying her unborn child Jesus and according to the New Testament, she met her cousin St. Elizabeth there, while she was also pregnant with her son, John the Baptist. On the hillside above the village there is a large, magnificent gold-domed church which is part of the Russian convent complex that was built in honor of that visit.

Construction of the convent and the church began in the 19th century, initiated by the head of the Russian religious mission to the Holy Land. These buildings reflect the deep Russian religious involvement in Eretz Israel toward the end of the Ottoman Period, when tens of thousands of devout Russians made the pilgrimage to the Holy Land every year.

In 1871, Archimandrite Antonin Kapoustin, head of the Russian religious mission, purchased a large plot of land in Ein Karem with funds contributed by devout businessmen and noblemen. He planned and built a modest church at the center of the complex and invited wealthy women who wished to live out their lives in the Holy Land to build houses there. Those houses were subsequently inherited by the community, thus over time a few dozen buildings were incorporated into the Russian Gorny (“mountainous”) Convent.

In 1910, Leonid Sinzov, one of the heads of the Russian religious mission after Kapoustin, decided to build a new larger and grander church up on the hillside, which he planned to call “The Church of the Holy Trinity”. In order to build the church, Sinzov borrowed large sums of money from various parties. He also expected to receive contributions to complete the construction. But these plans came to an abrupt halt when WWI broke out in 1914. Contact with Russia was severed and the Russian representatives, who were declared to be enemy subjects, were deported to Egypt and construction of the church stopped.

After the war, it was impossible to continue the construction due to significant debts and the severance of ties with the anti-religious Soviet Union. The roofless church stood abandoned for decades, until the early 21st century, when construction recommenced. The church was completed in 2007 and named the “Cathedral of All Russian Saints”. In recent years, this typical Russian-looking church is visited by increasing numbers of tourists and pilgrims and it represents Russia’s deep religious bond to Jerusalem.

Integration into Society (Disabilities) (Israel 2017)

This stamp will be issued December 19, 2017. From Israel Post:

Fifteen percent of the Israeli population, about 1.1 million adults and children, have disabilities. People with disabilities are an essential and integral part of society. It is our civic duty to promote true and full inclusion of disabled people in our society. Integration is a perfect expression of mutual responsibility, Zionism and love of Israel. There are many aspects to integration, but the most crucial is work.

This was the basis of the historic law enacted on January 1, 2017 requiring an equal chance to integrate at least 5% of people with disabilities into every governmental organization of over 100 employees. This law will increase the inclusion of people with disabilities into the workforce and further their participation in the decision making process surrounding the people with disabilities, because they will be an integral part of the bodies that make those decisions.

This law places Israel alongside the most enlightened countries in the world, such as the United States, Germany and other Western European countries.

People with disabilities are wonderful employees who are dedicated to their jobs, extremely loyal to the organization, conscientious, anxious to prove themselves and immensely motivated. Technology allows them to overcome any disability, thus disabled employees can fulfill any position, including management.

The State Comptroller determined that the Israeli economy loses five billion NIS annually due to under-representation of people with disabilities in the workforce.

Integration does not have to stem from compassion, benevolence or pity, but rather from the recognition of the significant contribution that people with disabilities make to the State of Israel, to Israeli society and mainly to the growth of the Israeli economy.

Disability is not limiting in any aspect – work, study, relationships and life in general. People with disabilities can do anything, including work and raising a family. We only need to give them the chance! This is the way to make Israeli society healthy and strong! This stamp issue expresses Israel’s recognition of the importance of including people with disabilities in society and promoting their increased involvement in the life of the country; not only as those who receive but also and most importantly as those who want to give, contribute and share their talents with society and country.

—Oren Helman
Founder of the Facebook page “Sicuy Shaveh” (Equal Chance),
promoting integration of people with disabilities into the workplace and society

Shimon Peres (Israel 2017)

Israel will issue a stamp honoring the late Shimon Peres on September 12, 2017. From Israel Post:

Shimon Peres 1923-2016

Shimon Peres – world renowned statesman, ninth President and Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and a man who embodied action, vision and hope.

Among the founding fathers and pioneers of the State of Israel, Peres dedicated his early years to building Israel’s military deterrence and defensive capabilities and for several decades, relentlessly devoted himself to the pursuit of peace before leading Israel on the path toward becoming a global superpower in the fields of technology and innovation.

An intellectual and man of profound knowledge and wisdom, he composed numerous poems, articles and books.

In a career spanning more than sixty years, Peres loyally served the State of Israel. He held several key senior positions including President of the State of Israel, Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, Foreign Minister, Minister of the Treasury, Interior Minister, Minister of Absorption, Minister of Transportation and Communications, Minister of Information, Minister of Regional Cooperation and Development of the Negev and Galilee, and Chairman of the Opposition.

Shimon Peres was born Szymon Perski on August 2, 1923 in the town of Wiszniew in Belarus and made Aliyah (immigration to Israel) to Eretz Israel in 1934. He attended the Balfour and Geula schools in Tel Aviv and later the Ben Shemen Agricultural School. In 1941, Peres was sent to undergo agricultural training at Kibbutz Geva with the Ben Shemen group. Together with them, he joined Kibbutz Alumot in the Lower Galilee and during his early days, worked as a shepherd and a dairy farmer. Peres married Sonya (nee Gelman) in 1945 and they had three children – Prof. Tsvia Walden, Dr. Yonatan Peres and Nehemia (Chemi) Peres, and later eight grandchildren and three great- grandchildren. Sonya Peres passed away in 2011.

As Minister of Defense in 1974, Peres negotiated the interim agreement with Egypt. As Prime Minister and Foreign Minister in the 1980s, Peres conducted secret meetings with King Hussein of Jordan which constituted the basis of the historic peace agreement between Israel and Jordan. While serving as Israel’s Foreign Minister in 1994, Peres laid the foundation for future peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. In 1996, he pioneered the founding of the Peres Center for Peace, Israel’s leading NGO focused on developing and implementing innovative and cutting-edge peace building programs, in order to promote peaceful relations and co-existence between Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians.

In July 2016, Peres launched the National Israeli Innovation Center at the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.

Throughout his long career of dedicated public service, Peres initiated innovative projects in the Israeli periphery, establishing the city Nazareth lllit and many other enterprises in the regions of the Negev and Galilee. While serving as Prime Minister in the national unity government, Peres saved the Israeli economy with a crucial initiative which drastically reduced inflation from a staggering high of 400 percent and worked to promote national and international endeavors, both overtly and behind the scenes.

In 2007, Peres was elected by the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) to serve as the ninth President of the State of Israel, becoming the first Prime Minister to have also served as President. During his presidential term, Peres achieved unprecedented popularity and esteem among Israelis from all walks of life. His key goals were to strengthen Israeli society, promote Israel’s international standing and establish institutions that would promote innovative Israeli entrepreneurs and scientists.

Peres was recognized throughout the world as a leader of great stature, a statesman and visionary who represented the optimism, hope and glory of Israel. He achieved international acclaim for his years of work to promote the State of Israel on the global stage and his efforts to pursue peace. Alongside the honor of being awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize, he was presented with countless medals and awards from prominent world leaders and religious figures, most notably, the Pope.

Shimon Peres passed away at the age of 93 on September 28, 2016.

The portrait of President Peres on the stamp is based on a photograph by Jonathan Bloom, courtesy of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation.

Trump’s Visit to Israel (Israel 2017)

On Sunday, May 28th, Israel Post issued a My Own Stamp souvenir sheet commemorating U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel. It consists of 9 Israeli flag postage stamps with the USA flag and official photos of the visit.

“This is a limited and numbered item and only 1499 sheets were produced. Supply is on a first-come first-serve basis,” said a spokeswoman for Israel Post.

The sheet is priced at NIS 34 (34 shekels), which is approximately US$9.59. It can be ordered direct from Israel Post (click the link), from Israel Post’s various agencies such as the Israel Philatelic Agency NA (172 Empire Blvd., Third Floor, Brooklyn, N Y 11225) or stamp dealers.

Israel’s June Issues (Israel 2017)

From Israel Post:

Love is in the air with our June issue…romantic songs and, as it has been known to happen, romantic meetings between Jewish athletes at the Maccabiah!

We have selected 12 romantic Israeli Love Songs, reminding us of those special moments, and presented in a beautiful special stamp sheet with the inner design in gold foil.  Excerpts from the lyrics appear on the stamps in Hebrew. (Translation can be found in our accompanying information leaflet).

The 20th Maccabiah sports event is celebrated this month with a commemorative stamp. Jewish athletes will come from all over the world to compete in 40 different sports. This is not just a sporting event but a celebration of the never-ending relationship of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

Our historical WW1 Centenary series continues with General Allenby Entering Jerusalem 1917 and tells the story of how General Allenby entered the Old City of Jerusalem, after it was captured by the British, on foot out of respect for the city that is holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims. This moment ended 400 hundred years of Turkish rule in Jerusalem.

Cycling is a great way to get around busy cities, without the worry of parking. It’s also a fun, trendy sport so the focus of this month’s Road Safety ATM label is “Ride Safely”.

20th Maccabiah (Israel 2017)

[press release]
The 20th Maccabiah
Faster, Higher, Stronger

When the opening whistle was sounded on March 28th 1932, no one could have anticipated that the 20th Maccabiah would take place in the State of Israel 85 years later, with 10,000 participating athletes from 80 countries, competing in 40 different sports categories, and accompanied by over 20,000 delegates and family members.

The 390 Jewish athletes from 17 countries who competed in the first Maccabiah, organized by Maccabi World Union, could not have guessed that today the Maccabiah would be the third largest sporting competition event in the world. They could not have imagined that the best Jewish athletes in the world – including world champions and Olympic medalists – would take part in this Zionist project.

However, there is one thing that has not changed in the past 85 years: the underlying connection between Israel and the Diaspora Jews, and the central role Israel plays in Jewish identity. The Maccabiah has never been just a mere sporting event, but also a celebration of the Jewish people, the never-ending relationship of the Jewish people with Eretz Israel and the State of Israel. That is why the Maccabiah is the only international sporting event that always takes place in the same place: Israel.

This year, the 20th Maccabiah will mark 50 years of the unification of Jerusalem, the beating heart of Israel. The opening ceremony, which will take place in the Teddy stadium in Jerusalem, will salute the greatest symbols of Jewish identity through the ages.

The 20th Maccabiah stamp also celebrates and combines historical elements with the latest fashions. Colorful new graphical elements are intertwined with historical pictures of the Maccabiah. In this way, the design language combines the old and the new, and creates one consistent graphical design that emphasizes the sporting spirit, the importance of the State of Israel, the social aspects of the Maccabiah, simplicity and the Israeli spirit.

The 20th Maccabiah: 80 countries, One heart.

The stamp and First Day Cover feature athletes from different sports.