'The parade that didn't march:'
The State of Israel's first parade, held in Tel Aviv on May 5, 1949, didn't get very far. In fact, it didn't get anywhere at all due to what the Ha'aretz daily called "impaired organization." About 300 000 people lining the parade route were witness to "a blockage near Mughrabi Square," which cut off the planned route, consequently causing the cancellation of the parade. Red-faced government officials set up a commission of inquiry, which ruled to fire those responsible for the logistical snafu.
Two views of the event, from the official state archives:
And here is a video of Independence Day in 1951.
A 'second Israel' develops in 'ma'abarot' transit camps as mass Aliyah grows:
The years between 1948 and 1951 witnessed the largest migration ever to reach the shores of modern Israel. This influx began at a time when the state was in the throes of its greatest struggle for survival, the War of Independence, and continued throughout a period troubled by both security concerns and economic hardship. In the mid-1950s, a second wave arrived in Israel. The immigrants of the country's first decade radically altered the demographic landscape of Israeli society as well as the balance between Israel and the Jewish diaspora. Many of today's social issues are rooted in this mass migration: Israel's rapid economic growth, social stratification and the formation of new political frameworks and elites.
Some 688,000 immigrants came to Israel during the country's first 3 and a half years at an average of close to 200,000 a year. As approximately 650,000 Jews lived in Israel at the time of the establishment of the state, this meant in effect a doubling of the Jewish population, even in light of the fact that some 10% of the new immigrants left the country during the next few years. Although immigration declined rapidly during the early 1950s, another 166,000 arrived in the middle of the decade.
The first immigrants to reach the new state were survivors of the Holocaust, some from Displaced Persons Camps in Germany, Austria and Italy, and others from British Detention Camps in Cyprus. The remnants of certain communities were transferred virtually in their entirety, for example Bulgarian and Yugoslav Jewry. Large sections of other communities such as those from Poland and Rumania came to Israel during the first years.
After the initial influx of European Jews, the percentage of Jews from Moslem countries in Asia and Africa increased considerably (1948 - 14.4%, 1949 - 47.3%, 1950 - 49.6%, 1951 - 71.0%). During 1950 and 1951, special operations were undertaken to bring over Jewish communities perceived to be in serious danger: the Jews of Yemen and Aden (Operation Magic Carpet) and the Jewish community in Iraq (Operation Ezra and Nehemia). During the same period, the vast majority of Libyan Jewry came to the country. Considerable numbers of Jews immigrated from Turkey and Iran as well as from other North African countries (Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria).
Immigration to Israel (1948-1951) By Major Countries of Origin:
Country Number (Thousands)
- Iraq 123.3
- Rumania 118.0
- Poland 106.4
- Yemen and Aden 48.3
- Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria 45.4
- Bulgaria 37.3
- Turkey 34.5
- Libya 31.0
- Iran 21.9
- Czechoslovakia 18.8
- Hungary 14.3
- Germany, Austria 10.8
- Egypt 8.8
- USSR 8.2
- Yugoslavia 7.7
Read more here.
Meanwhile, the government made efforts to develop incoming tourism revenue, including producing this film produced by the Tourism Ministry.
Internally, the government also produced films for local consumption for urban dwellers on news and events taking place in the fledgling country's periphery.
Iraqi Aliyah begins:
Aliyah from Iraq began in April 1950, after the parliament in Baghdad approved a law allowing Jews to leave Iraq – but also stripping them of their citizenship after a certain period. Since the law did not officially cancel a ban on emigration to Israel, Iraqi Jews were first flown to Cyprus, and from there to Israel.
With the immigrants came new, Middle Eastern musical traditions in contrast to the primarily European music that was commonly performed by Jews in Israel and pre-state Palestine prior to that period.
The (days) of the locust:
In April 1952, massive swarms of locusts descended on Israeli crops on farms and kibbutzim throughout the south of the country.
However, the Ministry of Agriculture quickly took measures to contain and minimize the pestilential threat, and a few swarms which covered the area were quickly destroyed before they could cause major damage.
A recurring phenomena since the Biblical Plagues which afflicted Pharonic Egypt prior to the Exodus of the Israelite slaves, similar swarms attacked Egypt and parts of southern Israel in May, 2013.
Violinist Jascha Heifetz assaulted over performing Strauss:
April 1953 saw a series of violent attacks against Soviet diplomatic officials in Israel, as well as upon the noted violinist Jascha Heifetz over for performing compositions by Austrian composer, Richard Strauss, due to Holocaust survivors' sensitivities.
From Time magazine, April 20, 1953:
"Backstage in Haifa's Armon Cinema last week, Violinist Jascha Heifetz was tuning up for his afternoon recital when a messenger handed him a letter. It was from Israel's Minister of Justice (and chairman of the Israel Philharmonic), relaying a request from the Ministry of Education and Culture that Heifetz drop Richard Strauss's Sonata from his program 'because of the strong feeling in Israel against the playing of modern German music.'
"It was the latest upcropping of a 20-year-old unofficial ban that began when the Nazis began persecuting the Jews. Israel's extremist press threatened trouble every time the question of German music... "
Militant groups of Jews who called themselves by different names such as "Kingdom of Israel," "The Black Boot," or "The White Boot," took responsibility for the attacks.
There were also cases of threatening letters delivered to, among others, butchers that sold non-kosher meat, and book stores that sold Russian literature.