Mother Russia

1881 was a fateful year in the history of the Jewish people. On March 13, Czar Alexander II was murdered in Saint Petersburg. Within weeks, a series of pogroms targeting Jews began, mainly in southern Russia. Representatives of the authorities and the church fanned the flames of violence, which took a bloody toll in some

Elusive Pioneer

On July 6, 1882, 14 Bilu members arrived in Palestine on the ship Circe. It seems that two of the 16 members that had assembled in Istanbul remained there to continue the efforts to raise funds and acquire land. The others set out for Jaffa. The exact number of members is not clear – the

Kinneret, Kinneret

On April 6, 1903, Easter Sunday, a riled up mob streamed out of churches throughout the Serbian capital of Kishinev and began attacking Jews. “[The anti-Semitic pogroms in Kishinev were] worse than the censor will permit to publish,” the New York Times reporter in Saint Petersburg wrote. “There was a well laid-out plan for the

Blood and Fire

Without a doubt, one of the most extraordinary figures to arrive in the Land of Israel during the second aliyah was Manya Wilbushewitz Shochat. She was born in 1879 in Lososna (near Grodno in Ukraine) to a wealthy Jewish family. Her grandfather had supplied equipment to Napoleon’s army and enjoyed a privileged life in Grodno.

The Labor Legion

World War I wrought havoc on Jewish efforts to settle in Palestine. Disease, famine, conscription, and deportation were the order of the day. During the four years of the war, the Jewish population shrunk from 85,000 to 56,000. The Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917, and the British military campaign to conquer Palestine from the

Pioneer Women

Mărculeşti is a small village in Bessarabia in Moldavia. It is home to 2,000 people at the most. In 1812, after yet another turf war between Russia and Turkey in southeastern Europe, Bessarabia came under Russian control. In 1837, the Russians established Mărculeşti on the property of a landowner named Simeon Starov. It was meant

Bialik and Ahad Ha’am

“The Tel Aviv municipality published an announcement yesterday regarding the poet Bialik’s arrival in Jaffa,” the Do’ar Hayom newspaper reported on March 26, 1924, regarding Hayyim Nahman Bialik’s arrival in the Land of Israel. “A huge crowd came to the train station to welcome him.” No speeches were given and “the poet Bialik and his

Red Vienna to Jerusalem

In 1919, while the dust of war still was settling, the people of Vienna elected the world’s first socialist regime to rule them. Intellectuals and artists filled not only cafes and theaters, but also the corridors of municipal power in a bid to forge a new, utopian world order. More than a few of the

Ben Yehuda Strasse

Signs of recovery in the Jewish community combined with internal struggles within the Arab sparked an outbreak of anti-Jewish and anti-British violence in 1929. The riot of 1929 claimed the lives of 133 Jews and left 339 wounded. British efforts to appease the Arab population included a drastic reduction in the number of certificates allowing

Fighting Hunger

My grandmother Lotte had an impressive family tree. It was drawn like a real tree, with generations and generations of the offspring of Rabbi Zeligman, who was born in Prague in 1572, hanging as leaves from the branches. It actually was a large oil painting, which used to hang in the home of my great-grandparents,

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The Four Millionth Tourist

This issue, the second in the series of seven issues that ERETZ is dedicating to the celebration of the State of Israel’s seventieth anniversary, focuses on the history of tourism. Tourism industry got off to a rocky start in Israel. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and Minister of Finance Eliezer Kaplan, whose outlook was adopted by their hosts of underlings and clerks, not only saw no need for tourism, but also opposed the construction of hotels to accommodate tourists and the development of tourism sites. The lone advocate of tourism was Teddy Kollek, the indefatigable director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). He alone had the vision to understand the latent potential of the sites around the country to fascinate visitors.

The Israeli tourism industry only started to take off after the Six Day War in 1967 and even more so after the Yom Kippur War in 1973. The overwhelming majority of the visitors were Christian pilgrims, though luxury tourism also rose slightly in these years. It was only after the turn of the millennium that Israel began to be seen as a destination for a fun, relaxing vacation and to appeal to business travelers.

The ERETZ Magazine Story

Eretz Magazine was the brainchild of two Israelis and an American: Yadin Roman, Dita Kohl and Lenny Zakim. Roman, at the time head of the Israel Ministry of Tourism Guide School, and Zakim, the Anti-Defamation League’s New England Regional Director, had been collaborating on bringing groups of up-and-coming political decision makers to Israel on fact-finding tours, the groups were organized by the ADL and guided by Roman.  Roman, Kohl, and Zakim decided to publish an English-language magazine about the Land of Israel.
ERETZ was always on the forefront of technology. Our website was up in 1999, internet podcasts were started in 2003, and ERETZ guides were on sale in digital formats over a decade ago.
But, with all the new gadgetry and innovation, from website to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest (and we are represented on all of them), we have remained a magazine devoted to presenting a story in the best manner possible, with in-depth research, amazing photos, and glorious spreads, to be perused at leisure.