Down town old Haifa
World War I - Haifa
During the First World War the entire bay area was placed under a sea blockade and
mined by the Turks.Haifa was hit by the First World War, especially as a result of the
cessation of all economic and commercial activities prevailing at that time. This was a
time of great poverty and famine in the North of Palestine.
physical destruction which took place in Haifa. The battle which was fought to gain
control of the city ceased after a couple of days, without causing any severe destruction
On the 23rd September, 1918, the British took over the control of the city which was
captured by the Mysore and Jodhpur Lancers
Many soldiers are buried in Commonwealth cemeteries in Israel and also in Haifa
At the end of World War 1, after the defeat of the Turks by the armies of General Allenby, Palestine (or Eretz Israel, as it was called by its Jewish inhabitants) came under British rule. The Military Government of 1917 was followed in 1920 by a Civil Administration (with Sir Herbert Samuel as the first High Commissioner), as a transitional stage prior to accepting a Mandate from the League of Nations to administer the territory on behalf of the international community. When Haifa was occupied, in 1918, it was a town of some 20 000 people — Moslems, Christians and Jews — the great majority of whom lived on that narrow coastal strip where the looming mass of Mount Carmel came down to meet the waters of Haifa Bay (or the Bay of Acre, as it was then known). For most of its history, Haifa had been secondary in importance to its neighbour at the northern end of the Bay, the historic city of Acre; and it was later to be overshadowed by the upstart, vibrant, new city of Tel-Aviv, on the sand dunes 100 kilometres to the south. However, in the two decades between the wars, Haifa received a degree of attention from both British and Zionist policy makers and planners which seemed, at first sight, to be altogether out of proportion to its size and apparent importance. This rather unexpected concentration of thought and effort upon Haifa derived from contemporary perceptions of Haifa's role in the region. Its importance, both economic and strategic, was assessed in much more significant terms, both by the Imperial Government and the Zionist Organization, in the light of the prevailing geo-political realities of the 1920s and 1930s. In order to adapt Haifa and its region to the role envisaged for it, several major planning campaigns were carried out in these critical years, usually —but not exclusively — on the initiative of the Zionist Organization and bodies affiliated or close to it. The history of these ventures has been recorded elsewhere, in papers by the present author and Silvina Sosnovsky, on the down-town area, the planning of Hadar and the settlements on Mount Carmel, and the redemption of the Haifa Bay lands. Our present concern is to discuss those fundamental policy decisions of the British Government, which were ultimately to shape Haifa's plans, and influence its future growth and development. The key factors, in this process, were the focussing of the railway system on Haifa and the construction of its major workshops there; the decision to build Palestine's principal deep-water port in Haifa, and to locate it next to the down-town area; the decision to construct a pipeline from the oilfields of Iraq, and make Haifa one of its outlets, and subsequently to build a major oil-refinery in Haifa Bay; to locate an aerodrome on the flat terrain of the Bay lands; and to encourage the industrial development of the area, both to ensure the viability of the port, and as a major factor in regional trade. In this paper we examine some of these factors, to the extent that they were eventually to impinge upon land use and planning issues.
A Turkish soldier on guard