Petah Tiqwa

  • Issue: June 1977
  • Designer: M. Pereg
  • Stamp size: 51.4 x 20 mm
  • Plate no.: 502
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

Petah Tiqwa which is today one of the most prosperous towns in lsrael, was founded 100 years ago by a group of very orthodox pioneers from the old Yishuv in Jerusalem. This group of people had grown tired of living on "haluka" (charity) and decided to found a Jewish village to be based on "Tora and Toil" where they could earn an honourable living. To realise their dream, they founded a company called "Cultivation of the Soil and Redemption of the Land" in the year 5636 (1876) which worked hard to find a suitable piece of land.

Among the active leaders of this group were to be found Rabbi Joel. Moshe Solomon, Rabbi David Meir Gutmann, Rabbi Yehoshua Stampfer, Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Yehuda Raab, Rabbi Zerah Barnett and Rabbi Michael Leib Katz. Their spiritual leader was the Gaon Rabbi Akiva Yosef Schlesinger (" Ish") who drew-up a detailed plan for founding a model Jewish village based on the Tora.

After great efforts in overcoming endless difficulties, the initiators of the scheme succeeded in purchasing, with their own funds, the land belonging to the abandoned Arab village of "Um-Labbes" near the Yarkon River. They called their settlement "the Door of Hope", basing it on the passage in Hosea II, 15-and I will give her vineyards from thence, and the Valley of Achor for a door of hope".

The first parcel of land was purchased on the eve of Rosh Hodesh Av 5638 (1878) and on the 7th of Heshvan 5639 (3.11.1878) the founders of Petah Tiqwa moved on to the site and ploughed the first furrow in the middle of an area plagued by malarial swamps and hostile neighbours. The taking over of this site marked the beginning of the Jewish resettlement of the Land of Israel. It is no wonder, therefore, that Petah Tiqwa was honoured with the title of "Mother of the Colonies" -Petah Tiqwa was followed by a series of settlements established by members of the First Aliya which in their turn became the base of the revived Jewish settlement in the Land of its Fathers.

The stormy history of Petah Tiqwa-" Mother of the Colonies"- is composed of a long string of achievements and failures- periods of suffering and struggle against human and natural afflictions. The founding fathers had no experience of farming and had to contend not only with the difficult living conditions but also with financial problems and within a short time their funds were exhausted. But their strong will and deep faith in their work gave them the strength and the courage to continue to work the land to which they had become attached body and soul.

The original settlers were joined a year later by another Jerusalem group called "the Yarkonim" who settled near the Yarkon River in spite of the warnings of the "veterans" of the dangers of malaria in the area.

The year 1881 was a critical one for the young colony-malaria played havoc with the lives of the settlers and they were compelled to abandon their beloved village for a while. They returned to the area again, however, in 1883 and temporarily transferred their "settlement" to nearby Yahud where the air was fresh and healthy. At Yahud they were absorbed without difficulty and took a share in the rehabilitation of the "Mother of the Colonies". After an interval of no more than a year, the veterans and the "Bialystokers" transferred from Yahud to Petah Tiqwa as the problems of malaria were solved, one by one. They re-established the settlement and were joined by additional settlers who flocked there from all corners of the world until the colony began to take on the appearance of a small-scale Ingathering of the Exiles.

At about this time too, the Russian "Hibat Zion" movement came to the help of the courageous settlers and the "famous benefactor-Baron Rothschild-also added them in overcoming their problems. But it was the burning devotion of the settlers to their ideal of achieving economic independence, their hard work and willingness to make do with little that enabled them, in a comparatively short time, to put the colony on a firm footing and develop it into a flourishing viable Centre of agriculture. In this manner, the "Mother of the Colonies" became the "Mother" of the various branches of Jewish agriculture.

Over the years, Petah Tiqwa served as an "Ulpan" for the thousands of worker pioneers where they learned the elements of farming and living in the land before going out to found new settlements all over the country.

It was here, during the period of the Second Aliya that the foundations of the first Communal Smallholder Settlement (En Ganim) were laid down and it was here in Petah Tiqwa that the principal workers' parties-" Hapoel Hazair" and "Ahdut Avoda" were founded. Today, Petah Tiqwa is a "City and Mother in Israel", covering an area of 38,000 dunams, with a population approaching 120,000. It is to the credit of the city that in spite of the growing industrialization of the area (within the municipal boundaries are to be found heavy and light industrial plants, workshops and commercial centres), citrus-fruit orchards and agriculture have retained to this very day a significant place in its economy.

Petah Tiqwa is widely-known for several of its public institutions which include a highly-attractive museum complex; the "Yad Lebanim" museum (the first and largest of its kind in the country); the "Mankind" museum (the only one of its kind in the country); a biological museum; a zoo; "Bet Neta" (devoted to the history of the Labour Movement); a 1,200 dunam park at the source of the Yarkon River and the "Afek" archaeological site around the Antipatris fortifications. There are also such important medical and rehabilitation institutions such as the Beilinson and Sharon Hospitals and "Bet Rivka". All these institutions draw visitors and patients from all over the country.

The city continues to grow apace and attracts both new immigrants and children of the old Yishuv.

Petah Tiqwa is at the same time an old and a new city- one in which it is and will continue to be comfortable and pleasant to dwell.

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Petah Tiqwa centennial