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Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF - 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy

ISRAEL. Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF

Israel, 1948 -1949

58 gelatin silver prints (various sizes, on average 4 x 6 ½ inches), mounted on Bristol paper. Minor wear and stains. Cloth folder.

“As a people, our monuments never commemorate victories. They commemorate the names of the fallen. We don’t need the Arc de Triomphe; we have Masada, Tel-Hai, and the Warsaw Ghetto – where the battle was lost, but the war of Jewish existence was won.” – David Elazar

This splendid collection of dramatic photographs documents the activity of the IDF during the second stage of the War of Independence, following the second cease-fire. Subjects include Egyptian prisoners of war in Nitzana during “Horev Operation”; conquest of Uja el-Hafir (Nitzana); Nitzanim; Negba; Medical care of prisoners; Jeep unit of “Shualey Shimshon”; conquest of villages and bombing buildings; plane towards landing; horsemen near Gedera; Metzudat Ko’ach (Nebi Yosha fort); and military ceremonies and parades. 

These riveting images were made by highly skilled professional photographers documenting the birth of the modern state of Israel. One of the photographs has been identified as by the celebrated military photographer Boris Carmi (1914-2002). It is likely that most of the other photographs were taken by Carmi and other professional photographers working as military photographers during the War of Independence.

Provenance: IDF officer (and later convicted spy) Israel Ber (Beer), with a printed and manuscript presentation label in Hebrew: “to Lieutenant Colonel Israel Ber as a souvenir for joint work in the Operations Directorate.” Ber served in the IDF as a Lieutenant Colonel during the war and subsequently was a noted authority on the War of Independence. In 1961 he was arrested on suspicion of spying for the USSR, and he was sentenced to fifteen years in prison.