Mandelbaum Gate

Photographs: Edgar (Eddie) Hirshbein


Edgar Hirshbein was born in 1919 in Yugoslavia, and after the end of World War I immigrated to pre-state Israel. In 1947 and 1948 he worked as a freelance photographer for Time-Life, and later for the Jerusalem Post, Maariv, Yediot Ahronot and Bamachaneh. Hirshbein documented, inter alia, the War of Independence and the siege on Jerusalem, the civil war in Cyprus and the wars of Israel. In 1950 he documented the Yemenite Jews who immigrated to Israel, and later became a television photographer and taught at Tel Aviv University. Between 1948 and 1967 the Mandelbaum Gate was the only border crossing with the Kingdom of Jordan, connecting between the two parts of Jerusalem. It was located at the intersection of Shmuel Hanavi Street and St. George Road. This street, which was the main street leading from Jerusalem to Ramallah and Mount Scopus, was blocked by the "Urban Border" - the border separating Israel from Jordan. The name of the part that stretched between St. George Road that remained in Israeli hands (from the Gate to Meah Shearim Street) became the continuation of Shivtei Yisrael Street. During the War of Independence the Jordanians and the Israelis waged fierce battles for the control of the intersection, through which the Hadassah Convoy passed on its way to Mount Scopus. The height of the battle over the intersection took place in May 1948, when a Jordanian armored unit coming from Sheikh Jerach broke through and was later blocked by a unit of Gadna and Hagannah commanding officers. After the war the intersection and the buildings surrounding it became the Mandelbaum Gate checkpoint, mainly due to their proximity to the Israeli enclave on Mount Scopus. The Gate was run by Israeli and Jordanian customs officials, largely serving diplomats and UN people, as well as Christian pilgrims on Christmas. The bi-weekly convoy to the Israeli enclave on Mount Scopus passed through the Mandelbaum Gate.The Gate was named after Rabbi Simchah Mandelbaum and his wife, who built their home on the northern side of the intersection in 1927. The building, which during the British Mandate served the Haganah, was blown up and demolished by Jordanian Legionnaires in July 1948 during the War of Independence. After Jerusalem was united in 1967 the remains of the building were demolished. Today Jerusalem's Road No. 1 passes through the site of the Mandelbaum Gate The square next to the site is called Mandelbaum Square. Next to the square, the IDF checkpoint that controlled the Gate, has been preserved - The Turgeman building position - as it was in the days of the Urban Border.


Curator: Kineret Palti

Opens: May 5

Closes: July, 31 2011