Treasure Trove: David Matlow looks at a sketch of a British soldier in Palestine, before the creation of the IDF

Noah Bee (originally Birzowski) was a cartoonist who also designed the JNF’s blue box and Israel’s first currency. Born in Warsaw in 1916, he became a member of the Betar youth movement where he sketched a young Menachem Begin and other Revisionist leaders who spoke to his group. He lived in Palestine from 1934 until 1943 when he moved with his American wife (at her parents’ insistence) to the United States, where he drew cartoons for the Anglo-Jewish press for 32 years. 

This illustration by Bee of a British soldier in the ‘Holy Land’ appeared on a postcard used to send greetings home. British soldiers were stationed in Palestine from 1917 to 1948. By 1947, the number of British troops in Palestine was about 100,000. With independence in 1948, the foreign military presence ended and Israel’s own military, the Israel Defence Forces, was created.