Israeli service passport from 1951
Used by the famed Dayan family for official business.
Israeli service passports were issued with specific connection to vital government business when the user had to travel abroad. According to a foreign ministry memo dating from October 13th 1952, once the new Israeli passports were ready for being used (printing has just finished at the Government Printer in central Israel and the laissez-passer’s were the only means of travel documents allocated by the State of Israel up to that point), only foreign ministry and government officials could make use of service passports, and even members of parliament (Knesset members) where not issued them. But the issued sample here is different. It was issued to senior Knesset member on his official visit to the United Sates; his case was also an exception due to its importance to the growth of the country.
The images here are of interest for two main reasons:
- An early example of an official Israeli diplomatic/service travel document;
- Used by a member of the famed Dayan family: Shmuel Dayan who was the father of the Israeli general Moshe Dayan.
Issued at the Hakirya, a former 19th century German colony, later the location of a large British army base, it was finally taken over by Jewish fighters in first half of 1948, towards the war of independence. Document number 1140 was issued on August 31st 1951 by Zvi Avnon – head of Consular Section (extended again in 1952 by Judith Bergman – deputy head of consular section). In 1959 the holder’s political position was amended to indicate that he was also the Vice Chairman of the Knesset (parliament).
In 1953 Mr. Dayan went on an official trip to the US for the Israeli Settlement Movement (no connection to the present settlements today): the movement was dealing with smaller communal villages, locally called Moshav, in Israel proper and not only on the issue of raising funds & donations, but also to attract potential new immigrants to contribute to the growth of the population inside the villages. Already American farmers were living in Israel, one such location was Beer Tuvia (one of the main points for the trip was to hasten the immigration of 53 US farmer families to that settlement).
The passport has some attractive early service and official visas issued by various foreign missions in Israel. It is nicely used and well traveled. I was fortunate several years ago to have been sent these images by a fellow collector in Canada or the US, I am not so sure were exactly. Due to the time that has passed and moving houses, I was not able to keep details of the individual, sadly. This is, in my opinion, a gem for any serious passport collection.
Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.