White Paper of 1939

The White Paper of 1939[note 1] was a policy paper issued by the British government under Neville Chamberlain in response to the 1936–39 Arab Revolt. Following its formal approval in the House of Commons on 23 May 1939,[2][note 2] it acted as the governing policy for Mandatory Palestine from 1939 until the British departure in 1948, the matter of the Mandate meanwhile having been referred to the United Nations.[3]

The policy, first drafted in March 1939, was prepared by the British government unilaterally as a result of the failure of the Arab-Zionist London Conference.[4] The paper called for the establishment of a Jewish national home in an independent Palestinian state within 10 years, rejecting the idea of partitioning Palestine. It also limited Jewish immigration to 75,000 for 5 years, and ruled that further immigration was to be determined by the Arab majority (section II). Restrictions were put on the rights of Jews to buy land from Arabs (section III).

The proposal did not meet the political demands proposed by Arab representatives during the London Conference and was officially rejected by the representatives of Palestine Arab parties acting under the influence of Haj Amin Effendi al-Husseini while more moderate Arab opinion represented in the National Defence Party was prepared to accept the White Paper.[5]

Zionist groups in Palestine immediately rejected the White Paper. There was a campaign of attacks on government property, which lasted for several months. On 18 May a Jewish general strike was called.[6]

Regulations governing land transfers and clauses relating to immigration were implemented although at the end of the five-year period in 1944, only 51,000 of the 75,000 immigration certificates provided for had been utilized. In circumstances where Jewish refugees from Europe were fleeing violence and persecution, the White Paper's limits were relaxed and legal immigration was permitted to continue indefinitely at the rate of 18,000 a year.[7] Key provisions were ultimately never to be implemented, initially because of cabinet opposition following the change in government, and later because of preoccupation with World War II.[8]

White Paper of 1939
1939 White Paper cmd 6019.djvu
1939 White Paper cmd 6019
CreatedMay 1939
Ratified23 May 1939[1]
PurposeStatement of British policy in Mandatory Palestine


London Conference, St. James's Palace, February 1939. Arab Palestinian delegates (foreground), left to right: Fu'ad Saba, Yaqub Al-Ghussein, Musa Al-Alami, Amin Tamimi, Jamal Al-Husseini, Awni Abdul Hadi, George Antonious, and Alfred Roch. Facing the Arab Palestinians are the British, with Sir Neville Chamberlain presiding. To his right is Lord Halifax, and to his left, Malcolm MacDonald

During World War I, the British had made two promises regarding territory in the Middle East. Britain had promised the Hashemite governors of Arabia, through Lawrence of Arabia and the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence, independence for a united Arab country covering Syria in exchange for their supporting the British against the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Caliphate had declared a military jihad in support of the Germans and it was hoped that an alliance with the Arabs would quell the chances of a general Muslim uprising in British-held territories in Africa, India, and the Far East.[9] Great Britain had also negotiated the Sykes-Picot Agreement, agreeing to partition the Middle East between Britain and France.

A variety of strategic factors, such as securing Jewish support in Eastern Europe as the Russian front collapsed, culminated in the Balfour Declaration, 1917, with Britain promising to create and foster a Jewish national home in Palestine. These broad delineations of territory and goals for both the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, and Arab self-determination was approved in the San Remo conference.

In June 1922 the League of Nations approved the Palestine Mandate with effect from September 1923. The Palestine Mandate was an explicit document regarding Britain's responsibilities and powers of administration in Palestine including 'secur[ing] the establishment of the Jewish national home', and 'safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine'. In September 1922, the British government presented a memorandum to the League of Nations stating that Transjordan would be excluded from all the provisions dealing with Jewish settlement, in accordance with Article 25 of the Mandate, and this memorandum was approved on 23 September. Due to stiff Arab opposition and pressure against Jewish immigration, Britain redefined Jewish immigration by restricting its flow according to the country's economic capacity to absorb the immigrants. In effect annual quotas were put in place as to how many Jews could immigrate, while Jews possessing a large sum of money (£500) were allowed to enter the country freely.

Following Adolf Hitler's rise to power, a growing number of European Jews were prepared to spend the money necessary to enter Palestine. The 1935 Nuremberg Laws stripped the 500,000 German Jews of their citizenship. Jewish migration was impeded by Nazi restrictions on the transfer of finances abroad (departing Jews had to abandon their property), but the Jewish Agency was able to negotiate an agreement allowing Jews resident in Germany to buy German goods for export to Palestine thus circumventing the restrictions.

The large numbers of Jews entering Palestine led to the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine. Britain responded to the Arab revolt by appointing a Royal Commission, known as the Peel Commission which traveled out to Palestine and undertook a thorough study of the issues. The Peel Commission recommended in 1937 that Palestine be partitioned into two states, one Arab the other Jewish. In January 1938, the Woodhead Commission explored the practicalities of partition. The Woodhead Commission considered three different plans, one of which was based on the Peel plan. Reporting in 1938, the Commission rejected the Peel plan primarily on the grounds that it could not be implemented without a massive forced transfer of Arabs (an option that the British government had already ruled out).[10] With dissent from some of its members, the Commission instead recommended a plan that would leave the Galilee under British mandate, but emphasised serious problems with it that included a lack of financial self-sufficiency of the proposed Arab State.[10] The British Government accompanied the publication of the Woodhead Report by a statement of policy rejecting partition as impracticable due to "political, administrative and financial difficulties".[11] It proposed a substantially smaller Jewish state, including the coastal plain only. An international conference (Évian Conference) convened by the United States in July 1938, failed to find any agreement to deal with the rapidly growing number of Jewish refugees.

London Conference

In February 1939 the British called the London Conference to negotiate an agreement between Arabs and Jews in Palestine. The Arab delegates attended on condition that they would not meet directly with the Jewish representatives, which would constitute recognition of Jewish claims over Palestine. So the British government held separate meetings with the two sides. The conference ended in failure on March 17.[12]

In the wake of World War II, the British believed that Jewish support was guaranteed or unimportant. However they feared that the Arab world might turn against them. This geopolitical consideration was, in Raul Hilberg's word, "decisive"[13] to British policies. Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia were independent and allied with Britain.


Land classification and boundaries of land transfer regions as prescribed in 1940.

The main points of the White Paper were:

  • Section I. The Constitution: It stated that with over 450,000 Jews having now settled in the mandate, the Balfour Declaration about "a national home for the Jewish people" had been met and called for an independent Palestine established within 10 years, governed jointly by Arabs and Jews:

His Majesty's Government believe that the framers of the Mandate in which the Balfour Declaration was embodied could not have intended that Palestine should be converted into a Jewish State against the will of the Arab population of the country. [ ... ] His Majesty's Government therefore now declare unequivocally that it is not part of their policy that Palestine should become a Jewish State. They would indeed regard it as contrary to their obligations to the Arabs under the Mandate, as well as to the assurances which have been given to the Arab people in the past, that the Arab population of Palestine should be made the subjects of a Jewish State against their will.

The objective of His Majesty's Government is the establishment within 10 years of an independent Palestine State in such treaty relations with the United Kingdom as will provide satisfactorily for the commercial and strategic requirements of both countries in the future. [..] The independent State should be one in which Arabs and Jews share government in such a way as to ensure that the essential interests of each community are safeguarded.

  • Section II. Immigration: Jewish immigration to Palestine under the British Mandate was to be limited to 75,000 over the next five years, after which it would depend on Arab consent:

His Majesty's Government do not [..] find anything in the Mandate or in subsequent Statements of Policy to support the view that the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine cannot be effected unless immigration is allowed to continue indefinitely. If immigration has an adverse effect on the economic position in the country, it should clearly be restricted; and equally, if it has a seriously damaging effect on the political position in the country, that is a factor that should not be ignored. Although it is not difficult to contend that the large number of Jewish immigrants who have been admitted so far have been absorbed economically, the fear of the Arabs that this influx will continue indefinitely until the Jewish population is in a position to dominate them has produced consequences which are extremely grave for Jews and Arabs alike and for the peace and prosperity of Palestine. The lamentable disturbances of the past three years are only the latest and most sustained manifestation of this intense Arab apprehension [ ... ] it cannot be denied that fear of indefinite Jewish immigration is widespread amongst the Arab population and that this fear has made possible disturbances which have given a serious setback to economic progress, depleted the Palestine exchequer, rendered life and property insecure, and produced a bitterness between the Arab and Jewish populations which is deplorable between citizens of the same country. If in these circumstances immigration is continued up to the economic absorptive capacity of the country, regardless of all other considerations, a fatal enmity between the two peoples will be perpetuated, and the situation in Palestine may become a permanent source of friction amongst all peoples in the Near and Middle East.

Jewish immigration during the next five years will be at a rate which, if economic absorptive capacity permits, will bring the Jewish population up to approximately one third of the total population of the country. Taking into account the expected natural increase of the Arab and Jewish populations, and the number of illegal Jewish immigrants now in the country, this would allow of the admission, as from the beginning of April this year, of some 75,000 immigrants over the next four years. These immigrants would, subject to the criterion of economic absorptive capacity, be admitted as follows: For each of the next five years a quota of 10,000 Jewish immigrants will be allowed on the understanding that a shortage one year may be added to the quotas for subsequent years, within the five-year period, if economic absorptive capacity permits. In addition, as a contribution towards the solution of the Jewish refugee problem, 25,000 refugees will be admitted as soon as the High Commissioner is satisfied that adequate provision for their maintenance is ensured, special consideration being given to refugee children and dependents. The existing machinery for ascertaining economic absorptive capacity will be retained, and the High Commissioner will have the ultimate responsibility for deciding the limits of economic capacity. Before each periodic decision is taken, Jewish and Arab representatives will be consulted. After the period of five years, no further Jewish immigration will be permitted unless the Arabs of Palestine are prepared to acquiesce in it.

  • Section III. Land: Previously no restriction had been imposed on the transfer of land from Arabs to Jews, while now the White Paper stated:

The Reports of several expert Commissions have indicated that, owing to the natural growth of the Arab population and the steady sale in recent years of Arab land to Jews, there is now in certain areas no room for further transfers of Arab land, whilst in some other areas such transfers of land must be restricted if Arab cultivators are to maintain their existing standard of life and a considerable landless Arab population is not soon to be created. In these circumstances, the High Commissioner will be given general powers to prohibit and regulate transfers of land.

Reactions and effects

Jewish anti Palestine White Paper demonstrations. Women's demonstration on May 22, 1939. Demonstration approaching King David Hotel stopped by cordon of police seen in distance. matpc.19611
Jewish demonstration against White Paper in Jerusalem, 1939
Demonstration in Tel Aviv against the British mandate policy H ih 038
Jewish demonstration against White Paper in Tel Aviv, 1939, from the collection of the National Library of Israel.
Demonstration in Tel Aviv against the British mandate policy H ih 037
Jewish demonstration against White Paper in Tel Aviv, 1939, from the collection of the National Library of Israel.

Parliamentary Approval

On 22 May 1939 the House of Commons debated a motion that the White Paper was inconsistent with the terms of the Mandate. It was defeated by 268 votes to 179. The following day the House of Lords accepted the new policy without a vote.[14]

During the debate, Lloyd George called the White Paper an "act of perfidy" while Winston Churchill voted against the government of his party.[15] The Liberal MP James Rothschild stated during the parliamentary debate that "for the majority of the Jews who go to Palestine it is a question of migration or of physical extinction".[16]

Some supporters of the Conservative Government were opposed to the policy on the grounds that it appeared in their view to contradict the Balfour Declaration. Several government MPs either voted against the proposals or abstained, including Cabinet Ministers such as the illustrious Jewish Secretary of State for War Leslie Hore-Belisha.[17]

League of Nations

The Permanent Mandates Commission unanimously held that the White Paper was in conflict with the interpretation which the Mandatory Government, with the concurrence of the organs of the League, had put upon the mandate in the past. Four of the members felt that the policy was not in harmony with the terms of the Mandate, while the other three held that existing circumstances would justify the policy provided the Council of the League of Nations did not oppose it. The outbreak of the Second World War suspended any further deliberations.[12][18]

Arab Reactions

The Arab Higher Committee initially argued that the independence of a future Palestine Government would prove to be illusory, as the Jews could prevent its functioning by withholding participation, and in any case real authority would still be in the hands of British officials. The limitations on Jewish immigration were also held to be insufficient, as there was no guarantee immigration would not resume after five years. In place of the policy enunciated in the White Paper, the Arab Higher Committee called for "a complete and final prohibition" of Jewish immigration and a repudiation of the Jewish national home policy altogether.

In June 1939,[19] Hajj Amin al-Husayni initially "astonished" the other members of the Arab Higher Committee by turning down the White Paper. Al-Husayni, according to Benny Morris, turned the advantageous proposal down for the entirely selfish reason that "it did not place him at the helm of the future Palestinian state."[20]

In July 1940, after two weeks of meetings with the British representative S. F. Newcombe,[21] the leader of the Palestinian Arab delegates to the London Conference, Jamal al-Husseini and fellow delegate Musa al-Alami, agreed to the terms of the White Paper and both signed a copy of it in the presence of the Prime Minister of Iraq, Nuri as-Said.[22]

Zionist Reactions

Zionist groups in Palestine immediately rejected the White Paper and began a campaign of attacks on government property and Arab civilians which lasted for several months. On 18 May a Jewish general strike was called.[6]

On 27 February 1939, in response to enthusiastic Arab demonstrations following reports that the British were proposing to allow Palestine independence on the same terms as Iraq, a coordinated Irgun bombing campaign across the country killed 38 Arabs and wounded 44.[23]

In response to the White Paper, the right-wing Zionist militant group Irgun began formulating plans for a rebellion to evict the British and establish an independent Jewish state. Ze'ev Jabotinsky, the founder of Irgun, who had been exiled from Palestine by the British, proposed a plan for a revolt to take place in October 1939, which he sent to the Irgun High Command in six coded letters. Under Jabotinsky's plan, he, together with other "illegals", would arrive in Palestine by boat, and the Irgun would help him and other passengers escape. Next, the Irgun would raid and occupy Government House, as well as other British centers of power in Palestine, raise the Jewish national flag, and hold them for at least 24 hours even at a heavy cost. Simultaneously, Zionist leaders in Western Europe and the United States would proclaim an independent Jewish state in Palestine, and would function as a government-in-exile. Irgun seriously considered carrying out the plan, but was concerned over the heavy losses it would doubtless incur. Irgun leader Avraham Stern (who would later break from Irgun to form Lehi), formed a plan for 40,000 armed Jewish fighters recruited in Europe to sail to Palestine and join the rebellion. The Polish government supported his plan, and began training Jews and setting aside weaponry for them. However, the outbreak of World War II in September 1939 quickly put an end to these plans.[24][25]

After the outbreak of war in September 1939, the head of the Jewish Agency for Palestine David Ben-Gurion declared: 'We will fight the White Paper as if there is no war, and fight the war as if there is no White Paper.'[26]

Subsequent events

On 13 July the authorities announced the suspension of all Jewish immigration into Palestine until March 1940. The reason given for this decision was the increase in illegal immigrants arriving.[27]

In March 1940, the British High Commissioner for Palestine issued an edict dividing Palestine into three zones.

In Zone A, consisting of about 63 percent of the country including the stony hills, land transfers save to a Palestinian Arab were in general forbidden. In Zone B. consisting of about 32 percent of the country, transfers from a Palestinian Arab save to another Palestinian Arab were severely restricted at the discretion of the High Commissioner. In the remainder of Palestine, consisting of about five percent of the country-which, however, includes the most fertile areas - land sales remained unrestricted.[28]

In December 1942, when extermination of the Jews became public knowledge, there were 34,000 immigration certificates remaining. In February 1943, the British government announced that the remaining certificates could be used as soon as practicable to rescue Jewish children from southeastern Europe, particularly Bulgaria. This plan was partly successful but many people who received certificates were not able to emigrate (but those in Bulgaria survived).[29] In July it was announced that any Jewish refugee who reached a neutral country in transit would be given clearance for Palestine.[30] During 1943 about half the remaining certificates were distributed,[31] and by the end of the war there were 3,000 certificates left.[32]

At the end of World War II, the British Labour Party conference voted to rescind the White Paper and establish a Jewish state in Palestine, however the Labour Foreign Minister, Ernest Bevin persisted with the policy and it remained in effect until the British departed Palestine in May 1948.

After the war, the determination of Holocaust survivors to reach Palestine led to large scale illegal Jewish migration to Palestine. British efforts to block the migration led to violent resistance by the Zionist underground.

Illegal immigrants detained by the British Government were interned in camps on Cyprus. The immigrants had no citizenship and could not be returned to any country. Those interned included a large number of children and orphans.

From October 1946, the British Government, under the 'severest pressure' from the USA, relented and allowed 1,500 Jewish migrants a month into Palestine.[33] The gesture was in deference to the recommendations of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry.[34] Half of those admitted came from the prison camps for illegal immigrants in Cyprus due to fears that a growing Jewish presence in Cyprus would lead to an uprising there.[35]

The Provisional Council of Israel's first constitutional act was a Proclamation that "All legislation resulting from the British Government's White Paper of May, 1939, will at midnight tonight become null and void. This includes the immigration provisions as well as the land transfer regulations of February, 1940."[36]

See also


  1. ^ Occasionally also known as the MacDonald White Paper (e.g. Caplan, 2015, p.117) after Malcolm MacDonald, the British Colonial Secretary who presided over its creation.
  2. ^ by 268 votes to 179.


  1. ^ Debate and vote on 23 May 1939; Hansard. Downloaded 10 December 2011
  2. ^ Hansard, HC Deb 22 May 1939 vol 347 cc1937-2056 and HC Deb 23 May 1939 vol 347 cc2129-97; "Resolved, That this House approves the policy of His Majesty's Government relating to Palestine as set out in Command Paper No. 6019."
  3. ^ Hansard, HC Deb 18 February 1947 vol 433 cc985-94: "We have, therefore, reached the conclusion that the only course now open to us is to submit the problem to the judgment of the United Nations ...
    Mr. Janner Pending the remitting of this question to the United Nations, are we to understand that the Mandate stands. and that we shall deal with the situation of immigration and land restrictions on the basis of the terms of the Mandate, and that the White Paper of 1939 will be abolished? ...
    Mr. Bevin No, Sir. We have not found a substitute yet for that White Paper, and up to the moment, whether it is right or wrong, the House is committed to it. That is the legal position. We did, by arrangement and agreement, extend the period of immigration which would have terminated in December, 1945. Whether there will be any further change, my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary, who, of course, is responsible for the administration of the policy, will be considering later."
  4. ^ Caplan 2015, p. 114: "As it had been made clear from the start, the absence of agreement at the St James's Conference meant that the British were left, after March 17th 1939, to finalise and to enforce their new Palestine policy unilaterally. A White Paper, first drafted in late March, was not published until early May, thus affording Arabs and Jews further opportunities to continue their efforts at influencing the final terms of the proposed British policy."
  5. ^ "United Nations Special Committee on Palestine 1947". Official Records of the Second Session of the General Assembly. United Nations.
  6. ^ a b A Survey of Palestine - prepared in December 1945 and January 1946 for the information of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry. Reprinted 1991 by The Institute of Palestine Studies, Washington. Volumes One: ISBN 0-88728-211-3. p.54.
  7. ^ Study (30 June 1978): The Origins and Evolution of the Palestine Problem Part I: 1917-1947 - Study (30 June 1978), accessdate: November 10, 2018
  8. ^ Khalaf 1991, p. 66: "The White Paper was never to be implemented, initially because of Cabinet opposition and then because of preoccupation with the war effort. However, 1939 and the first two years of the war saw a quiet, low key dialogue between the government and Palestinians who were ready to accept the White Paper. But the government's intention was to keep the Arabs placated, encourage the moderates, and continue to talk but promise very little, particularly on the constitutional provisions contained in the White Paper."
  9. ^ King Husain and the Kingdom of Hejaz, Randall Baker, Oleander Press, 1979, ISBN 0-900891-48-3, page 54
  10. ^ a b "Woodhead commission report".
  11. ^ Statement by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, Presented by the Secretary of State for the Colonies to Parliament by Command of His Majesty November, 1938. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-11-03. Retrieved 2014-11-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ a b Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry - Appendix IV Palestine: Historical Background
  13. ^ Hilberg, Raul, The Destruction of the European Jews, (1961) New Viewpoints, New York 1973 p.716
  14. ^ A Survey of Palestine - prepared in December 1945 and January 1946 for the information of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry. Reprinted 1991 by The Institute of Palestine Studies, Washington. Volume one. ISBN 0-88728-211-3. p.54.
  15. ^ "The Broadcast Debate: "An Act of Perfidy" Mr. Lloyd George's Attack On Plan". Manchester Guardian. 24 May 1939. p. 14.
  16. ^ House of Commons Debates, Volume 347 column 1984 [1]
  17. ^ Benny Morris (25 May 2011). Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1998. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. pp. 158–159. ISBN 978-0-307-78805-4. The White Paper was denounced as 'illegal,' as it contradicted the terms of the Mandate, [ ... ] In Britain, although the Conservatives had a comfortable majority in Parliament, the government was put on the defensive: Two cabinet ministers (Leslie Hore-Belisha and Walter Elliot) and 110 Conservative MPs abstained, and all of Labour's MPs voted against. Also voting against were twenty Conservative dissidents including Churchill ...
  18. ^ Benny Morris (25 May 2011). "chp. 4". Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1998. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-307-78805-4. Capping it all, the Permanent Mandates Commission of the Council of the League of Nations rejected the White Paper as inconsistent with the terms of the Mandate.
  19. ^ Khalif 1991, p. 283.
  20. ^ Morris, Benny, "The Tangled Truth", The New Republic, May '07, '08 [2]
  21. ^ Cohen 2014, p. 367: "In July 1940, Colonel S.F. Newcombe. an Arabist who had served with T.E. Lawrence during World War One, made a Middle East tour sponsored by the British Council. His mission was to improve Arab public opinion about Britain. The government agreed that he should stop over in Baghdad to try unofficially, with the help of Nuri al-Said, to obtain the Mufti's endorsement of the While Paper. On his way Newcombe was briefed in Jerusalem by the High Commissioner. He was instructed to meet only with Nuri al-Said and with two prominent Palestinians. Jamal Husayni the Multi's cousin, and Musa Alami, but not with the Mufti himself. Newcombe stayed in Baghdad for 2 weeks."
  22. ^ Buheiry, Marwan R. (1989) The Formation and Perception of the Modern Arab World. Studies by Marwan R Buheiry. Edited by Lawrence I. Conrad. Darwin Press, Princeton. ISBN 0-87850-064-2. p.177
  23. ^ Kayyali, Abdul-Wahhab Said (no date) Palestine. A Modern History Croom Helm. ISBN 086199-007-2. p.221.
  24. ^ Zev Golan: Free Jerusalem: Heroes, Heroines and Rogues who Created the State of Israel
  25. ^ Penkower, Monty Noam: Decision on Palestine Deferred: America, Britain and Wartime Diplomacy, 1939-1945
  26. ^ The Brigade by Howard Blum, p.5. In 1946, a Yiddish song published in the Yishuv by Jacob Jacobs ad Isadore Lilian included these lyrics: Tserisn muz vern dos vayse papir, In der fremd viln mir mer nit zayn. Habeyt mishomyim ureey, Groyser got kuk arop un ze, Vi men yogt undz, vi men plot undz, Got, her oys undzer geshrey. "They don't care about Jewish anguish, The White Paper must be torn, We don't want to be away from our home anymore." (As described in "Palestine in Song," YIVO News No. 204, Winter 2008, p.15
  27. ^ Survey. p.56.
  28. ^ Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry - Appendix IV copy at [3]
  29. ^ Ofer, Dalia, Escaping the Holocaust (1990) pages 218ff, 290.
  30. ^ Ofer, Dalia, Escaping the Holocaust (1990) page 219
  31. ^ Ofer, Dalia, Escaping the Holocaust (1990) page 290
  32. ^ Ovendale, R, "The Palestine Policy of the British Labour Government 1945-1946", International Affairs, Vol. 55, pages 409-431.
  33. ^ Hilberg, Raul The Destruction of the European Jews, (1971) New Viewpoints ed. New York, 1973 p.729
  34. ^ Report of the Anglo-American Committee (1946) Cmd.6808 pp.65-66
  35. ^ New York Times 11/08/46 pg 35, UK Foreign Office document 371/52651
  36. ^ "Proclamation by Head of Government, Sunday May 16, 1948". The Palestine Post Internet Edition. The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 25 June 2010.


External links

Aliyah Bet

Aliyah Bet (Hebrew: עלייה ב', "Aliyah 'B'" – bet being the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet) was the code name given to illegal immigration by Jews, most of whom were Holocaust survivors and refugees from Nazi Germany, to Mandatory Palestine between 1934–48, in violation of the restrictions laid out in the British White Paper of 1939.

In modern-day Israel it has also been called by the Hebrew term Ha'pala (Hebrew: הַעְפָּלָה; ascension). The Aliyah Bet is distinguished from the Aliyah Aleph ("Aliyah 'A'", Aleph being the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet) which refers to the limited Jewish immigration permitted by British authorities during the same period. The name Aliya B is also shortened name for Aliya Bilty Legalit (עלייה בלתי-לגאלית; illegal immigration).

Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry

The Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry was a joint British and American committee assembled in Washington on 4 January 1946. The committee was tasked to examine political, economic and social conditions in Mandatory Palestine as they bear upon the problem of Jewish immigration and settlement therein and the well-being of the peoples now living therein; to consult representatives of Arabs and Jews, and to make other recommendations 'as may be necessary' to for ad interim handling of these problems as well as for their permanent solution. The report, entitled "Report of the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry Regarding the Problems of European Jewry and Palestine", was published in Lausanne on 20 April 1946.

World War II ended in Europe on 8 May 1945 and in Asia on 2 September 1945; in the United States Harry S. Truman had become President on 12 April of that year and in the United Kingdom Clement Attlee became Prime Minister on 5 July 1945. Following the Harrison Report, on August 1945 president Truman asked Britain for admission of 100,000 Holocaust survivors into Palestine, beginning a negotiation on Palestine between the two powers. On 13 November 1945, Attlee's foreign minister Ernest Bevin announced the formation of the Anglo-American Commission.The British government suggested the joint inquiry in effort to secure American co-responsibility for a Palestinian policy, fearing Arab resistance to an influx of Jewish immigrants into Palestine. The report dealt with five subjects: immigration, land, form of government, development, and security. It recommended the admission of 100,000 displaced Jews, the annulment of the Land Transfer Regulations restricting Jewish purchasing of Arab land set forth by White Paper of 1939 and that Palestine shall be neither a Jewish state nor an Arab state.

The United States' decision to jointly lead the inquiry is considered to have been driven by a desire to "clip the wings of political Zionism by treating the whole matter as a Jewish refugee problem". Moshe Sneh of the Jewish Agency noted on 11 December 1945 at an Inner Meeting of the Jewish Agency that "America's agreement to participate in the Committee was undertaken in order to strip us of our main argument...with which to appeal to the Americans against an English committee... the introduction of America is tantamount to disarming us." Nachmani wrote that the decision to include Palestine into the committee's scope was also not in the best interests of the Zionists.

The British had conditioned the implementation of the report's recommendations on the admission of 100,000 new Jewish immigrants contingent on US providing assistance in case of Arab revolt. It wasn't offered and the British government, continued to carry out its White Paper of 1939 policy.

The plan was the base for "The Morrison-Grady Plan", calling for federalization under overall British trusteeship. Ultimately this Committee plans' as well was rejected by both Arabs and Jews; and Britain decided to refer the problem to the United Nations.

Avraham Botzer

Avraham Botzer (Hebrew: אברהם בוצר‎; 25 July 1929 – 2 June 2012) was the Commander of the Israeli Navy between 1968 and 1972.

Ben Shemen

Ben Shemen (Hebrew: בֶּן שֶׁמֶן) is a moshav in central Israel. Located around four kilometres east of Lod, it falls under the jurisdiction of Hevel Modi'in Regional Council. In 2017 it had a population of 862.


Bricha (Hebrew: בריחה, translit. Briẖa, "escape" or "flight"), also called the Bericha Movement, was the underground organized effort that helped Jewish Holocaust survivors escape post–World War II Europe to the British Mandate for Palestine in violation of the White Paper of 1939. It ended when Israel declared independence and annulled the White Paper.

After American, British and Soviet armed forces liberated the camps, survivors suffered from disease, severe malnutrition and depression. Many were displaced persons who were unable to return to their homes from before the war. In some areas the survivors continued to face antisemitic violence; during the 1946 Kielce pogrom in Poland 42 survivors were killed when their communal home was attacked by a mob. For many of the survivors, Europe had become "a vast cemetery of the Jewish people" and "they wanted to start life over and build a new national Jewish homeland in Eretz Yisrael."The movement of Jewish refugees from the Displaced Persons camp in which they were held (one million persons classified as "not repatriable" remained in Germany and Austria) to Palestine was illegal on both sides, as Jews were not officially allowed to leave the countries of Central and Eastern Europe by the Soviet Union and its allies, nor were they permitted to settle in Palestine by the British.

In late 1944 and early 1945, Jewish members of the Polish resistance met up with Warsaw ghetto fighters in Lubin to form Bricha as a way of escaping the antisemitism of Europe, where they were convinced that another Holocaust would occur. After the liberation of Rivne, Eliezer and Abraham Lidovsky, and Pasha (Isaac) Rajchmann, concluded that there was no future for Jews in Poland. They formed an artisan guild to cover their covert activities, and they sent a group to Cernăuţi, Romania to seek out escape routes. It was only after Abba Kovner, and his group from Vilna joined, along with Icchak Cukierman, who had headed the Jewish Combat Organization of the Polish uprising of August 1944, in January 1945, that the organization took shape. They soon joined up with a similar effort led by the Jewish Brigade and eventually the Haganah (the Jewish clandestine army in Palestine).

Officers of the Jewish Brigade of the British army assumed control of the operation, along with operatives from the Haganah who hoped to smuggle as many displaced persons as possible into Palestine through Italy. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee funded the operation.

Almost immediately, the explicitly Zionist Berihah became the main conduit for Jews coming to Palestine, especially from the displaced person camps, and it initially had to turn people away due to too much demand.

After the Kielce pogrom of 1946, the flight of Jews accelerated, with 100,000 Jews leaving Eastern Europe in three months. Operating in Poland, Romania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia through 1948, Berihah transferred approximately 250,000 survivors into Austria, Germany, and Italy through elaborate smuggling networks. Using ships supplied at great cost by the Mossad Le'aliyah Bet, then the immigration arm of the Yishuv, these refugees were then smuggled through the British cordon around Palestine. Bricha was part of the larger operation known as Aliyah Bet, and ended with the establishment of Israel, after which immigration to the Jewish state was legal, although emigration was still sometimes prohibited, as happened in both the Eastern Bloc and Arab countries, see, for example refusenik.

Churchill White Paper

The Churchill White Paper of 3 June 1922, officially Correspondence with the Palestine Arab Delegation and the Zionist Organisation was drafted at request of Sir Winston Churchill in response to the 1921 Jaffa Riots which began with intra-Jewish violence escalated into Arab attacks against Jews. Although the attacks were primarily perpetrated by the Arabs, the British White Paper concluded that the violence was sparked by resentment towards Jewish Zionists and the perceived favoritism towards them by the British, as well as Arab fears of subjugation. While maintaining Britain's commitment to the Balfour Declaration and its promise of a Jewish National Home in Palestine, "internationally guaranteed" and "recognized to rest upon ancient historic connection," the paper emphasized that the establishment of a Jewish National Home would not impose a Jewish nationality on the Arab inhabitants of Palestine, and "the status of all citizens of Palestine in the eyes of the law shall be Palestinian". To

reduce tensions between the Arabs and Jews in Palestine the paper called for a limitation of Jewish immigration to "the economic capacity of the country to absorb new arrivals". This limitation was considered a great setback to many in the Zionist movement, though unlike the later White Paper of 1939, it acknowledged the necessity that "the Jewish community in Palestine should be able to increase its numbers by immigration", "as of right not of sufferance".

Husayn Al-Khalidi

Husayn Fakhri al-Khalidi (Arabic: حسين فخري الخالدي‎, Ḥusayn Fakhri al-Khalidī, 1895 – 6 February 1962) was mayor of Jerusalem from 1934 to 1937.

On 23 June 1935 Khalidi founded the Reform Party and was subsequently the party's representative to the Arab Higher Committee.

On 1 October 1937, amid the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine, the British Mandate administration outlawed the AHC and several Arab political parties and arrested a number of Arab political leaders. The Reform Party was dissolved and Khalidi was one of the leaders arrested. He was removed as mayor of Jerusalem and deported to the Seychelles, together with four other Arab nationalist political leaders. He was released in December 1938 to enable him to take part in the London Conference in February 1939, and was among those rejecting the British Government's White Paper of 1939.

Khalidi returned to Palestine in 1943 and joined the reformed Arab Higher Committee in 1945, becoming its secretary in 1946. He was a member of the short-lived All-Palestine Government established under Egypt's patronage in Gaza in September 1948. He published a book of his memoirs in the same year, while exiled in Beirut. He prospered under Jordanian rule, he was custodian and supervisor of the Haram al-Sharif in 1951, became a cabinet minister (for Foreign Affairs) and briefly prime minister in 1957. In 1958, he wrote a book in English entitled Arab Exodus, though it has never been published.Khalidi died on 6 February 1962. He was the brother of Ismail Khalidi and the uncle of Rashid Khalidi and Raja Khalidi.

Jewish Resistance Movement

The Jewish Resistance Movement (Hebrew: תנועת המרי העברי‎, Tnu'at HaMeri HaIvri, literally Hebrew Rebellion Movement), also called United Resistance Movement (URM), was an alliance of the Zionist paramilitary organizations Haganah, Irgun and Lehi in the British Mandate of Palestine. It was established in October 1945 by the Jewish Agency and operated for some ten months, until August 1946. The alliance coordinated acts of sabotage and terrorist attacks against the British authorities.

The Zionist Movement had high hopes for the Labour administration elected in Britain after the Second World War. The latter, however, continued to apply the policies laid down in the White Paper of 1939 which included restrictions on Jewish immigration to Palestine.

Negotiations began for the formation of the movement in August 1945 at the behest of Haganah leaders Moshe Sneh and Israel Galili. At the end of October of the same year, an agreement was signed forming the "Jewish Resistance Movement". The leadership of the new movement included four representatives: Two from the Haganah (Sneh and Galili), a representative of the Irgun (Menachem Begin) and a representative of Lehi (Nathan Yellin Mor).

In order to coordinate the activities of the groups, a civilian committee known as "Committee X" was made up of six members, representatives of the various political stream, (including Levi Eshkol). The operations board, who approved operations plans, was made up of Yitzhak Sadeh (of the Palmach), Eitan Livni (of the Irgun) and Yaakov Eliav (1917–1985) (of the Lehi).

During the movement's existence, eleven major operations were carried out, eight of them by the Palmach and Haganah, and three by the Irgun and Lehi, as well as many smaller operations. Notable among these were:

The release of 200 members of Aliyah Bet from the detention camp in Atlit

The bombing of railroads and train stations on the Night of the Trains

The bombing of dozens of bridges around the country in the Night of the Bridges

Attacks on British police stations

Bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, where 91 people were killed including 28 British citizens, 41 Palestinian Arabs, 17 Palestinians Jews, two Armenians, a Russian, an Egyptian and a Greek.In August 1946, in the wake of the King David Hotel bombing, Chaim Weizmann, president of the WZO appealed to the movement to cease all further military activity until a decision on the issue had been reached by the Jewish Agency. The Jewish Agency backed Weizmann's recommendation to cease activities, a decision reluctantly accepted by the Haganah, but not by the Irgun and the Lehi. The JRM was dismantled and each of the founding groups continued operating according to their own policy.

Jewish insurgency in Mandatory Palestine

The Jewish insurgency in Mandatory Palestine (known in the United Kingdom as the Palestine Emergency) involved paramilitary actions carried out by Jewish underground groups against the British forces and officials in Mandatory Palestine. The tensions between Jewish militant underground organizations and the British mandatory authorities rose from 1938 and intensified with the publication of the White Paper of 1939, which outlined new government policies to place further restrictions on Jewish immigration and land purchases and declared the intention of giving independence to Palestine, with an Arab majority, within ten years. Though World War II brought relative calm, the tensions again escalated into an armed struggle towards the end of the war, when it became clear that the Axis Powers were close to defeat. The conflict with the British lasted until the eruption of the civil war and to some degree also until the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948.

The armed conflict escalated during the final phase of the World War II, when the Irgun declared a revolt in February 1944, ending the hiatus in operations it had begun in 1940. Starting from the assassination of Lord Moyne in 1944, the Haganah actively opposed the Irgun and Lehi, in a period of inter-Jewish fighting known as The Hunting Season. However, in autumn 1945, after the end of the war the Haganah began a period of co-operation with the two other underground organizations, forming the Jewish Resistance Movement. The Haganah refrained from direct confrontation with British forces, and concentrated its efforts on attacking British immigration control, while Irgun and Lehi attacked military and police targets. The Resistance Movement dissolved in recriminations in July 1946 following the King David Hotel bombing, with Irgun and Lehi acting independently, while the main underground militia Haganah acted mainly in supporting Jewish immigration to Mandatory Palestine. After the UN partition plan resolution was passed on 29 November 1947, the civil war between Palestinian Jews and Arabs eclipsed the previous tensions of both with the British.

Within Britain there were deep divisions over Palestine policy. Dozens of British soldiers, Jewish militants and civilians died during the campaigns of insurgency. The conflict led to heightened antisemitism in the UK and, in August 1947, after the hanging of two abducted British sergeants, to widespread anti-Jewish rioting across the UK. The conflict caused tensions in Britain's relationship with the United States.

Mandatory Palestine

Mandatory Palestine (Arabic: فلسطين‎ Filasṭīn; Hebrew: פָּלֶשְׂתִּינָה (א"י) Pālēśtīnā (EY), where "EY" indicates "Eretz Yisrael", Land of Israel) was a geopolitical entity established between 1920 and 1923 in the Middle East roughly corresponding to the region of Palestine, as part of the Partition of the Ottoman Empire under the terms of the "Mandate for Palestine".

During the First World War (1914–18), an Arab uprising and the British Empire's Egyptian Expeditionary Force under General Edmund Allenby drove the Turks out of the Levant during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign. The United Kingdom had agreed in the McMahon–Hussein Correspondence that it would honour Arab independence if they revolted against the Ottomans, but the two sides had different interpretations of this agreement, and in the end, the UK and France divided up the area under the Sykes–Picot Agreement—an act of betrayal in the eyes of the Arabs. Further complicating the issue was the Balfour Declaration of 1917, promising British support for a Jewish "national home" in Palestine. At the war's end the British and French set up a joint "Occupied Enemy Territory Administration" in what had been Ottoman Syria. The British achieved legitimacy for their continued control by obtaining a mandate from the League of Nations in June 1922. The formal objective of the League of Nations mandate system was to administer parts of the defunct Ottoman Empire, which had been in control of the Middle East since the 16th century, "until such time as they are able to stand alone." The civil Mandate administration was formalized with the League of Nations' consent in 1923 under the British Mandate for Palestine, which covered two administrative areas.

During the British Mandate period the area experienced the ascent of two major nationalist movements, one among the Jews and the other among the Arabs. The competing national interests of the Arab and Jewish populations of Palestine against each other and against the governing British authorities matured into the Arab Revolt of 1936–1939 and the Jewish insurgency in Mandatory Palestine, before culminating in the Civil War of 1947–1948. The aftermath of the Civil War and the consequent 1948 Arab–Israeli War led to the establishment of the 1949 cease-fire agreement, with partition of the former Mandatory Palestine between the newborn state of Israel with a Jewish majority, the Arab West Bank annexed by the Jordanian Kingdom and the Arab All-Palestine Protectorate in the Gaza Strip under Egypt.

Michael Barkai

Michael (Yomi) Barkai (Hebrew: מיכאל ברקאי‎; January 26, 1935 – May 28, 1999) was the Commander of the Israeli Navy, a recipient of the Medal of Distinguished Service for his command of the missile ships during the Yom Kippur War.

Musa Alami

Musa Alami (May 3, 1897 – June 8, 1984) (Arabic: موسى العلمي‎, Müsə al-‘Alāmi) was a prominent Palestinian nationalist and politician. Due to Alami having represented Palestine at various Arab conferences, in the 1940s Alami was viewed by many as the leader of the Palestinian Arabs.Alami was born in the Musrara neighborhood of Jerusalem, Palestine into a prominent family. His father was Mayor of Jerusalem Faidi al-Alami, his sister was married to Jamal al-Hussayni and he was the uncle of Serene Husseini Shahid.

He was first taught at the school of the American Colony and at the French Ecole des Freres in Jaffa. During World War I Alami worked at the censorship office in Damascus. Alami retained a positive view of the Ottoman empire; recalling that the Arabs regarded the Turks as partners rather than oppressors, and above all: Palestine was largely ruled by Palestinian officials. Alami claimed that "a greater degree of freedom and self-government existed in Palestine than in many Turkish provinces".Later he studied law at Cambridge University and was admitted to the Inner Temple and graduated with honors degree.

Upon his return to Jerusalem, Musa Alami worked for the legal department of the government of the British Mandate of Palestine and eventually became the private secretary of the High Commissioner General Arthur Grenfell Wauchope. In 1934, Alami participated in talks with the leaders of the Jewish community in Palestine David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Sharett. According to Ben-Gurion, he suggested that the Zionists could provide significant help developing the region, but according to Ben-Gurion, Alami replied that he would prefer waiting one hundred years and leaving the land backward, as long as the Palestinians could do the job themselves.Alami was ousted from his government position as legal adviser by the British authorities and went into exile in Beirut, and later in Baghdad. He played an important role in St. James Conference, negotiations with the British government in London in 1938–1939. He was a major contributor to the White Paper of 1939.Former British diplomat G. Furlonge, who was the author of Alami´s biography, described the political scene in Jerusalem after the establishment of Israel in 1948: "The new [Palestinian] leaders were a set of young men of some education, all of them in the traumatic condition induced by the consciousness of having suffered a resounding defeat at the hand of an enemy whom they had heartily despised."In an opinion article published in 1949, Alami gave his assessment of the "great national disaster" suffered by the Arabs of Palestine.

"[T]he British were the prime causers of the disaster, and on them lies its responsibility. They were assisted by the Americans and the Russians. So much is clear. At all events, we found ourselves face to face with the Jews, and entered into battle with them to decide the future; and in spite of what the British, the Americans, and the Russians had done, it was still within our power to win the fight."

"There were two phases to the battle of Palestine. ... In the first phase the fundamental source of our weakness was that we were unprepared even though not taken by surprise, while the Jews were fully prepared. ... These same weaknesses were the source of weakness in our defense in the second phase, that of the Arab armies: disunity, lack of a unified command, improvisation, diversity of plans, and on top of all a slackness and lack of seriousness in winning the war."

"The evacuation and homelessness of the Arabs was planned and intended by the Jews."

"In the social sphere, the incompetence of the Arab governments has revealed itself in the matter of the refugees. ... It is shameful that the Arab governments should prevent the Arab refugees from working in their countries and shut the doors in their faces and imprison them in camps."

"With the establishment of a Jewish foothold and base, the Arabs are faced with a new danger. The ambitions of the Jews are not limited to Palestine alone, but embrace other parts of the Arab world. ... The next step will be an attempt to take all of Palestine, and then they will proceed according to circumstances - circumstances which they themselves will attempt to create."After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Alami lost most of his property in Jerusalem and the Galilee and went to live near Jericho, where he acquired a concession of 5,000 acres (20 km2) of desert from the Jordanian government. In 1952 he founded the Arab Development Society (ADS) to help Jericho's refugees. After he discovered water he founded a large farm and school for refugee children. Alami raised funds for building villages for the refugees and founded an agricultural farm whose produce was exported.According to Gilmour, who interviewed Alami in February 1979 in Jericho:

Both the farm and the school were highly successful until the Israeli invasion in 1967, when two-thirds of the land was laid waste and twenty-six of the twenty-seven wells destroyed. The Israeli army systematically smashed the irrigation system, the buildings and the well-boring machinery. Most of the land quickly reverted to desert.

Perhaps some of the destruction was unavoidable in wartime but what seems utterly callous and outrageous is the way Israeli authorities have behaved since 1967. A chunk of land was predictably wired off for "security reasons" and turned into a military camp. It is now deserted, [...] the Israelis refused to allow him to buy the necessary equipment either to restore the damaged wells or to drill new ones. So he made some manual repairs to four of the least damaged wells and with these he was able to salvage a fraction of the land and keep the farm and the school functioning. ...[The Israelis] are now telling him that he has too much water – though he has less than a fifth of what he used to have – and have warned him that they will be fixing a limit on his consumption and will be taking away the surplus for their own "projects" (i.e. their expanding settlements near Jericho).

...[Alami] laughs at President Carter's obsession with human rights because he knows they will never be observed in Palestine. "Liberty and justice are meaningless words for my people and my country. We have never known either." He waves towards his farm, a philanthropist's dream that was once brilliantly successful. "I gain no pleasure from this place now," he says, "I stay here out of duty. I know the Zionists have been wanting to get rid of us for years. They want me to go and have told me so. They want to build a kibbutz here. But I have a duty to keep going, a duty to my people."

Musa Alami died in Amman on June 8, 1984, as a result of circulatory collapse."Musa Alami, Founder Of an Arab Aid Group". New York Times. June 16, 1984. Retrieved January 21, 2016. His funeral took place in the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Israel Defense Forces checkpoint/crossing on the eastern exit of Jericho (through which Palestinians traveling to Jordan via the Allenby Bridge pass through) is named Musa Alami (after the adjacent farm). The site is still commonly known as "the Musa Alami farm".

One Million Plan

The One Million Plan was a strategic plan for immigration and absorption of one million Jews from Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa into Mandatory Palestine, within a timeframe of 18 months, in order to establish a state in the territory. After being voted on by the Jewish Agency for Israel Executive in 1944, it became the official policy of the Zionist leadership.In light of the extent of the Holocaust becoming known in 1944, the Biltmore Conference ambition of two million immigrants was revised downwards, and the plan included, for the first time, Jews from the Middle East and North Africa as a single category as the target of an immigration plan.In 1944-45, Ben-Gurion described the plan to foreign officials as being the "primary goal and top priority of the Zionist movement."The immigration restrictions of the British White Paper of 1939 meant that such a plan was not able to be put into large-scale effect. After Israel was established, Ben Gurion's government presented the Knesset with a new plan - to double the population of 600,000 within 4 years. This immigration policy had some opposition within the new Israeli government, such as those who argued that there was "no justification for organizing large-scale emigration among Jews whose lives were not in danger, particularly when the desire and motivation were not their own" as well as those who argued that the absorption process caused "undue hardship". However, the force of Ben-Gurion's influence and insistence ensured that unrestricted immigration continued.The plan has been described as "a pivotal event in ‘imagining’ the Jewish state" and "the moment when the category of Mizrahi Jews in the current sense of this term, as an ethnic group distinct from European-born Jews, was invented."


Palyam (Hebrew: פלי"ם, an abbreviation of Plugat HaYam (פלוגת הים), lit. Sea Company) was the sea force of the Palmach.

St. James Conference

The first St. James Conference became a conference on the partition of once Turkish-held territories in the Balkans, particularly Scutari. It took place on 3 December 1912 during the First Balkan War.

The second St. James Conference (also Round-Table-Conference or London Conference) was a conference on the Partition for Palestine. It began on 7 February 1939 and lasted until 17 March 1939 at St James's Palace in London.The conference followed the British Government statement of policy rejecting Partition Plan as impracticable in the light of the Woodhead Commission's report, suggesting that Arab-Jewish agreement might still be possible. An invitation was therefore extended to representatives of the Palestine Arabs, the neighboring Arab states and the Jewish Agency to confer with the British Government in London.The conference was led by Malcolm MacDonald, the British colonial secretary, but no progress was made as the Arab delegates even refused to sit at the same table with the Jewish representatives. The Jewish delegation was headed by Chaim Weizmann and the Arab delegation by followers of the Mufti of Jerusalem.

The meeting adjourned without result on 17 March 1939, and two months later Britain issued the White Paper of 1939.

Three lookouts

The three lookouts (Hebrew: שלושת המצפים‎, Shloshet HaMitzpim, also Mitzpot) were three Jewish settlements built in the Negev desert in 1943 on land owned by the Jewish National Fund. The goal was securing the land and assessing its feasibility for agriculture. The founding was preceded by a complex land purchase procedure, as the British authorities had practically prohibited Jewish land acquisition in the area following the costly Arab Revolt and the subsequent White Paper of 1939.These lookouts, Revivim, Gvulot, and Beit Eshel, later served as a springboard for further Jewish population of the Negev. The residents of the lookouts made extensive geophysical surveys and conducted agricultural experiments for this purpose.

White paper

A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that informs readers concisely about a complex issue and presents the issuing body's philosophy on the matter. It is meant to help readers understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision.

The initial British term concerning a type of government-issued document has proliferated, taking a somewhat new meaning in business. In business, a white paper is closer to a form of marketing presentation, a tool meant to persuade customers and partners and promote a product or viewpoint. White papers may be considered grey literature.

Wolf Gold

Rabbi Wolf Gold (Hebrew: זאב גולד‎, Ze'ev Gold, born Zev Krawczynski on May 2, 1889, died 8 April 1956) was a rabbi, Jewish activist, and one of the signatories of the Israeli declaration of independence

Born in Szczuczyn he was a descendant on his father's side from at least eight generations of rabbis. Gold's first teacher was his maternal grandfather, Rabbi Yehoshuah Goldwasser - a leader in Hovevei Zion. Later he studied at the Mir yeshiva under Rabbi Eliyahu Baruch Kamei. From there Gold moved on to study in Lida at Yeshiva Torah Vo'Da'as - the yeshiva of Rabbi Yitzchak Yaacov Reines where Torah was combined with secular studies. Gold was ordained as a Rabbi at the age of 17 by Rabbi Eliezer Rabinowitz of Minsk, and succeeded his father-in-law Rabbi Moshe Reichler, as rabbi in Juteka.

At the age of 18, he moved to the United States, where he served as rabbi in several communities including South Chicago, Scranton, Pennsylvania (until 1912), Congregation Beth Jacob Ohev Sholom in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (1912–1919), San Francisco (until 1924) and Congregation Shomrei Emunah of Borough Park, Brooklyn (1928-1935). He was a pioneer in establishing Orthodox Judaism in the United States. He founded the Williamsburg Talmud Torah, and in 1917 founded Yeshiva Torah Vodaas. He started the Beth Moshe hospital (at 404 Hart Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn in 1920. In 1947 Beth Moses merged with Israel Zion Hospital to become Maimonides Hospital) and an orphanage in Brooklyn and also founded a Hebrew teachers training college in San Francisco.

In 1914, Rabbi Gold invited Rabbi Meir Berlin, secretary of the World Mizrachi, to come to New York to organize a branch of Mizrachi in the United States. For the next 40 years, Rabbi Gold traveled throughout the United States and Canada organizing chapters of the Mizrachi movement and became president of American Mizrachi in 1932.In 1935, he emigrated to Palestine, where he became the head of the Department of Torah Education and Culture in the Diaspora in which capacity he was instrumental in establishing new educational institutions within the Diaspora, devoting himself particularly to the educational needs of North African Jewry.

During World War II, he was involved in the widespread Zionist opposition to the British White Paper of 1939 and worked to rescue European Jewry from the Holocaust. In 1943, he traveled to the United States where he participated as a speaker on behalf of European Jewry at the Rabbis' march in Washington.

He was a member of the Jewish Agency Executive, heading the Department for Jerusalem Development.

He served as Vice-President of the Provisional State Council and went on to sign the Israeli declaration of independence in 1948. He served on the founding committee of Bar-Ilan University.

On 8 April 1956, Rabbi Gold died in Jerusalem and was buried near his lifelong friend Rabbi Meir Berlin.

Two years after his death in Jerusalem, a Jewish woman’s teacher training seminary was established in the city and named after him; Machon Gold.


The Yishuv (Hebrew: ישוב‎, literally "settlement") or Ha-Yishuv (the Yishuv, Hebrew: הישוב‎) or Ha-Yishuv Ha-Ivri (the Hebrew Yishuv, Hebrew: הישוב העברי‎) is the body of Jewish residents in the land of Israel (corresponding to Ottoman Syria until 1917, OETA South 1917–1920 and later Mandatory Palestine 1920–1948) prior to the establishment of the State of Israel. The term came into use in the 1880s, when there were about 25,000 Jews living across the Land of Israel, then comprising the southern part of Ottoman Syria, and continued to be used until 1948, by which time there were some 630,000 Jews there. The term is used in Hebrew even nowadays to denote the Pre-State Jewish residents in the Land of Israel.A distinction is sometimes drawn between the Old Yishuv and the New Yishuv. The Old Yishuv refers to all the Jews living there before the aliyah (immigration wave) of 1882 by the Zionist movement. The Old Yishuv residents were religious Jews, living mainly in Jerusalem, Safed, Tiberias and Hebron. Smaller communities were in Jaffa, Haifa, Peki'in, Acre, Nablus, Shfaram and until 1779 also in Gaza. In the final centuries before modern Zionism, a large part of the Old Yishuv spent their time studying the Torah and lived off charity (halukka), donated by Jews in the Diaspora.The New Yishuv refers to those who began building homes outside the Old City walls of Jerusalem in the 1860s, to the founders of the Moshava of Petah Tikva and the First Aliyah of 1882, followed by the founding of neighbourhoods and villages until the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

Key documents of Mandatory Palestine
To 1948

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