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Lecture 15

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McGill University
HIST 219
Dan Heller

18 November 2013: Jewish Life in Mandate Palestine • Minimal support for Zionism, then huge support with 100,000+ Jews living in Palestine • Zionist movement as an unsuccessful enterprise • Eve of WWI, 85,000 Jews lived in Ottoman Palestine; 12% of population o More than half lived in Jerusalem, were religious, no connection to Zionism o 12,000 Jews on Zionist agricultural settings in the country o Max Nordow, said the Zionist movement had no achievements to think of, waiting for the fall of the Ottoman empire British Aid in Zionism • Britain + France allied to tsarist Russia • Chaim Weizmann says neutrality is a bad idea – chemist, born and raised in the Pale of Settlement o Studies in Germany and Switzerland o Begins activism in 1901, by the war, he is one of the key leaders o Tries to create pro-Zionist sentiment among the British  Britain begins to take serious look at Palestine; strategic asset, see it as stepping stone through Egypt, Suez Canal all the way to India  Zionist movement occupied 4 rooms in Picadilly Circus  See the return of Jews as a process of messianic redemption  Belford Declaration – Jewish homeland • Jews are not the only ones courted by the British government o Sir Arthur Henry McMahon British High commissioner in Egypt wrote letters to Hussein bin Ali, leader of the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire  McMahon supports the revolt, never says the fate of the Jewish empire  If Hussein bin Ali lead an Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire the British would grant freedom to places in the Middle East • British troops enter, Zionists believed that they could gain independence • Some supported Jews, some supported Arab nationalists; some found both repugnant • At time British supported immigration, other times, they curtailed and limited Jewish immigration • British kept their original promise to Zionists that they would help get them a Jewish homeland • British play a role in selecting immigrants, allowed them to purchase land, allowed Jews to set up new industries as well as banks Moving to the Jewish State • Jews that came to mandate Palestine and took part in construction of the Jewish state, they were building but also being built (spiritual) • Demographic Revolution • Waves of Aliyah in Mandate Palestine o 1919 – 1923: 37,000 immigrants, 14,000 single  Ideological, socialism, young, think they are bringing some of Soviet Union’s revolution o 1924 – 1928: 80,000 immigrants, the vast majority from Poland  Middle class, merchants, peddlers, not socialists  23,000 leave in the wake of the economic crisis in Palestine o 1929 – 1939: between 225,00 – 300,00 Jews  Rise of Hitler, economic depression  Jews in Eastern Europe in the interwar period are poor and desperate for a way out • End up living in 3 main cities: Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem • By 1931, 46,000 people living in Tel Aviv; establishing industries, factories, merchant life in places like Tel Aviv o Terrifies Zionists; wanted Jews to become something else, didn’t want Tel Aviv to become Warsaw • 19% of the immigrants take a different route – Kibbutz o Link between economic occupation and inner morality o Believe that if Jews are taken outside of being merchants + peddlers, they will be stronger and more moral; shed the terrible things that happened in the diaspora o Strategically important for 2 reasons:  Location - Establishing future borders of the state  The “Halutz”: The pioneer; developed in contrast to Jewish life in Eastern Europe • Comes from biblical Hebrew, refers to the military – vanguard of troops on the front lines • For Zionists, especially socialists, working the land was a conquest – there was a military component to it • David Ben Gurion – leader of Mapai and the Histadrut o Ends of being the leader of Palestine’s most powerful and popular Zionist party, known as Mapai (Labour Zionists)  By 1930s, represented 30% of Jewish workers in Mandate Palestine  1935, elected chairman of worldwide Zionist organization  Mapai success had to do with the political infrastructure – Histadrut (Federation), 1920; a trade union, schooling, welfare program, health care, banks; controlled  Histadrut – negotiated with British government, Jewish employer • Had to go through the Histradrut • Jewish state would be founded not by military conquests, but by working the land Histadrut • Kibbush Avoda: The Conquest of Labour - an ideology promoted by socialist Zionists, who come to dominate Zionist politics in the 1920s. 1. In order to transform into the “new Jew”, Jewish immigrants to Palestine must work as manual labourers 2. Jewish employers should replace Arab workers with Jewish ones  Call Jewish workers to go on strike if the employers refuse to fire Arabs  Should only employ Jews because Jews provide largest amount of taxes in Mandate Palestine 3. Jews should only purchase products made in Palestine produced by Jews Hebrew Culture • Spoke Hebrew; rise of spoken Hebrew in the interwar period; Typically spoken during prayers, r
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