Categories: Yishuv | Demographics of Mandatory Palestine | Demographics of Ottoman Syria | Jews and Judaism in Ottoman Galilee | Jews and Judaism in Ottoman Palestine | Jews in the Land of Israel | Jews in Mandatory Palestine | Ottoman society | Zionism
This, in sum, was the measure of the Yishuv’s growth. It had developed its own quasi-government, its own largely autonomous agricultural and industrial economy, and its own public and social welfare institutions. Its schools were infusing children with a spirit of Jewish national pride unprecedented either in western Europe or among the most intensely Zionist communities in eastern Europe. These qualities of self-sufficiency and national loyalty ultimately would prove decisive — more crucial even than the expansion of landholdings, financial resource, and world Jewish support — in protecting the National Home against the mounting perils of Arab hostility and British diplomatic equivocation.
In 1941 the situation for the British in Palestine was very serious. Their major front was in North Africa, trying to stop Rommel. The Vichy French were in Syria and Lebanon, threatening Palestine’s borders. The British turned to the Yishuv for help. Within the Jewish units were special fighting forces called the Palmach, the assault companies, famous for their bravery under Orde Wingate. [Their] personal hallmarks were thick handlebar mustaches. The Palmach was assigned to stop the Vichy French from crossing from the north into Palestine. They did so, suffering enormous casualties. Their reputation as courageous fighters was enhanced.
Senior lecturer at the Department of Middle Eastern History at the University of Haifa where he teaches Ottoman and Turkish history.… (continue)
Approximately 75,000 of the Palestine Arabs were Christian, heavily impacted [that is, tightly packed] in the urban areas, comparatively literate, and widely employed at the middle and lower echelons of the mandatory administration. The Muslim Arabs — the majority — were [much less economically and institutionally developed]. Fully 70 percent of them lived on the soil, mainly in the hilly northern and central regions of the country, where they raised grains, vegetables, olive oil, and tobacco.
Yishuv — (en hebreo: ישוב, asentamiento) o Ha Yishuv (El Yishuv, הישוב, o el término completo הישוב היהודי בארץ ישראל Hayishuv Hayehudi b Eretz Yisrael ( Los asentamientos judíos en la Tierra de Israel ) es el termino en hebreo que se suele utilizar para … Wikipedia Español
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It was lucky for many Jews that such restrictions were removed. Between 1933 and 1936, more than 164,250 Jews fled Germany and entered Palestine, thus doubling the size of the Yishuv. Called the Fifth Aliyah [or Immigration], these German Jews came with money to build businesses and cities. By 1936, Tel Aviv had more than 150,000 inhabitants, and Haifa had become a major port city with more than 50,000 Jews.
Two developments in the 1930s augmented the authority of Yishuv institutions. The first was an increase in the number of Jewish immigrants, who were now fleeing fascist Europe. This increased the number of people who participated in elections and other voluntary political activities. The second was the outbreak of the Arab Revolt in 1936 and the need for a larger Yishuv defense force. The Yishuv assumed responsibility for helping fund such a force through a voluntary tax levy. Yishuv institutions still drew their authority primarily from the networks created with various political movements and the leadership of the Jewish Agency, but as the legitimacy of these institutions strengthened they also began to function more effectively on their own.
For one group of angry young Jews, the Haganah defense policy of restraint in the face of Arab attacks wasn’t acceptable. Led by Zev Jabotinsky, who was still living in exile, this group broke away from the Haganah to create a separate Jewish military force called the Irgun Tz’vaei Leumi, referred to as either the Irgun or Etzel, the acronym of its full title.
It was as a result, then, of expanding medical care, of systematic Jewish efforts to drain marshes and swamps, to provide a reasonable diet and living standard for the Yishuv altogether, that marked reduction was achieved in the incidence of tuberculosis, malaria, trachoma, and typhoid, the historic scourges of the region. The Jewish mortality rate fell from 12.6 per thousand in 1924 to 9.6 per thousand in 1930; Jewish infant mortality dropped from 105 per thousand in 1924 to 69 per thousand in 1930. Progress in education was not less impressive. In the early years of the mandate, the Va’ad Le’umi [an executive committee of 36 men and women drawn from the 314-member National Assembly, the elected Jewish governmental body in the Yishuv] instituted compulsory school attendance on the elementary level. By 1930, there were 28,000 children attending Jewish schools.
The outbreak of the war in 1939 and the genocidal policies of the Nazis created enormous difficulty for the Yishuv. On the one hand, these policies substantiated the Zionist claim that diaspora Jewry lived in fragile, untenable conditions; on the other hand, by slaughtering the movement's potential population, they threatened the possibility of achieving the Zionist dream of sovereignty. However, World War II ended with the beginning of the Cold War, and the dramatic shift in the balance of world power helped the Yishuv win the international support necessary for Jewish statehood, especially from those interested in the dismantling of Great Britain's empire.
Another prominent topic in the telegrams is Istanbul’s sensitivity to European and American public opinion, and particularly that of its key ally Germany and American Jewry, with regards to the way Palestine’s Jewish population was treated. Its embassies thus paid close attention to reactions in the European press and reported back to Istanbul. This information was then passed on to Istanbul with recommendations on how to improve the Empire’s image. Some reports were then transferred to the local Ottoman authorities in the Levant and the Ottoman foreign ministry tried to convince them to cooperate with efforts to improve the Empire’s image and pacify public opinion in Europe, especially with regard to Jews who ’were expelled from Jaffa and Gaza’. It suggested, for example, asking a neutral consul such as the Spanish representative to write a report about the situation on the ground and to distribute it in Europe as a counterweight to fake anti-Ottoman reports in the European media, or authorizing a well-known German correspondent to tour the country and report back. The Foreign Ministry stressed that the explanations provided by the Empire regarding the situation of the Jews were well received in Europe and could gradually lead to a shift in public opinion there. It also asked Cemal Pasha about ways to deal with the damage to the Empire’s image in American public opinion caused by telegrams sent by Jewish deportees from Jaffa who were currently in Alexandria and Port Saʿid in Egypt.
Submarginal as these conditions were, they were immeasurably better than those of Muslim Arabs elsewhere in the Middle East. The statistics of Arab population growth were revealing: In Palestine, the increase between 1922 and 1946 was 118 percent, a rate of almost 5 percent annually, and the highest in the Arab world except for Egypt. It was not all natural increase. During those 24 years, approximately 100,000 Arabs entered the country from neighboring lands. The influx could be traced in some measure to the orderly government provided by the British, but far more, certainly, to the economic opportunities made possible by Jewish settlement.
It is highly instructive to examine how the ways in which the events of WWI are portrayed in the histories produced by the various countries that arose from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire. Clearly these histories are still mainly written from nationalist perspectives based on local or Western sources with very little reference if at all to the Ottoman perspective, Ottoman considerations, or Ottoman sources. In recent years the Ottoman archive in Istanbul, which is under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s Office of Turkey has been progressively catalogued, computerized, and opened to researchers from all over the world. The only sections that are still restricted are those concerning delicate and sensitive matters such as events surrounding the Armenian tragedy. With regards to such files censorship and other restrictions are still apparently enforced.
In 1939, when Europe’s Jews most desperately needed a haven, Britain issued another White Paper further limiting Jewish immigration to Palestine. Seventy‑five thousand Jews would be permitted to enter over a five‑year period, and then a fixed ratio of two Arabs per Jew would be maintained. This White Paper shattered the Yishuv’s hopes of attaining a Jewish state under the British Mandate. The Irgun increased its attacks against British troops.
In 1944 the Yishuv finally convinced the British to let them have their own brigade. In addition to more than 26,000 Jews from Palestine serving in the British army, the Yishuv created the Jewish Brigade, consisting of 5,000 men. The Jews in the Brigade performed double duty in the army. At the same time that they were working for the British, they organized and trained for their eventual opposition to British control of Palestine. While they fought in Italy, they arranged escape routes to get Jews out of Europe after the war. All Jewish Brigade members were in the Haganah.