Thursday, December 24, 2009

Israel Lighthouses FDC

Israel FDC
Name: Lighthouses in Israel
Date of Issue: 26 November 2009
Number: 832

The Hebrew word for lighthouse - "migdalor" – is comprised of two words: "migdal" (tower) and "or" (light), indicating structures that are usually tall and equipped with devices that emit light, either steadily or cyclically.

Lighthouses serve as navigational aides for ships sailing near the shoreline. Some are built at hazardous locations, adjacent to rocky cliffs or sandbars, in order to warn ships against approaching too closely. Others are built near ports to mark the way for ships coming in to dock.

In olden times lighthouses were lit by burning wood, oil or coal but since the late 19th century most have been refitted to work on gas and electricity.

Although the use of advanced navigational tools has made most lighthouses obsolete, many continue to serve as tourist attractions and landmarks.

The stamps in the series depict three of the lighthouses built along Israel's southern Mediterranean coastline:

4.60 שח:
This 29-meter high lighthouse is built on a hilltop poised above the Jaffa Port. The Jaffa lighthouse was initially erected in 1865 as part of operations carried out by Turkish authorities to improve the port facilities. The structure appearing on the stamp was built by the British in 1936. The lighthouse's identifying mark was four white flashes, emitted every 14 seconds. The rocks along the Jaffa shore did not allow ships to enter the port, thus passengers and cargo were offloaded at sea and transported to shore in small row boats, such as that appearing on the stamp to the right of the lighthouse.

6.70 שח: Tel-Aviv
This lighthouse was built in the 1930's on the beach to the north of Tel-Aviv, adjacent to the Yarkon Estuary in order to warn ships against approaching the shore, where sandbars were located. The 20-meter high lighthouse served the Tel-Aviv Port as well as the adjacent electricity plant harbor.
The lighthouse's identifying mark was two flashes (one long and one short), emitted every seven seconds.

On 15 May, 1936 approval was received to operate a Hebrew port in Tel-Aviv. Four days later the first cargo ship to arrive at the makeshift port was unloaded. Sacks of cement were offloaded at sea and transported to shore in small boats. The porters, excited to be taking part in this historic event, expressed their joy by dancing a rousing Hora.

8.80 שח: Ashdod
This 76-meter high lighthouse is built atop Tel Yona, near the Ashdod Port. It was erected in the 1960's as part of the construction of the port facilities. The lighthouse's identifying mark was three white flashes, emitted every 20 seconds.

Ashdod Port is Israel's largest sea port. It is a modern facility, equipped with huge cranes and is capable of handling large cargo ships quickly and efficiently.

Description of the Stamps and the First Day Cover
Jaffa stamp – photograph of rowers in a boat, Tel-Aviv Municipal Archives
Tel-Aviv stamp – photograph of porters dancing, Jewish National Fund Archives
Ashdod stamp – photograph of a docked ship, Ashdod Port Company
Tabs – photographs by Dreamstime
Envelope – photograph of the Tel-Aviv lighthouse and its surroundings, Israel Electric Corporation Archives

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