Sign up with your email address to be the first to know about new products, VIP offers, blog features & more.


‘Among ourselves it must be clear that there is no room in the country for two peoples… the only solution [after World War II ends] is a Land of Israel…without Arabs…’ Yosef Weitz, 1940.

At first glance the photo only seems to show

three men standing side by side on a slope

somewhere in Palestine. They are dressed

like professional men, Americans

or Europeans. The one in the middle

holds a map of some sort in his left hand,

and points at something in the distance

with his right. He is Yosef Weitz, Director,

Land and Afforestation Department,

Jewish National Fund. (An immigrant

from Tzarist Russia, a refugee

from pogroms, he worked on the land, something

Jews were forbidden to do in The Pale.

A dogmatic autodidact his vision

was for Eretz Israel to be a country

of forests – perhaps, unconsciously,

like the forested hills of his birthplace).

On closer inspection there are two others

in the photograph: a woman almost

totally obscured by Weitz, except

for the hem of her long skirt and the top

of her hijab, and a man – obscured

almost totally by one of Weitz’s

colleagues but for his keffiyeh.

The Arab stands behind Weitz, and to his left.

Weitz is leaning back as if it is to

the Arab he is pointing out whatever

he has seen. The Arab also holds the map.

Maybe he is trying to be helpful or

maybe the land is his.

© Copyright David Selzer
2 Responses
  • John Huddart
    December 18, 2021

    ‘Or maybe the land is his.’ Superb ending – apparently casual, but laden with irony. So many layers to peel, so many histories to unpack.

  • Mary Clark
    December 31, 2021

    Amazing what photographs reveal. They can’t be done without light which can do surprising things. Edgar Allen Poe noted the aspect of photography to expose the unforeseen. Two visions in this one, as you say. I agree with John, irony, layers, superb ending.

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published.