Between 1882 and 1948, a series of Jewish migrations to what is the modern nation of Israel, known as Aliyah, commenced. These migrations preceded the Zionist period.

In 1917, towards the end of World War I, following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, Palestine was occupied by British forces. The United Kingdom was granted control of the area west of the River Jordan now comprising the State of Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (Mandatory Palestine), and on the east bank of what later became Jordan (as a separate mandate) by the Versailles Peace Conference which established the League of Nations in 1919. Herbert Samuel, a former Postmaster General in the British cabinet, who was instrumental in drafting the Balfour Declaration was appointed the first High Commissioner of Mandatory Palestine, generally simply known as Palestine. During World War I the British had made two promises regarding territory in the Middle East. Britain had promised the local Arabs, through Lawrence of Arabia, independence for a united Arab country covering most of the Arab Middle East, in exchange for their supporting the British; and Britain had promised to create and foster a Jewish national home as laid out in the Balfour Declaration, 1917.

In 1947, following increasing levels of violence, the British government expressed a wish to withdraw from Palestine. The proposed plan of partition would have split Palestine into two states, an Arab state and a Jewish state, and the City of Jerusalem, giving slightly more than half the land area to the proposed Jewish state. Immediately following the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of a resolution recommending the adoption and implementation of the Partition Plan(Resolution 181(II) ), and the subsequent declaration of statehood by the Jewish National Council, civil war broke out between the Arab community and the Jewish community, as armies of the Arab League, which rejected the Partition Plan which Israel accepted, sought to squelch the new Jewish state.[163]

On 14 May 1948, one day before the end of the British Mandate, the leaders of the Jewish community in Palestine led by the future prime minister David Ben-Guriondeclared the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.[164]

 

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Moshe "Morris" Levy

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