In this 1948 newsreel, the SS Kedmah departs from Marseille, France, for the brand-new Jewish State.
“Believed to be the first ship officially flying the Zionist flag, this vessel recently left Marseilles on her way to Palestine, shortly after the British Mandate was laid down,” the narrator reports.
As men and women climb aboard, painted Stars of David are visible on the ship’s funnel. The Kedmah, hailed by the ZIM Israel Navigation Company as the state of Israel’s first passenger liner, holds a special place in the nation’s history. During her career, she would carry thousands to the new Jewish State.
“Among her passengers were men who would soon be playing their part in the struggle against the Arabs,” the narrator concludes. “That is, of course, if the United Nations cannot succeed in effecting a settlement.”
(The Associated Press and Movietone News recently released their vast video archives on YouTube, allowing the public to freely access a million minutes worth of historical news clips dating back to 1895 — including many iconic scenes from Israel’s history featured in this Times of Israel series.)