The past is never dead, it’s not even past (W. Faulkner)

And thou shalt tell thy son that day (Exodus, 13:8)

The history of the psychoanalytic society in Palestine and later in Israel is rich and diverse. It lives in us whether we are aware of it or not. This history shapes the present which determines the future. It is our responsibility to evaluate, preserve and transmit the knowledge of the past.

The aim of this page is to bring to life moments and individuals that built our society in the last 80 years.

The society was started by a small group of refugees/pioneers who found here, in Palestine-Eretz Israel, a haven from the shaking ground of Europe. Some came out of choice, some because they lacked other choices. They arrived in an unknown country, scantly populated, ruled by a British Mandate, in the shadow of war, unrest and pogroms. Under extremely difficult conditions, and far from the European hub of developments, connected only by mail and rare travel, they succeeded to develop a viable psychoanalytic society and institute which have had a remarkable influence on education, mental health and culture.

From a society of 5 members, (“Chevra Psychoanalytic Be’Israel” (CPI) that after 40 years had only 41 members, we are today a society with 249 members and 103 candidates. It is one of the societies in which the ratio of psychoanalysts to the population is among the highest.

The documents in this site aim to provide milestones in time that trace the development of the society from its inception to the present, 2015.

Today, apart from its size, the Israel Psychoanalytic Society is characterized by intensive scientific activity. It boasts numerous study groups, some focused on particular psychoanalytic schools, and the many papers and books that our members translate and write. The society has an international reputation. Our members take part in many worldwide psychoanalytic activities, and in the organizational life of the psychoanalytic movement.

This site is not intended to serve as the archives of the society. Instead, you can find documents pertaining to various developmental phases of the society, dated 10, 50, 75 and 80 years following its inception. Snapshots taken at these point in time. You will also find a chronology of the society and statistics of its growth.

Edited by Mira Erlich-Ginor

1943 The First 10 Years of CPI

Max Eitingon died in August 1943, 10 years after the inception of the “Chevra Psychoanalytic Be’Israel” (CPI).

To commemorate his death the members of the society published a book “In Memoriam”.

The first part is devoted to Eitingon his deeds and contributions. The Second part of the book consists of theoretical papers. 

The wide range of the contributors includes: M. Narkis, director of Bezalel, at the time the Israel national museum; the author M. Smelianski; Henrietta Szold, the founder of the Youth Aliya; M. Klausner, founder of Herzelia film studios; and Nobel laureate writer S.Y Agnon, who wrote a special short story for the occasion. The book represents the times of its writing and is written in three languages: German (the main language of the society), Hebrew and English. 

Two links to book chapters follow: In Memoriam by Mosche Wulff, who was the president of the society after Eitingon for 10 years and honorary president thereafter.

The second chapter is a summary by Margarete Brandt of the state of the society 10 years after its founding.

Margaret Brandt was the secretary of the society for 10 years. She hosted the institute and the policlinic in her home, which she bequeathed to the society and still serves as the physical home of the society. 

These two chapters bring to life the spirit of the time, the enthusiasm of the pioneers as well as the hardships, the ethics of the policlinic and the commitment of the pioneers to the psychoanalytic movement.

Especially impressive is the diagnostic list of 232 patients in the 10 years and the statistics of treatment outcome.

We can see the involvement of the small group in the dissemination of psychoanalysis and its teaching, and the importance given to its transmission to educators, teachers and kindergarten teachers (Heil pädagogen).

The 30th IPA Congress in Jerusalem, 1977

In 1977, 44 years after the founding the society, the 30
th Congress of the International Psychoanalytic Association took place in Jerusalem. It was the first congress of the IPA outside Europe.

The IPS had at that time 40 members and 40 candidates. The congress hosted 1500 participants.

In connection with the Congress, Martin Wangh initiated an international appeal to collect money for the establishment of a Freud Chair for the study of psychoanalysis at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. During the Congress the Chair and Center were announced. A lecture sent by Anna Freud was read at the amphitheater at Mount Scopus. Freud and Eitingon’s wish to have a chair for psychoanalysis at the Hebrew University, rejected several times since 1932, was finally fulfilled. It was the first Chair for psychoanalysis within a university. 

In their opening remarks both Rafael Moses (President of IPS) and Erich Gumbel (past-President) described the history of the society, its present situation in the local and international context.

Gumbel ends by stating:

It seems to me that no less than at the beginning of the century, today too, psychoanalysis needs pioneers, people who are involved and willing to search and to work courageously and independently for a better understanding of humanity.

It was true then as it is now. 

50th Anniversary, 1983

 Israel Journal of Psychiatry and related Sciences,ed. D. Hertz

a. Adam Limentani: A Message from the President of the International
Psychoanalytic Association on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Israeli Society 
b. Dan Hertz: Pioneers and Psychoanalysis: Beginning of Psychoanalytic Movement in Eretz Israel
c. James Mann: Retrospect and Prospect: from the mid 50’s to the late 80’s

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of IPS, Dan Hertz, President of the society, a psychiatrist and Chair of the Psychiatric Department of Hadassah Hospital, edited a special issue of the Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences, dedicated to the anniversary. 

Three chapters from this issue are available here: 

In his greeting address, Adam Limentani, President of the IPA, stresses the international involvement of the society despite its geographical distance, and the great achievement in having the IPA Congress in Jerusalem in 1977.

 Adam Limentani: A Message from the President of the International Psychoanalytic Association on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Israeli Society 


In his article:  ‘Pioneers and Psychoanalysis: Beginning of psychoanalytic Movement in Eretz Israel’, Dan Hertz describes the beginning, the special contribution of the British physician/psychoanalyst David Eider, one of the most intriguing in the rich gallery of intriguing figures: “Socialist, Zionist and Psychoanalyst”. He goes on to describe the development of the society up to its 50th anniversary.


Dan HertzPioneers and Psychoanalysis: Beginning of Psychoanalytic Movement in Eretz Israel

James Mann, a Boston psychoanalyst, acted as head of the Department of Psychiatry in Hadassah Hospital when the IPS celebrated its 50thanniversary. 

He contributed a chapter to the special issue: “Retrospect and Prospect: From the mid-50s to the late 80s”. 

He takes a loving and yet sober view of the IPS, its specific features and those that are part of the global trends. He talks of the danger of losing the humanistic and Jewish attitudes in face of the biological approach that is gaining strength. The idealization of the Israeli society by American Jewry leads to both high expectations and serious disappointments. He hopes that psychoanalysis in Israel, with its great influence on the psychiatric scene, will seize the opportunity to build the special combination of secular, religious and political humanism, which are the intrinsic strengths of Israel. 

 James Mann: Retrospect and Prospect: from the mid 50’s to the
late 80’s.

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Israel’s Psychoanalytic Society Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary

July 28, 1983

The Israel Psychoanalytic Society recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, and the European Psychoanalytical Federation marked the occasion by holding its fifth conference in Jerusalem and publishing a “festive” issue of the “Israel Journal of Psychiatry and the Related Sciences” devoted to a “historic overview of the psychoanalytic movement in Palestine and Israel.”

Prof. Dan Hertz, the president of the Society and the director of the Psychiatry Clinic at the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, said that Israel’s psychoanalysts believe that this is a nationwide milestone.

“In fact,” he said, “an interest in psychoanalysts preceded the founding of the Society by several decades. Max Eitingon, a great friend of Freud, come to Palestine in 1910 and thought of settling there, but eventually he decided to return to Germany. However, he never lost his interest in Zionism and finally made his home in Jerusalem in 1933.”

In 1920, in a letter to his close associate, Ernest Jones, Sigmund Freud wrote that he had heard from Chaim Weizmann that immigrants from Eastern Europe arrived in Palestine with few clothes and personal belongings, but with copies of “Das Kapital” and “The Interpretation of Dreams” under their arms.

Weizmann invited Dr. David Eder to serve as a member of the British Zionist Commission that came to Palestine in 1918. Eder was the first secretary of the British Psychoanalytical Society founded in 1913. He was a passionate devotee of Zionism, Socialism and psychoanalysis.

Many educators in Palestine in the early days supported the theory of psychoanalysis. Hertz said that it still provides a frame of reference for the educational system of many kibbutzim.

Hadassah was always close to the development of psychoanalysis in Israel. Henrietta Szold, founder of Hadassah, approached Eitingen for help in dealing with the problems encountered with children in youth aliyah, and he willingly provided it. Eder was considered for the post of director-general of the Hadassah Medical Organization but decided not to take it. Hadassah psychiatrists have always been prominent among the Psychoanalytical Society, such a Professors Julius Zellermayer, Eleazar Edelstein and Jacob Avni.


Most people who have read “Moses and Monotheism” believe that Freud was anti-Jewish to the point of seeming to be anti-Semitic. Hertz says that this is not a correct interpretation of Freud’s attitudes. “Because of his traditional Jewish background, he was preoccupied with, but ambivalent about, the land of his forefathers. But on December 10, 1917, he wrote a letter in which he said: ‘The only cheerful news is the capture of Jerusalem by the English and the experiment they propose about a home for the Jews.’”

An even more remarkable comment was made by Freud in a foreword to a memorial volume on Eder: “We were both Jews and knew of each other that we carried in us that miraculous thing in common which –inaccessible to any analyst so far –makes the Jew.”

Freud and Eitingen hoped to set up a Chair of Psychoanalysis at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Freud accepted an invitation to become a member of the university’s first Board of Governors. These attempts failed, because the university felt that it wanted to have a Chair of Psychology before introducing one of Psychoanalysis.

Eventually, in 1977, when the International Psychoanalytical Association held its 30th Congress in Jerusalem, the Freud Chair of Psychoanalysis was established.

After the State was founded in 1948, psychoanalysis went from strength to strength. Erick Gumber, one of Eitingen’s students, became president of the society, and he was succeeded by H. Winnik. American psychoanalysists rendered great assistance, and many of them became Corresponding Members of the Society. Today many doctors specializing in psychiatry in Israel have had some psychoanalytic training.

The dedication of the Sigmund Freud Square, near the Liberty Bell Garden in Jerusalem, took place during the conference in the presence of Mayor Teddy Kollek, a native of Vienna, like Freud, “I am sure that Freud would have been very pleased about the association with Jerusalem, a garden and Mayor Kollek,” Hertz said.

My Life with Psychoanalysis, a Memoire, 1995

Rafael Moses, A short History of Psychoanalysis in Palestine and Israel

Rafael Moses describes the beginning: the immigration of analysts from Europe top Palestine  in the shadow of the spreading  Nazism, the founding of the Society by Eitingon and 4 colleagues.
He describes at length the 50th as years of vast development, the profound and strong ties between psychoanalysis and the developing area of psychiatry: psychoanalysts are at the head of most of the mental health institutions and are active at teaching psychiatrists.
Psychoanalysis is transmitted through various teaching settings, including the establishment of the 3 years psychotherapy course in the Institute by E. Gumbel, with hundreds of graduates in all mental health fields.
The ethics of providing analysis at a cost that the patient can pay, set by Eitingon,  continues.
In the shadow of wars: The Six Days War and latter the Yom Kipur War are the background for  Moses, Gad Tadmor’s and others to research and treat  shell shock reactions. They  have a leading role in building the  infrastructure for treatments in the front line and in the XXX עורף
Moses speaks about the shadow of the Holocaust on the Israeli society, the special relations and group work done with the Israeli society and the two psychoanalytic German societies.
At the time he writes (1998) , the society has 100 members and 60 candidates.

A Short History of Psychoanalysis in Palestine and Israel, 1998

Shmuel Erlich, A Letter from Jerusalem

The “Letter from Jerusalem” is part of a series initiated by the International Journal of Psychoanalysis of letters from various psychoanalytic societies around the world, describing and characterizing each of them.

Shmuel Erlich describes a growing, lively and creative society, whose many contributions are noteworthy both in Israel and in various international forums. At the same time, in recent years the society is characterized by deep theoretical divergences.

He describes the waves of psychoanalytic schools that influenced the society, and claims that just as the Israeli society in general became more diversified, so did the psychoanalytic society.

“Depending very much on one’s point of view, the atmosphere within the Society could be described as an enriching diversity of opinions and approaches, or as hopeless schisms between equally fundamentalist views of the nature of man and of psychoanalysis”.

He touches on many of the important developments in the last 20 years: the lengthy discussion on the issue of training analyst and its resolution; the difficulty in evaluating the candidates; the existence of various theoretical sub-groups; the IPS in the changing demographic context of Israel, and the founding of the Tel-Aviv Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis. 

He mentions internal debates about the role of the IPS vis-a-vis the Israeli society, and such questions as: Can we, as a professional society, have a political say about the events, and the limits we must impose on ourselves when representing the psychoanalytic society.

80th Anniversary of the IPA, 2014

Chronicle and Statistics