1948 interim travel document - Our Passports
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  • 1948 interim travel document
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1948 interim travel document

 

Israel’s “first” travel permits for overseas.

 

The newly founded State of Israel, as like many other governments, prepared in advance the proper documentation, currency, stamps and more, for official issue and use by and for its citizens. Thus, towards the end of 1947, following the United Nations declaration for the termination of the British colonial mandate, began to prepare itself for the day after the declaration of independence. This preparation, as mentioned above, also would include the forming and organizing of the would-be-to-come functioning bodies and ministries.

 

Prior to the actual date of independence, the Jewish Agency for Palestine (JAFP) began to locate foreign & domestic printers for the printing of currency (by Thomas De La Rue in the UK for example), while the revenue stamps, travel documents and ID’s where printed locally at a printing press near Tel Aviv and also at Jerusalem later on.

 

The document in this article is related to the early “interim” period of time (of several weeks only) where temporary documentation would be prepared, and would be replaced, later on, by a more fixed and permanent legitimate issue.

 

The island of Cyrus is notorious for the chain of detention internment camps that operated from August 1946 to January of 1949 and were erected for the holding of Jewish civilians, caught while attempting to immigrate “illegally” into British Palestine.

 

The British authorities erected several camps, and at the peak of their operation, had close to 9 camps (originally the first were built for holding post-WWI Turkish POW’s). The camps had full welfare and entertainment facilities inside: News papers, theaters, grocery and commodity stores and even issuing their own “camp currency” seen as canteen script as well (printed in Palestine).

 

The document here was most likely printed around April or May of 1948 and was meant to be used as a travel document or together with a passport (British or foreign) for leaving the Mandate during the interim period that existed between the time the British left and the State of Israel came to being with an official governing entity in place.

 

Exit permit number 533 was issued to Mordechai Vinitsky by the “Central Commander in the Service of the People” on May 24th 1948 at Tel Aviv (this organization was formed locally by the Jewish leadership following the November 29th 1947 UN declaration and its main object was the recruiting and training of the local Jewish population for the war to come, operating from the end of 1947 to the declaration on May 1948). The exit permit was to be used together with local British Palestinian passport number 88221. The permit was valid for 3 months and good for traveling to Cyprus on official business, most likely with connection to the detainees.

 

The document was stamped and endorsed even with the interim revenue stamp as well, at the back. An additional point needs to be added: The Israeli Government continued to respect and endorsed the British issued passports up to the end of 1948. The ministry of interior issued inside travel visas and the diplomatic missions abroad endorsed their official approval of their use.

 

I have added several images and a translation for this exit permit as well.

 

 

Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.

 

 

Neil Kaplan
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