The Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum is located at
204 Allenby Street in the Kiryat Eliezer section of Haifa, directly across the street from the
Carmelite Monastery, the Stella Maris Church (where the Carmelite order originated), the Carmelite
Cable Car, and the Cave of Elijah.
A major part of the museum tells the story of the efforts to bring
Jewish immigrants to
Palestine during the years 1934 – 1948 when the British Mandate was in operation. This chapter in
Israeli history deals with Jewish clandestine immigration and the right to settle in the Holy Land.
It is one of the cornerstones of the establishment of the State of Israel. In this area are:
historic documents, newspaper clippings, photos, original models, audio visual materials and films.
Located here is the clandestine immigrant ship, the Af al Pi Chen (In spite of
all that), which serves both as an exhibit and also as the venue for a sound and light show. The
Af al Pi Chen is a converted American tank-landing craft which carried 434 Holocaust
survivors and was intercepted by the British. Its passengers were then interred in Cyprus.
Britain vigorously fought attempts to bring these clandestine immigrants
into Palestine and out of 63 clandestine ships that tried to run the British blockade after the
end of World War II, all but 5 were intercepted and their holocaust survivors were deported to
Cyprus. The Af al Pi Chen has been preserved in its entirety - both its external structure and
its fittings and accessories. What's more, in the ship's lower deck, reconstructions have been made
in the original bunks, the water distribution point and the radio control room (code-named
One wing of the museum is devoted to the history of the Israeli navy,
whose roots go back to the clandestine immigration operation. Included in this naval display
are photos, certificates, sketches of skirmishes with the British authorities, models of the ships,
and examples of arms and weaponry which were used in naval warfare
during that time. In the yard which leads to the entrance of the museum, is the bridge of the
Israeli submarine, the INS Dakar, which sank with the loss of all
hands in 1969. The bridge was retrieved from the water at the site where it sank. The entrance
hall has a number of important exhibits, including a model of the famous immigration ship, the
The museum contains numerous ships, equipment and items of naval
significance relative to the post World War II Israeli Navy. In the 1950s, Israel's navy fleet
first set sail and, commando ships were gradually becoming more and more refined. By the end of
the decade, Israel established its flotilla of submarines. Israel's navy
played its part in the Sinai War, even gaining significant reinforcement from an unexpected source
to add to the already-existing number of destroyers. One of the most important exhibits dating from this time period is a
depiction of the surrender of the Egyptian destroyer, the Ibrahim Al Awal, which can be
found on the original table of the ship's combat center. Next to the table are several items which
belonged to members of the naval commandos who captured the ship.
Another museum section deals with the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s.
Israel suffered stinging naval failures in the Six Day War, following which the Israeli navy
implemented dramatic changes which culminated in the truly astounding victories of the Yom Kippur
Another section of the museum describes the progress of the Yom Kippur War,
the coastal bombardment against the enemy and the fighting in the area of the Red Sea. In addition,
there is a depiction of the operation known as 'Peace in Galilee,' which became the First Lebanese
War (1982), as well as the war against terrorism. One of the most important exhibits in this section
is a tank, one of eighty such tanks which were captured in 2002 on the terrorist ship, the
On the grounds of the museum are displayed several very large items, which are
too big for the museum itself. These are heavyweight guns and cannons which made history, enemy
ships, terrorist boats and, at the far end, the INS Mivtach, the first Israeli missile
Shown below are photos taken at the Clandestine Immigration and Naval