Full Text

Israel, birth of

Subject History

Place Middle and Near East » Israel

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631209379.1999.x


The Jews had settled in their promised land about 1200 bc but in 70 ad, after a revolt against the Romans, their temple in Jerusalem was burnt down and after a second revolt in 135 ad they were scattered throughout the world in the Diaspora, without a homeland but retaining their identity as Jews and hoping to return one day to Palestine and to their holy city of Jerusalem. There was considerable anti-Semitism and persecution of the Jews in the nineteenth century, particularly in Russia and Eastern Europe, and this prompted Theodor Herzl to call a World Zionist Congress in 1897 which declared that ‘zionism aspires to create a publicly guaranteed homeland for the Jewish people in the land of Israel’. This hope was encouraged by the Balfour Declaration (1917), which said that the British government favoured the establishment of a national home for the Jews in Palestine. When Britain was granted Palestine, territory west of the river Jordan, as a mandate by the League of Nations in 1920, the Balfour Declaration was included in the mandate. The Arabs did not accept the mandate and immediately began attacks on Jews, who responded by forming their own defence force, the Haganah. The increase in Jewish immigration after Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933 led to an Arab revolution in 1936. The Arabs regarded the Jewish problem as a European one, caused by persecution of the Jews in ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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