Dayan family Mandate passport - Our Passports
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Dayan family Mandate passport


1946 issue for Zionist Conference in Switzerland.



Here is a rare Mandate issued passport used by a member of the famed Israeli Dayan family.



But before we can continue with this historical important document, allow me to point out some important points regarding the issuing of British Colonial passports from the Middle East, from the Mandate of Palestine.



When it comes to understanding the issuing and usage of such passports, one should clearly make a distinguishing difference between those issued BEFORE and AFTER 1920; two different systems of government ruling at the time and the types that were printed and put into use.



British Military rule or administration can be considered as the early period of time from 1918 to 1920 and where close to 400 years of Turkish rule came to an end when the Allied forces liberated Turkish Palestine, followed by British Military rule or authority. The military authorities in the region, most likely the EEF (Egypt Expeditionary Forces) issued the first travel documents, the Laissez-Passer: it was a large sheet of paper, rather long and printed on poor quality paper as well, with English, French, Arabic and Hebrew text, with the printing being done on both sides. We can assume the first sample came out at the end of 1918 or early 1919 and was used up to the last weeks of the Military Authority of 1920.



For the next 28 years, the British occupiers issued a “civilian” form of travel document that was based on a standard colonial passport, in the form of booklet, and those began to appear at the end of 1926 (printed by Thomas De La Rue in London at the beginning of 1925). Between 1921 to around 1925 the British issued laissez-passers in the form of a single large sheet folded into a brown leather style brown jacket covered binding (various Mandatory travel documents (laissez-passers) appeared, majority being printed by the Department of Immigration & Travel (I&T). Consular samples are considered the rarest and most desirable by us collectors and those with the applied I&T over-print are the scarcest of them all).



Here are the main highlights of the Mandatory issued travel documents:



  1. early 1918- mid 1920: Egypt Expeditionary Forces issued laissez-passer, but private local issued documents could exist- exceptionally rare;



  1. 1921-1926: non-Military civilian issued travel papers – also Laissez-Passer- were as consular issued specimens are the rarest;



  1. 1926-1929: British Mandate Passports which are considered the 1st type to appear, scarce but obtainable;



  1. 1930/31-1948: the last type to be issued and printed for use, standards brown covered passports – relatively easy to locate & common (uniqueness is determined by the visas and place of issuing).



The passport in this article falls under the last version to be issued in Palestine. Document numbered 222256 was issued to the mother of famed Israeli General Moshe Dayan, issued to Deborah Dayan, wife of Shmuel Dayan, who would become one of Israel’s first Members of Knesset (Israeli parliament), on November 21st 1946 at Jerusalem.



The document was used for attending the 50th anniversary of the first Zionist Congress of 1897 that took place in Basel, Switzerland, and then chaired by Israel’s founding father, the one who put forward the century’s long dream of a sate for the Jewish people, Theodor Herzl. Deborah applied for the Swiss entry visa at the consulate in Jerusalem on November 26th, followed by transit visas from France and Italy as well. Interesting enough, she was most likely issued an Allied travel permit to cross occupied Germany as well – we can tell this was the case by examining page 10, which states that the holder was issued a military entry permit No. 056675 at Paris on January 8th 1947. The remaining entry and exit markings are for France and Italy, on transit for returning back to the Mandate, arriving on the 10th at the port of Haifa.




Images source: archive collection abroad, internet.





Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.

Neil Kaplan
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