• Issue: February 1960
  • Designer: F. Stern
  • Plate no.: 11 - 12 - 18
  • Method of printing: Photogravure


This ancient town in Galilee is characterized by its narrow winding lanes and small dusty stores that are filled with age-old books, manuscripts, and general miscellany. The synagogues and cobbled streets are steeped in the mystic aura of the Kabbalists and an air of scholarship and study still pervades the town. The illustration on the IL 0.15 stamp depicts just such a street with one of the many tortuous stairways one comes across every so often.

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The town of Ashkelon is situated on the coast south of Yafo. Its name is mentioned as long as 2,700 years ago and also appears frequently in the Bible. Its importance as a port must have been great as it was fought for time after time by Egyptians, Philistines, Israelites, Syrians, Greeks, and Romans, right up to the thirteenth century when it was destroyed completely after having been stubbornly held by the Crusaders as one of their last outposts. Excavations in modern times have yielded many relics, amongst which are giant columns of a palace built by Herod, a native of Ashkelon, and as the new city of Ashkelon is built many more antiquities are constantly unearthed.

The new city is laid out according to the most modern plans on a slope overlooking the Mediterranean. Its summit is occupied by the Civic and Commercial Center of "Afridar", the heart of communal life.

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Tiberias was founded in 19 CE by Herod Antipas and named in honor of the Roman Emperor Tiberius. It lies on the shore of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), 212 meters below sea level. The city, located in the heart of Galilee, became the spiritual center of the Jews after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, and tombs of many Jewish sages are to be found there. Those of Maimonides, Rabbi Meir Baal Hanes, Rabbi Akiva and others are revered to this very day.

Tiberias is surrounded by history. To the south is Bet Yerah ("House of the Moon") with Bronze Age excavations, remains of a Roman bath and a fifth-century synagogue. Mount Arbel and the Horns of Hitim (site of the historic battle of Hitim in the year 1187) lie to the west. To the north, one can see the white, snow-capped summit of Mount Hermon. At the north end of the lake lie the interesting remains of the second-century synagogue of Kefar Nahum (Capernaum) and a few of the sites of biblical and historical interest. The healing, hot springs of Tiberias, famous already in Roman times, are still one of the main attractions of this idyllically situated city.

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Air-Mail Stamps: Town Views (I)