The Grand Lodge of the State of Israel was consecrated on October 20, 1953 at the Y.M.C.A. Hall in Jerusalem. The first Masonic Lodge in the Holy Land was the Royal Solomon Mother Lodge No. 293, under the Grand Lodge of Canada in Ontario, whose first meeting was held in the King Solomon’s Quarries of Jerusalem on May 7, 1873.
Israel is one of the most fascinating of Masonic Lodge countries and to make a visit there is where one finds and hears the intriguing foundations of modern freemasonry. A visit to this website will help one understand why: http://www.mastermason.com/fmisrael/index.html They claim to be the real “home” of Masonry in that it was in this country that King Solomon’s Temple was built, a temple that Freemasonry builds much of its content from – although the principles and operations of the stonemason were well understood even long before this time period, they were applied to the building of that great temple. Modern speculative Freemasonry really became established in Britain from 1717.
The Grand Lodge of the State of Israel is not large numerically – it has 1250 members in 51 Lodges meeting under 8 languages. 34 Lodges speak Hebrew; 7 English; 4 Arabic; 2 Spanish and 1 each in French, Russian, Turkish and Romanian. One Lodge is an international Lodge which meets infrequently especially for visiting international groups.
Like the country itself which is very fractured in religion, Freemasonry there has its various country groups like mentioned above, yet the real “glue’ or bond that holds it all together is the fact that it is Freemasonry. Three Grand Masters have been Palestinian, showing the non political, non religious nature of the great organisation that Freemasonry is. World peace could not do better than take a leaf from Freemasonry’s lessons, of which: Peace, Love and Harmony are 3 precepts which direct members. Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth are the 3 tenets of Freemasonry. Freemasonry in Israel is a very good example of these.
The writer here had the choice of attending either a Lodge in Russian or one in Hebrew. Hebrew was chosen being in Israel the home of Hebrew. So he attended Lodge Alumim #58. At this evening they had 9 EAs of which 7 had to give a 10 minute speech on why they joined Freemasonry and what they thought of their initiation ceremony. This had to be done before they could take their second or Fellowcraft degree.
Different parts of the world have various peculiarities within Masonic circles. In Israel they had a Masonic embrace peculiar to their greeting. (In Switzerland they have a Masonic kiss on the cheek).
Even though I couldn’t understand Hebrew, I could follow the evening relatively easily and it was most interesting, even though I couldn’t understand the content of the 7 candidate’s speeches. When it came to greetings, they all could understand my English, and I was applauded accordingly.
The second meeting I attended Lodge Aviv #10 in the main Lodge rooms in Tel Aviv the same as Alumim Lodge #58 previously. This evening I was given the same warmth of welcome as Alumim Lodge #10. This evening a second or Fellowcraft degree was worked. Greetings again from me in English and invited to speak in the refectory proceedings after the meeting.
I had a 45 minute meeting with the Grand Lodge State of Israel Grand secretary, Bro Victor Sarezo. He gave me a great enlightenment into Freemasonry in Israel and showed me their Grand Master’s office and Grand Lodge Museum. Their Grand Lodge of the State of Israel is on about level 5 of a commercial building in Tel Aviv.