Just above the Bat Galim Promenade, at the foot of Mount Carmel in the city of Haifa, is the Clandestine Immigration and Navy Museum. A large museum with many hands-on exhibits including two retired ships and a submarine on display and open for exploring, the museum is operated by the Israeli Navy and Ministry of Defence so don’t be surprised to find the front door locked – the guards will open it for you and ask for identification. Once inside, a short video presentation is shown giving a brief overview of the Israeli Navy’s history and then the large collection of both clandestine immigration and naval maps, photographs, articles and souvenirs can be browsed. Also, for those interested, a database of war medal and decoration recipients is available behind the guard’s booth.
n the main room, the “History of the Navy” exhibit, learn about the Battle of Tel Aviv where the Israeli Navy’s first warship, the INS Eilat – originally a icebreaker for the Canadian Navy and then the US Coast Guard, intercepted a group of Egyptian ships in June 1948 with just a few machine guns and a dummy wood cannon. Read about Operation “Pirate” and the 1953 Assistance to Greek Earthquake Victims exhibit, with a life-size dummy dressed in a 1950s commando diving suit completed with weaponry. Look at the pictures of Squadron 788 and their twenty-year stint as guardians of the Sea of Galilee – constantly under fire from Syrian MiG fighter jets and artillery. Learn the amazing story of the capturing of the Egyptian warship Ibrahim El Awell by the Israeli Navy and how it was turned into the INS Haifa. Be mystified at the tale of the Israeli Naval submarine INS Dakar and its disappearance in the Mediterranean Sea in 1968, only to be found in 1999 with the help of the US Navy and modern technology.