Israel’s First Aerogramme 1948?

The nascent State of Israel came into existence on Friday afternoon 14th May 1948. The British Mandate postal services had already shut down operations and the new Israel postal service did not commence operation until Sunday 16th May. This was due to the almost immediate on-set of the Sabbath (at sunset on Friday afternoon) following the declaration of Statehood. At that time all work and public services are suspended till nightfall on Saturday.

The Doar Ivri tamps had already been (covertly) printed, but as there had not yet been an agreement as to the official name of the State, the stamps were printed with the words (in Hebrew) “Hebrew Mail.” British Mandate stamps were no longer valid for the prepayment of postage.

As all civilian flights to and from Palestine/Israel had terminated on 25th April no postal stationery was prepared in advance. International flights restarted sometime in June so initially there was little demand for aerogrammes.

Attached is a photocopy of a Mandate aerogramme with its official printed 25 mils stamp covered by the new Doar Ivri stamps. An enterprising collector had it canceled with the First Day postmark of 16th May 1948. Although Israel was not to issue an official aerogramme until 1950, this philatelic item is certainly, the first private aerogramme ofIsrael and a record of its postal history.

Figure 1

Original Mandate aerogramme

Figure 2

Mandate aerogramme stamp covered by the new Doar Ivri stamps.