October 9th, 2017


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"HaRakevet" means "The Train" or "The Railway" in Hebrew. Since March 1989, it has been a quarterly newsletter specializing in news and historical material about the railways of the Middle East, and especially those of Israel. This material will now be accessible on the web to those interested in railways, in Israel, in the Middle East and in the history of this area.

Updated Oct 9th, 2017

We have now completed the archive of ALL the issues up to two years before the latest - currently from Issue 1 to Issue 110! See "Downloads" page.


When we reached the 100th Issue, the web page was modernized and streamlined.  Issue 100  contains, among other interesting articles, the story of the 8F Locomotive which has arrived in Israel and is now exhibited in Beer Sheva's old Turkish railway station. (See "dream" below)

           This site is the archive for the magazine. Issues  up to 2 years back are added to the site. For the latest issues, we urge interested visitors to the site to consider taking a subscription . That way you won't miss news updates and articles of historical interest .

For correspondence relating to subscriptions, mail rothschild-berlin@t-online.de or Steve Waldenberg (cpsairedale@ntlworld.com)

See "Subscription Form" on the "Downloads" page .

 Some recent issues:

                  101                                102                                         108                                 110                        113                          Latest: 117


Back numbers of these and other issues can be ordered. Email steve@cpairdale.co.uk


"Harakevet" was established and is edited by Rabbi Walter Rothschild. It benefits from a large number of contributors in Israel and around the globe. One of the more prolific, until his untimely death in May, 2007, was Paul Cotterell, the railway historian and author of the book "The Railways of Palestine and Israel". The railway age in this region began in 1892 with the line from Jaffa to Jerusalem, which gave this previously isolated hill town access to the sea and the world. The Hedjaz Railway, beginning in 1895 and linked to Haifa in 1905, opened up the Arab hinterland to movement of goods and people. In 1917, the rapid construction of a line from Egypt to Gaza played a major role in the defeat of the Ottoman Turkish army by the British forces. But railways can and should be a means to bring people closer together, and perhaps contribute to the sorely needed peace in this part of the world.

At long last, a dream comes true!

In 1958, the last main-line steam locomotive in use in Israel, Type 8F No. 70414, was sent to be cut up for scrap  (or so Arik Lavi's song tells us). At the time, if anyone suggested preserving one of these, he was probably laughed at. But the fact that a song and video about it was commissioned means that someone at least saw the need to preserve a bit of history - the age of steam on Israel Railways.

In the second issue of "HaRakevet" in April 1989, Rabbi Walter Rothschild, founder and editor of the magazine, began a campaign to acquire such a locomotive, of which several examples existed in Turkey, for the Railway Museum. The campaign did not succeed at the time.

Some time ago, a British group imported two of these locos to England and one was brought to working condition. Recently, they decided to offer the other for sale, and, thanks to the efforts of Chen Melling, the manager of the Railway Museum, and Rubik Danilov, mayor of Beer Sheva, it has now been installed in the old Turkish railway station there.  See Issues 100 and 103 for pictures and more details.

 See Downloads - Issue 2 for the original "Ellemess" campaign announcement (last page) 

S Plans for the site

The Internet Edition of "HaRakevet' is getting underway alongside the printed version.

1) On this site we shall build an archive of material from the earliest issues of the journal to those of some two years ago. This takes quite some time to convert to electronic form; but we already have some 40 complete issues and some specific articles. Access to this material is free.

2) An electronic version of the latest issue in PDF file format is available for a modest subscription fee. In addition, all subscribers (to both the printed and electronic editions) will be able to receive PDF files of back numbers from the last two years at a nominal charge.

3) The printed edition will continue to be available to subscribers as before to those who prefer a paper copy.

Download Issues 66 (Sept. 2004) to 107 (Sept. 2014) complete, in PDF form. These "free samples" will show the quality and convenience of the electronic edition. Also earlier issues  (1-27) have now being added in PDF form.


"Railways and the Holocaust"  by Robin Jones

Robin Jones is the editor of the prestigious British magazine “Heritage Railway”. He is conscious of the tremendous boon to mankind which resulted from the invention and development of rail transport, from Trevithick and Stephenson to the present day.

But in this book, he presents the dark side of railways: Without the railways of Europe, the Holocaust could not have taken place. He has succeeded in describing, in vivid detail, the indescribable horrors of the Nazi assault on humanity – the laws against Jews, the unbelievably cruel transports to the death camps, the cooperation of the railways not only of Germany, but of France, the Netherlands and elsewhere. People so packed in wagons that they could only stand, travelling for days without food, water, toilets or even air, only to be gassed when the journey ended. The SS hope that many on the transports would die on the journey was all too often fulfilled The wagons were misnamed “cattle wagons” but no railway would transport cattle under such terrible conditions.  

This book should be read by those who equate Israeli soldiers, using tear gas to drive back hostile Palestinian stone-throwers or checking for bombs, to the Nazi murderers who would gleefully throw children live into flames.

There is an introduction by Rabbi Dr. Walter Rothschild, in which he points out what would have happened to British Jewry if Hitler’s invasion plans had succeeded. The book also has some surprises, such as Hitler’s plan for a very-wide gauge high-speed railway across Europe and a trans-Sahara line.

Printed and electronic editions      Electronic (Kindle) edition (text only)

The printed edition is available from www.magbooks.com at £6.99, at present only in UK. The Kindle version (without the pictures) can be ordered from Amazon at $7.99. A fully illustrated electronic version is available from Morton's Books.

 Details of Paul Cotterell's second book, published posthumously by Israel Railways  "Make Straight the Way"  (Contents page).

The book may be ordered in Hebrew or English from Israel Railways, price NIS 85 including postage in Israel, $32 abroad. Download the form at http://www.rail.co.il/HE/FUN/Pages/Book.aspx (Hebrew version) or http://www.rail.co.il/EN/Fun/Pages/Book.aspx (English version)


Note: Issue 40:9 -  An article from "Scribner's Magazine", 1892  on the "New" Jaffa-Jerusalem Railway (mentioned in Paul's Book) - Contents page

Review of the book by Anthony Travis about the Jaffa-Jerusalem Railway - "On Chariots with Horses of Fire and Iron" - Contents Page. Available from Magnes Press or Shappell Foundation

 Our Appreciation of Paul Cotterell is now on the Contents page

Flash 90 vs HaRakevetAn extortion attempt. Click on Flash 90 to see our explanation of this strange episode


We welcome comments and suggestions. Since our email, webmaster@harakevetmagazine.com has been invaded by being put on a Chinese list which thinks we buy or sell all kinds of products, we will no longer answer email to this address. To contact us, replace the word webmaster with the word jeremy. Questions may also be sent, but we cannot promise to answer them all in a short time.


                The web site can now be accessed by typing "harakevet.com." or "harakevetmagazine.com"

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