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Economic Structure and National Goals—The Jewish National Home in Interwar Palestine

Jacob Metzer

The Journal of Economic History, 1978, vol. 38, issue 1, 101-119

Abstract: The formation of the Jewish national home in Palestine provides an opportunity to examine the economics of an unusual “nation building†: the planning and making of a national existence without a state. The revival of Jewish nationality in Palestine started in the late nineteenth century with the first immigration motivated by national ideology (Alia Rishona) and with, the establishment of the World Zionist Organization (1897), whose goal was to create a Jewish political entity and ultimately a state. It was not, however, until the end of World War I that the revival achieved momentum. The Balfour Declaration (November 1917) proclaiming Britain's intention to promote the formation of a Jewish national home in Palestine and the establishment of the British mandate in Palestine after the war provided the supportive political environment for the renewal of Jewish nation building. Moreover, both the League of Nations (which officially granted Britain the mandate) and the British government recognized the Zionist Organization as the legitimate representative of world Jewry and as the leading body of the emerging Jewish community in Palestine for matters concerning the national home. This gave the Zionist Organization an international legitimacy to add to its legitimacy among Jews as a quasi-governmental institution for the purpose of re-establishing their national existence.

Date: 1978
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