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Robert Capa: Israel 1948-1950

Robert Capa documents the lives of the immigrants who travelled to the newly formed state of Israel

Robert Capa

Child at the Sha'arHa'aliya transit camp for new immigrants. Near Haifa, Israel. 1950. © | Magnum Photos
Robert Capa After immigrants arrive in Israel, each one is provided with a bedstead and a mattress. After dis-embarking they are first taken to Shaar Aliyah (The Gate), a transit camp, where they get their med (...)
Robert Capa Mayor of Tel-Aviv, Israel Rokach, also leader of general zionists (political party) making a political speech at time of Municipal elections of the Tel Aviv-Yafo region at the Hatikva Quarter. Tel- (...)
Robert Capa Man carrying a wooden beam over his shoulder. Jerusalem, Israel. 1949. © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography | Magnum Photos
Robert Capa Chaim Weizmann, Israel's first President, voting at the municipal elections. Tel Aviv, Israel. November 14, 1950. © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography | Magnum Photos
Robert Capa Sha'ar Ha'aliya Absorption Camp, where immigrants are placed until housing is found for them. Haifa, Israel. © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography | Magnum Photos
Robert Capa A party, the girl dancing is a newly arrived Russian immigrant. Tel Aviv, Israel. 1948. © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography | Magnum Photos
Robert Capa People are evacuated from the burning Altalena. The wounded are taken care of by Israel's Red Cross, under the supervision of the Haganah. © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography | Magnum Photos
Robert Capa The Altalena burning. Tel Aviv, Israel. June 22, 1948. © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography | Magnum Photos
Robert Capa Old quarter of Jerusalem just after the cease fire of summer of 48, the water truck renews its rounds, this is the day of Sabbath (Friday) and everything must be prepared according to rites. Jerusa (...)
Robert Capa The 'Central front'. Members of a Kibbutz (Jewish settlement) hiding in a trench during an Arab air-raid.May-June, 1948. © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography | Magnum Photos
Robert Capa The 'central front'. The Israeli government army (Haganah), marching towards the front line, to defend a Kibbutz (Jewish settlement). May 1948. © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography | Magnum Photos

With the outbreak of hostilities in Israel in 1948, Robert Capa came to the country to witness and photograph the ceremony of the declaration of the State and the War of Independence. Over the following two years, Capa revisited Israel a number of times to document the waves of immigration, the transit camps, and the deep uncertainty facing the new-born Jewish nation.

Despite Capa’s fame as a photographer of wars, these pictures represent a part of his work which is marked by immediacy, warmth, and intimacy with his subject. The images presented here are closer and more familiar than much of than Capa’s earlier work, perhaps because he himself, having fled Hungary for Berlin and Paris, was a symbol of the wandering, driven and desperate Jewish Diaspora.