Third and Fourth Aliyot

The waves of immigration to the Land of Israel, known by their Hebrew name "Aliyot", ("Aliya" in the singular), are regarded as having begun, in the modern period, in 1882. The First and Second Aliyot arrived prior to the First World War and after a break between 1914 and 1918 due to the war, a new wave of immigrants arrived. This was known as the Third Aliya, and it continued until 1923. After another short break from the end of 1923 to the beginning of 1924, immigration began again with renewed intensity and this wave, which lasted untill 1928, is known as the Fourth Aliya.

The main characteristic of the Third Aliya was its pioneering element. Out of 34,000 immigrants, many were young pioneers, who had immigrated by themselves, without any possessions, seeking to make a personal contribution to the strengthening of the Jewish presence in the Land of Israel in general, and to be part of the pioneering settlement of the Land in particular.

The first immigrants in the Third Aliya came in 1919, of whom the most well-known were those who came on the "S.S.Roslan" (which can be seen on the tab of the stamp on the Third Aliya), which brought 671 passengers to Jaffa Port, including those returning after having been expelled by the Turks, as well as new immigrants. Among those arriving on the "Roslan" were writers, doctors, artists and communal leaders, so it is no wonder that there are those who regard the "Roslan" as a sort of Land of Israel "Mayflower".

The pioneers who came in the following years formed themselves into groups large and small, and occupied themselves in draining the swamps, paving roads and setting up communal settlements throughout the country. The most well-known of these bodies is the "Gdud Ha-Avodah" (The Work Regiment) named after Joseph Trumpeldor (a legendary pioneer who died defending the settlement of Tel Hai in March 1920 and subsequently became a Zionist national hero), which was set up in 1920 and hundreds of its members were involved in all types of hard pioneering labour.

The greatest achievement of the Third Aliya was the settling of the Valley of Jezreel. Large areas of the Valley, that was almost entirely desolate and covered with swamps, had been purchased at the beginning of the 1920's by the Jewish National Fund, and were handed over to the pioneers. Within a short period of time more than 20 settlements were established in the Valley of Jezreel, making this Aliya the pride of the country and the Jewish world as a whole. The bulletin which appears on the stamp of the Third Aliya was distributed in Poland by the JNF, and calls on Jews – in Hebrew, Yiddish and Polish – to buy and redeem the land of the Valley.

The Fourth Aliya was somewhat different from its predecessor. Though a large number of the immigrants were pioneers, they were older people, with families and a certain amount of capital, who had emigrated, primarily from Poland, because of deteriorating economic conditions and increased anti-Semitism there (so this wave of Aliya is also known as "The Polish Aliya", or "Grabesski's Aliya" (after the Polish Minister of Finance, who had instigated a number of harsh economic measures). These immigrants sought an urban life-style and thousands of them streamed each month to Tel-Aviv, which in the days of the Fourth Aliya grew from a town into a city.

In total, The Fourth Aliya comprised more than 60,000 people, 40% of whom settled in Tel-Aviv. The city prospered and grew, primarily to the north; roads were paved and houses were built very quickly in spirit of the words of the popular song of those days: 'Bring bricks, we don't have time to stand about even for a minute!'. The bricks were actually supplied by the "Silicat" factory (depicted on the stamp) – one of largest factories of the growing city. During the same period, tens of educational and cultural institutions were constructed in the town, such as the Ahad Ha'am Primary School, in Ahad Ha'am Street, which appears on the tab of the Fourth Aliya stamp.

During the period of the Fourth Aliya, various small towns were established on the outskirts of Tel Aviv and in the Sharon Plain, such as Bnei Brak and Herzlia; in the Valley of Jezreel, the town of Afula was founded; the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Haifa Technion were opened. There was a general atmosphere of optimism in the whole of the Jewish Settlement in the country. This was the first mass immigration and hope knew no bounds. In 1925, for instance, about 35,000 immigrants arrived, which was more than the total number of immigrants who had arrived during the four years of the Third Aliya.

The Fourth Aliya is remembered not only because of the size of the immigration, the flourishing of Tel Aviv and the growth of Jewish settlement in the country, but also on account of the harsh economic and social crisis that occurred in 1926. Though the Fourth Aliya is historically regarded as continuing until 1928, after the middle of 1926 almost no immigrants arrived in the country and the numbers of emigrants rose. In 1927 only 2,700 Jews arrived and more than 5,000 emigrated from the country. Many thousands were unemployed and there were feelings of depression and frustration throughout the country. Only towards the end of 1920's did the country start emerging from the crisis and the number of immigrants started to climb again.

Nevertheless, the Fourth Aliya contributed its share – as had the Third Aliya before it – to the growth and strengthening of Jewish settlement in Israel. In the two Aliyot together, about 100,000 people came to the country – about double the population of the country immediately prior to the Third Aliya. With a total Jewish population of over 200,000, internal population growth at the late 1920’s was no longer insignificant and the "sabra" - a Jew who had been born in Eretz Israel – emerged as a symbol for a "New Jew" (the tern “sabra” was coined in the early 1930’s).

The stamps were issued in 1994. Designer: D. Ben-Hador.