Over the years, various Palestinian leaders and movements have claimed that the Jews do not have a right to the land of Israel because they lack connection to the land. This argument is often made with inaccurate maps and statements. However, as most Zionists (and historians) would argue, this connection to the land, officially called Palestine while under British rule, is very real. Not only have people always lived in this area, but Jews have always had a presence.

1940-1941 Keren Hayesod Calender
1940-1941 Keren Hayesod Calendar
A Yemenite immigrant in Emek Hefer
A Yemenite immigrant in Emek Hefer

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, “A common misperception is that the Jews were forced into the [Diaspora] by the Romans after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the year 70 A.D. and then, 1,800 years later, suddenly returned to Palestine, demanding their country back. In reality, the Jewish people have maintained ties to their historic homeland for more than 3,700 years. A national language and a distinct civilization have been maintained . . .By the early 19th century—years before the birth of the modern Zionist movement—more than 10,000 Jews lived throughout what is today Israel.”

Tending the cattle at the Wizo Girls' Agricultural School, Nahalal
Tending the cattle at the Wizo Girls’ Agricultural School, Nahalal

In 1940, Keren Hayesod, or the United Israel Appeal (at that time the United Palestine Appeal), published their 1940-1941 (5701-5702) calendar. The calendar not only included information on Keren Hayesod, but also pictures of pre-statehood Israel, also known as Palestine. On the first page a reminder said, “Through the year, may this calendar be a reminder to you of those men and women in Palestine who are the vanguard of the Jewish Renaissance and who, with your cooperation, are laying the groundwork for a great structure, which will not only be the storehouse for Jewish life, but the basis for the re-creation of the Jewish values, from [which] the Jewish people and mankind as a whole may benefit.”

Keren Hayesod was started in 1920 and has been a part of the growth of Israel ever since. Subsequently, the Arab boycott of Jewish interests started in 1921, and the organization was challenged immediately.

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This calendar serves as a significant reminder of the Jewish presence in the Middle East before 1948. The images depict places that many who have been to Israel would recognize. Additionally, the calendar contains Torah prose, image descriptions and both English and Hebrew dates.

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Rachel Wolf

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