Israel and Jewish community after World War II

Until the mid-1900's, when Israel became a state, it was inhabited mostly by Arabs. Israel became a state in 1948, but the movement to create a Jewish homeland, called Zionism, started in the 1890's. One of the trailblazers on this subject was Chaim Weizmann, a Russian-born chemist and Zionist leader, who in 1949 became the first president of modern Israel. Weizmann was a key factor in getting the Balfour Declaration signed by the British. The Balfour Declaration was a letter issued in 1917, during World War I, by foreign secretary and British statesman Arthur James Balfour. The letter expressed Britain's approval of Zionism and also that the British government would make the" best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country." As an indirect result of the Balfour Declaration, Israel was established as "an independent state" in 1948.(1) 1. Arthur Hertzberg, "Israel and American Jewry," Commentary (August 1967), 69.

In this paper I would like to observe the issue of Israel formation and what problems it caused for people in this land. In 1920, the League of Nations, which later gave rise the United Nations, declared Palestine a mandated territory of Great Britain, and gave the British the responsibility of keeping order between the Jews and the Arabs, whose relationship had become increasingly hostile. Also, the mandate said that Britain was to help in making a national homeland for Palestinian Jews. Many Zionists viewed the mandate as helpful to their cause, but Britain, fearful of the hostile Arab population, proposed limits on the number of Jewish immigrants allowed to enter Palestine. These limits were not enforced, but they helped to alleviate the pressure being put on the British by Arab inhabitants of Palestine.

The mandate period lasted until 1948 and during that period the Jewish population in Palestine increased tenfold. During the mandate uprisings were common and led to two major revolts, one by the Arabs, the other led by the Zionists. As Jewish immigration to Palestine increased, so did the Arab opposition to Zionism and British rule. Several uprisings occurred and they culminated in a general Arab revolt which lasted from 1936 to 1939 and was finally quieted by British troops on the night before World War II (2).

About 6 million Jews were killed by German Nazis during World War II. Zionists soon realized that the need for a Jewish homeland was growing and their efforts intensified towards getting one. By the end of WWII most of the Jewish population in Palestine was revolting against British rule. In 1947, after seven years of war and exhausted by the revolts, the British decided to withdraw from Palestine and handed the problems in Palestine over to the United Nations, who on November 29, 1947, agreed to divide Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state (2). Under the plan, Jerusalem was to be put under international control due to its religious and ceremonial values to both Jews and Arabs. ...

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