‘Totzeret Haaretz’ \ Made In Isreal

The concept of ‘Totzeret Haaretz,’ or ‘Produce of the Land,’ emerged in Israel during the 1920s, eventually becoming a national decree by the 1930s, symbolizing the significance of Hebrew-made goods in a time when every purchase from olive oil and eggs to shoes or building materials, was seen as a national contribution.

Advertising poster for “Totzeret Haaretz” pavilion, “Levant Fair” 1935

1938 was a challenging year for the Jewish settlement in Israel. Not only was the Great Arab Revolt at its peak, with fields burning, riots, and daily attacks on Jews, but despite the capital, entrepreneurship, and technological expertise brought by Jewish settlers during the Fifth Aliyah, global circumstances prevented the export of produce, leaving many production surpluses unclaimed within Israel.

In response to this economic and security crisis, Natan Alterman articulated the Yishuv strategy in his renowned song “Totzeret Haaretz” that year: to instill love, respect, affection, and envy for the products of the land. The settlement emphasized consuming products exclusively from Jewish kibbutzim, moshavim, and factories in Hebrew cities. This is how the Yishuv paved the way to establishing economic stability and achieving national success and prosperity in such a short time.

During the 1930s and 1940s, various organizations such as the ‘Center for the Produce of the Land’ emerged to promote Israeli products, running campaigns using posters, ads, games, guides, and even Hebrew market tours. They advocated a boycott against non-supportive merchants who didn’t back the cause. Buying foreign goods or discounted milk products from non-Jewish sources was considered a betrayal of the national revival, Zionist ideals, farmers, and workers.

The growth of Hebrew production and agriculture during this period was crucial, forming the backbone of the settlement’s resilience. The battle for blue-and-white products continues- to this day the purchase of domestic ‘made in Israel’ products remains a steady value in Israeli society, especially during times of security tensions in the face of numerous threats. Our strength has always been and still lies in our unity and support for one another.

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