Dr Dov Gavish


As a geographer and researcher of the cartographic heritage of pre-State Israel, my research interests are history of surveying and mapping, and history of aerial photography of the country. From my research I learned, and taught others, that the reasons for, and circumstances of geodetic, cartographic, and photographic activities created a corpus of visual documentation. Both, maps and aerial photos, are essential for exploring and studying the land, defining temporal situation and spatial diffusion of any uncovered phenomenon. With such invaluable dimension one can trace facts and changes in the landscape, detect and follow evidence of natural and human imprints on the landscape, and illuminate historic events, sometimes unknown to people on the ground. These research means might uncover the silent creators of the visual documents, both civilian – and particularly – military, and enable tracking their motivation or stories behind their missions, that might be a chapter in the history of the country.

The thousands of aerial photos taken since the beginning of flight in the country, as early as 1913, and especially since World War I, and later the British mandate period, are the infrastructure on which I created the archives of historical aerial photos of Israel.

On a personal level, I have devoted years to reconstructing the circumstances of two events in my family’s involvement in the pre-State struggle for the independence of the country by the Palmach (striking force) units. My elder brother fell, together with thirteen of his comrades, in the “night of the bridges” in June 1946, in which strategic bridges were blown up. A second brother was captured in 1947, together with four others, when engaged in reconnaissance patrol along the border with Lebanon, and spent two years in jail in Beirut. I published the results of my documented research in two books that were also the basis for two documentary films. 


Dov Gavish - Curriculum Vitae.doc44 KB