Recently I purchased a registered envelope from the British Mandate of Palestine period. The envelope was mailed from Ein Harod to Tel Aviv on May 21,1939. The registered envelope has an Ein Harod post mark. However, it has a mute blue mandate registry label with the hand written name Kefar Yehezkel (Figure 1). The return address on the reverse side of the envelope is Kefar Yehezkel. This anomaly of community names between the registration label and the cancellation stimulated investigate it since officially Kefar Yehezkel opened a post office only on January 15, 1940 and closed it on April 30, 1948. So, how come there is an Ein Harod postmark on a letter mailed from Kefar Yehezkel?
In order to have a better appreciation this phenomena I consulted a few references. Among them was David Dorfman’s Postmarks Of The Palestine Mandate1,2,3. Under the entry Kefar Yehezkel he explains how this seemingly anomaly occurred. It is actually a fascinating picture of Palestine postal history.
Ein Harod and Kefar Yehezkel are located in the Gilboa Region. There are two additional settlements in the Gilboa Region that were serviced by the Ein Harod post office: Geva and Tel Yosef (Figure 2). These four settlements were established within one year, 1921, but only two of them had a post office: Ein Harod and Kefar Yehezkel.
On September 10, 1938, during the Arab Revolution in Palestine, also known as the Disturbance of 1936-1939, the Ein Harod railway station and post office was destroyed by Palestinian Arabs. Therefore, on September 11, 1938, the Ein Harod post office started operating from the settlement of Kefar Yehezkel. The Kefar Yehezkel office operated under the name ofEin Harod until the end of 1939. This explains why my registered envelope has an Ein Harod cancellation with the Kefar Yehezkel hand written label.
From November 30, 1927, until December 16, 1936, Ein Harod had three different postmarks and the spelling of the postmark was Ain Harod 1,3 (Figure 3). From December 9, 1936, until September 10, 1938, the spelling was changed to Ein Harod 1, 3 (Figure 3). Dates after September 10, 1938 for postmark number 4 were used from Kefar Yehezkel 3.
On August 1, 1939, the Ein Harod post office reopened, moved into the Ein Harod Kibbutz and changed the postmark to Meshek Ein Harod 2, 3 (Figure 4). The newly located post office operated until the end of the British Mandate on May 14, 1948. All together, the Ein Harod post office had eight different postmarks, three under the name Ain Harod, two under the name Ein Harod and three under the name of Meshek Ein Harod.
During the operation of the Ein Harod post office either from the railway station or Kefar Yehezkel, it serviced four different settlements in the Gilboa Region: Moshav Kefar Yehezkel, Kevutzath Geva, Kibbutz Ein Harod and Kibbutz Tel Yosef.
On January 15, 1940, a hiatus of five a half months, Kefar Yehezkel office resumed itsits operation. However,this time it was independent from Ein Harod and had its own postmarks (Figure 5). The office closed on April 30, 19484• Geva and Tel Yosef continued to be serviced by the Meshek Ein Harod office.
From our study of the Ein Harod post office it was determined that the registered envelope with the Ein Harod postmark and the Kefar Yehezkel mute hand written label was mailed from Kefar Yehezkel because the Ein Harod office was transferred to Kefar Yehezkel on September 11, 1938. The transfer occurred a day after the vandalism of the railway station of Ein Harod by Palestinian Arabs.
A hand drawn registration label with a written designation in it is not a unique phenomenon”. In regard to Ein Harod, I know of four more examples:
- The cover has the spelling Ain Harod and was mailed on April 30, 1931.
- The spelling is Ein Harod and was mailed on April 29, 1934 5 (p. 170,#27).
- The cover is recorded by Sacher as Ein Harod on an office of OHMS cover with registration label Kefar Yehezkel 6. The cover arrived in Haifa onJune 30,1939.
- The last example is reported in Y. Tsachor auction catalog 7 and described as Ein Harod (no. 4) and mailed to Haifa on October 19, 1938 with a return address of Tel Yosef. The cover is usual because the registry label is drawn by hand with registration number No. 758 (Figure 6).
From the above information one can assume that until the opening of the Kefar Yehezkel post office, the Ein Harod office functioned and serviced the three other settlements. As a matter of fact, 1 have in my collection envelopes that will confirm this assumption:
- A letter cancelled Ain Harod on March 28, 1938 with a Kibbutz Geva return address. This letter was mailed from the railway station office.
- A letter cancelled Kefar Yehezkel on March 21, 1940.
- A letter cancelled on March 16, 1941 in Meshek Ein Harod with a Kefar Yehezkel return address.
- It is worth noting that the envelope was cancelled Meshek Ein Harod despite the fact that Kefar Yehezkel already had its own post office.
- A letter mailed from Meshek Ein Harod on February 16, 1944 with a Tel Yosef return address. This letter was mailed from Kibbutz Ein Harod.
From the above discussion we learned why we find Kefar Yehezkel hand written on a registration label and an Ein Harod cancellation. Sacher illustrates another example of a registration label with hand written Kefar Yehezkel and an Ein Harod cancellation”, However, one can expect to find more mute registration labels from Geva and Tel Yosef The writer would appreciate any comments on the subject matter.
In 1952 Kibbutz Ein Harod split into two settlements, Ein Harod Ihud and Ein Harod Meuhad. Nowadays these five settlements are serviced by the Israel Post, Mobile Post Service.
- Kefar Yehezkel, Gilboa Mobile Post # 18925.
- Geva, Gilboa Mobile Post # 18915.
- Ein Harod Ihud, Yisrael Mobile Post # 18960,
- Ein Harod Meuhad, Yisrael Mobile Post # 18965.
- Tel Yosef Yisrael Mobile Post # 19132.
- Dorfman, David. Postmarks of the Palestine Mandate Part I. (Chicago, IL: David Dorfman), 1973.
- Dorfman, David. Postmarks of the Palestine Mandate Part II. (Chicago, IL: David Dorfman), 1974.
- Dorfman, David. Palestine Mandate Postmarks. (Chicago, IL:David Dorfman), 1985.
- Zywierz, Tobias. The Zobbel Website! A Short IntroductionTo The Philately of Palestine, 2004. www..zobbd.dc/stamp/pal_,inc. hrm. 2004.
- Adlerblum, Burton S. “Non- Standard Registration Indicia,” The Israel Philatelist, Vol. LVIII, No.5: 168-175. (Maple Grove, MN: Society of Israei Philatelists), 2007.
- Sacher, Michael. The Postal Markings of Mandate Palestine. The London Philatelist 472, PI #46 (London: The Royal Philatelic Society of London, 1995).
- Tsachor, Yacov. Auction Catalogue #31, Lot # 205; Photo :16, 2008.