A photograph from June 30, 1948 shows Great Britain handing the port of Haifa to the Israel Defense Forces, with a formation of naval officers raising the flags of Israel and the Israeli navy for the first time in the port. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion is seen at left, with his wife Paula. (Kedem Auction House)
(JTA) — May 9 was Israel’s Independence Day, which commemorates the country’s official Declaration of Independence in 1948. The country celebrated with rallies, fireworks displays, flyovers by the Israeli Air Force and family barbecues.
It was a hard-fought independence — the day after the declaration, a coalition of Arab armies attacked and started what Israel calls its War of Independence. Israel emerged victorious, but not until after nearly 10 months of fighting, and thousands of casualties.
In the coming days, the Israeli Kedem Auction House is auctioning off a collection of 26 rare photographs from the war. Here’s a selection of some of them — which capture both the intensity of the historical moment and snippets of everyday life during wartime, from both the Israeli and Arab sides.