MembersFrom Balfour to State

The opening shot of the Israeli-Arab conflict was fired on April 4, 1920, when Arabs struck without warning the Jews living in Jerusalem’s Old City.

By Tsvi Sadan |
Lord Arthur James Balfour
Photo: (GPO)

This attack, which lasted five days, came like thunder in a clear sky, leaving six dead and 211 wounded Jews. It shook the Jewish community to the core. And while it came as a surprise, there can now be little doubt that this pogrom was a reaction to the November 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration. This short document, carefully drafted for several months, was signed by then-British Foreign Minister Arthur James Balfour. The clause that electrified the Jewish world declared that “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object.”

Commemorating the 100th anniversary of this landmark event in the history of the Jewish people, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that it was this declaration that “galvanized international support for Zionism like never before.” He also said that the later British retreat from its commitment to build a national home for the Jewish people can never be forgotten. It is tragic, Netanyahu said, that it took three decades to fulfill the...

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