The Establishment of the State of Israel Part I

By | September 11, 2021

The idea of ​​a separate state for Jews arose among Jews in Europe and Russia in the 19th century. The movement for the creation of a Jewish state – the Zionist movement – achieved its dream in 1948, when the State of Israel was created. Their desire to establish a Jewish state in Palestine was controversial. In particular, opposition was high among the non-Jewish Arab population living in the area before. From the time they first began to organize in the 19th century and until 1948, the Zionist movement worked along two main tracks. One was practical, and actually meant building the state on the ground in Palestine, with institutions, military power, politics and social life. The second track was diplomatic, with the aim of providing adequate international support.

Between 1882 and 1940, nearly half a million Jews immigrated to Palestine, which after World War I was a British protectorate. Immigration partly created violent conflict between the newly arrived Jews and the area’s Arab population. But only after the Nazi genocide of the Jews during World War II was the world willing to give the Jews a state of their own, something the UN did through the 1947 Sharing Plan.. As a result of the war, the territory was controlled by Israel larger than the United Nations had designated the Jewish state in the divisional plan.

Jewish nationalism

According to TRANSPORTHINT, the idea of ​​a separate Jewish nation state has its roots back to the 19th century. Jewish nationalism – called Zionism – emerged in Europe in response to the rising anti-Semitism and nationalism that made life for Europe’s Jews increasingly difficult.

The young Hungarian-born Jew Theodor Herzl became the leader of the Zionist movement with the publication of the book The Jewish State in 1896. Here, Herzl presented his central argument that the situation of the Jews in Europe was and was unsustainable and that they could never succeed in full assimilation in European societies. lived in. Herzl argued that the Jews were a separate people and nation, and the conclusion was that the problems of the Jews in Europe could only be solved by the Jews creating their own nation state.

In 1897, Herzl gathered a number of Jewish men in Basel, Switzerland, for the first Zionist Congress. Together they established the World Zionist Organization. From this moment on, the Zionist movement began a determined effort to establish a Jewish state in the area known as Palestine. To establish such a state, they had to depend on getting a sufficient number of Jews to move to the area, and they needed to buy up enough land to settle the immigrant Jews. Before World War I, Palestine was an administrative unit in the Ottoman Empire, and the Jews owned only a few percent of the land in the area. In addition, the Zionist movement was dependent on international recognition for the establishment of a Jewish state.

In the period leading up to the First World War, this presented major problems. The ruling power in the area – the Turkish Ottomans – was opposed to the Zionist project. They had more in common with the area’s Arab and Palestinian population, and these did not want European Jews to establish a Jewish state in the area. However, after World War I, this situation changed when the Ottoman Empire came out on the losing side, and the victors of the war – the Allies (Britain, France and Russia) gained control of the Middle East – including Palestine.

In the so-called Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916, France and the United Kingdom agreed to divide the whole Middle East between themselves, in different spheres of interest. On the basis of this agreement, the League of Nations in 1922 gave Britain a mandate to govern Palestine. Palestine thus became a British area of ​​mandate, and the period up to 1948 is therefore often referred to as the term of office.

The Zionist movement knew that the British were more friendly to their state-building project. By 1917, the Zionist movement had received a pledge from the British government for British support for the establishment of a so-called “Jewish national home” in Palestine. At the same time as the Zionist movement was working to gain international support for the establishment of the Jewish state, they had to work actively to make sure that developments in the area corresponded to the demands they made internationally. A key task, therefore, was to ensure that the area was populated by Jews.

Jewish immigration to the area

Aliyah means “to ascend” and is used to denote Jewish immigration to the Palestine area, later the State of Israel. The first group of organized Jewish immigrants arrived in Jaffa on July 7, 1882, marking the beginning of the first aliyah (immigration wave) to Palestine / Israel. During the first aliyah (1882-1903), 35,000 Jews came to Palestine, and in the second aliyah (1904-1914) another 40,000.

The third aliyah (1919-1923) was a continuation of the second, interrupted by World War I, and brought 40,000 new Jewish immigrants to Palestine, most of them from Eastern Europe. The fourth aliyah (1924-1929) came as a result of crisis and anti-Jewish politics in Poland, as well as immigration quotas in the United States, and brought 82,000 Jews to Palestine, of which about a quarter returned. The fifth aliyah (1929-1939) was characterized by the persecution of Jews in Germany, and only in the first three years after the Nazis came to power in 1933 did 174,000 Jews arrive in Palestine.

By 1940, the Jewish population had reached 450,000. Both the United States and the United Kingdom imposed restrictions on Jewish immigration to Palestine – including during the Jewish persecution in Germany in the 1930s. After World War II, immigration accelerated.

The Arab population also grew during the same period. As Jewish immigration increased, and the Zionist movement slowly but surely gained more control over land and established its state-like functions, so did the local Palestinians’ frustration and aggression towards the project.

The Establishment of the State of Israel 1