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Israel's History In Photographs

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Preacher Mendenhall John Dennis in the center surrounded by his family in 1885. After 1860, he lived in Ohio, Massachusetts, and Washington State. Before 1860 his name was Mendel Diness of Jerusalem. (Special Collections, Fine Arts Library, Harvard University)
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Perhaps one of the first photographs of Jews at the Western Wall, photographed by Diness, 1859. (Special Collections, Fine Arts Library, Harvard University)
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Mishkenot Sha'ananim in Jerusalem under construction, beneath Moshe Montefiore's windmill. The building project was the first Jewish neighborhood built outside of the Old City, 1860. (Special Collections, Fine Arts Library, Harvard University)
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Picture of the Temple Mount and Western Wall by Diness, 1859. (Special Collections, Fine Arts Library, Harvard University)
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Bergheim's picture of the Kotel, 1865.iii (Library of Congress)
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The colony founder, George Jones Adams, circa 1841. (Library of Congress)
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The American Colony encampment on the sea shore near Jaffa, 1866. (with permission of the Maine Historical Society)
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Letter from Maine Governor Joshua Chamberlain asking about the "Jaffa colonists," 1867. (Shapell Foundation)
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Writer and actress Madam Lydia Mamreoff Von Finkelstein Mountford, a keen observer of life in the Holy Land. (Flickr, public domain)
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The American Colony near Jaffa, 1866-7. (Library of Congress)
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A Yemenite Jew standing above the village of Silwan. From his dress and long hair and side curls (peyot), he can be identified as a member of the Jewish Habbani tribe.i The Yemenites lived there in caves upon their arrival in 1882, circa 1901 (Library of Congress). The men of the Habbani tribe were known for their courage and strength and even served as mercenaries and bodyguards for local Muslim leaders, such as Emir Abdullah of Jordan. (See page 83.)
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Original prayer (top) written by foot by the scribe in Jerusalem, 1882, and an English translation. (Library of Congress)iv
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King Abdullah I of Jordan with his Habbani Jewish bodyguards, the brothers Sayeed, Salaah, and Saadia Sofer, c. 1922. (World History Archive/Alamy)
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Yemenite Jew near Yemin Moshe, Mishkenot Sha'ananim project in Jerusalem, circa 1899. (Library of Congress)v
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Portrait of a "Constantinople Jewish Guide," circa 1880. (Ottoman Imperial Archives, author's collection)
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A British soldier guiding a pack mule through the mud in Gully Ravine during the Gallipoli campaign, 1915. The mules were used to transport water and ammunition to the troops and bodies back to the coast. Could he be from the Zion Mule Corps? (Imperial War Museums)
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Recruiting posters in Canada in English and Yiddish, circa 1918. (Library of Congress)
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Members of the Jewish Legion at the Western Wall, probably in 1918. (Wikipedia)ii
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Jewish Legion volunteers from Canada and the United States at Fort Edward, Nova Scotia, Yom Kippur, 1918. (Wikipedia)iii
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Jewish Battalion soldiers from the United States on their way home. An American Red Cross building is in the background, Winchester, England, 1919. (Harvard University Library)
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The forced conscription and looting of Jerusalem homes, 1914. (Ottoman Imperial Archives)ii
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Morgenthau's cable to Schiff, 1914. (JDC Archives)
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USS Tennessee crew members carrying stores onto the ship's boat deck, probably at Alexandria, Egypt. Ship alongside may be USS Vulcan, circa 1915. (U.S. Naval Historical Center)
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U.S. in the Early Holy Land

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Registering World War I refugees as they came on board at Jaffa, Palestine, circa February 1915. (U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command)iv
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The Mayor of Jerusalem Hussein Effendi el Husseini [al-Husseini], meeting with Sergts. Sedwick and Hurcomb of the 2/19th Battalion, London Regiment, under the white flag of surrender, Dec. 9th [1917] at 8 a.m. (Library of Congress)
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German soldiers marching down Jaffa Road in Jerusalem, 1917. (Imperial War Museums)
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Be'er Sheva under the Turks - a garrison town, 1917. (Library of Congress)
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The military tailors in Be'er Sheva, 1917. (Library of Congress)
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The daring capture of Be'er Sheva by Australian Light Horsemen, 1917. (State Library of New South Wales)
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Women in the Early Holy Land

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Turks await British/Australian attack at Be'er Sheva, 1917. (Library of Congress)
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Site Info

Lenny Ben David has spent the last five years researching, cataloging and publishing historic photos of Israel. With thousands of photos in his collection, one of the key areas he has focused on is illustrating Jewish life in Palestine in the 1800’s.

One of his discoveries was uncovering photos and four news articles that Robert Kennedy wrote while working as a reporter in Palestine in 1948.

With over two million views of his website, israeldailypicture.com, Lenny Ben David is a critical force in discovering and documenting the pictorial history of Israel and its people.

This site provides an opportunity to search the archive of photos that Lenny Ben David has collected. Explore and discover for yourself the rich photographic history of the Land of Israel.

Disclaimer: According to the Library of Congress, there are "no known restrictions on publication of these photographs."