• Issue: November 1959
  • Designer: M. & G. Shamir
  • Plate no.: 157
  • Method of printing: Photogravure


Merhavyah is a kibbutz (collective settlement) situated south of Haifa in the Valley of Jezreel (Yizre'el). It was founded in 1911 as one of the first Jewish settlements in that area, which in those days was a swampy and barren stretch of land. In 1959 the settlement had 600 inhabitants, most of them working in agriculture, and it was the center of Ha-Kibbutz Ha-Artzi with its own printing press and publishing house.

Not far from it are to be found the remains of the Crusader fort "Castrum Fabae." This spot was known as Kyamon by Greeks and is mentioned in the book of Judith (7: 3) as having been the encampment of Assyrian troops under Holophernes.

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Yesud Ha-Ma'alah

Yesud Ha-Ma'alah, a quiet village in the Upper Jordan Valley, the name of which is taken from the Bible (Ezra 7: 9), was founded by settlers from Mezhirich, a little town in Poland. Together with a number of settlers from Safed (Zefat), they bought an area of land on the shore of Huleh, known also as Lake Meron, which has since been drained, thus reclaiming a large tract of fertile land. However, at that time this was still swampland, which bred malaria-carrying mosquitoes from which the settlers suffered much in those early years along with many other hardships. Later on, when things became too difficult, the Baron Edmond de Rothschild extended his help and took the settlement under his patronage, thereby enabling the settlers to carry on with their work and stay on the land.

In 1959 the village covered an area of about 8,000 dunams and had a population of more than 500.

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In 1910 Deganyah was established at the site where the Jordan River leaves Lake Kinneret on its way south. The settlers termed the settlement a "Kvutza" (group) wishing thereby to express the principle of collectivity. They made their motto: Equal Rights - Work Freedom.

They had intended to make Deganyah a sort of "Family commune", with not more than twenty members, but its development proved much more dynamic than anticipated, and in 1959 it had - together with Deganyah B. - about a thousand inhabitants.

During Israel's War of Independence, Deganyah had a hard time in face of attacks by the invading Arab armies. At one time things became extremely critical when the Syrians approached the settlement with tanks and infantry. The settlers were poorly armed and no more could be made available to them, as arms were very scarce in all Israel in those days. Nevertheless, they refused to evacuate even temporarily, and preferred to see it through, come what may. When the attack came, the Syrian tanks drove right up to the perimeter of the settlement but were beaten back, some knocked out by "Molotov cocktails." One of them, completely gutted, stands to this day in the settlement's yard.

The three stamps depict three agricultural settlements celebrating their jubilees: Merhavyah, Yesud Ha-Ma'alah and Deganyah. On the tab for each settlement is a map showing its location.

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75th Anniversary of the First Jewish Settlements