Development of the Jewish Community in Palestine During the British Mandate Thesis

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¶ … Jewish Community in Palestine During the British Mandate

During the time of the British Mandate, the Jewish community in Palestine grew from around one-sixth of the population to more than one-third of the population. The main reason for this was immigration which took place between 1920 and 1945. Most of that immigration was legal, but some Jewish people found their way there illegally, as well. The majority of the immigrants also came from Germany and surrounding areas, generally during the Nazi time period. With that being the case, most of the Jewish people who arrived there had been through similar experiences or knew of others who had, so they had much that they could talk about with one another.

This helped to foster a strong sense of community from the Jewish people who congregated in Palestine. When looking at the Jewish Community in Palestine during the time of the British Mandate, it is important to address what Judaism is, what happened to the Jews that caused them to flee other areas (like Germany) and what the Jewish people have done to help them foster a better sense of community, both then and now.

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Judaism is the religion that Christianity originally came from. Jesus Christ was Jewish. Judaism believes that there is no need for an intermediary between man and God, and that everyone should be treated equally. Some people say that Judaism is not really a religion, but it is. It is a set of ideas and beliefs about how life should be lived, and it is taught to children in Hebrew schools. Being Jewish is a religion, but the Supreme Court has also ruled that 'Jewish' is a race, just like Italian, German, or African-American. Many Jewish people are very offended by this since 'race' is a genetic distinction, not one based on religion. They are also upset by it because it brings about unpleasant thoughts of Nazi Germany and a time when Jews were declared an 'inferior race' that must be wiped off the face of the Earth.

Thesis on Development of the Jewish Community in Palestine During the British Mandate Assignment

Jewish people today do not see themselves as a race, a religion, or a class of people, specifically. Rather, they see themselves as belonging to the Jewish Nation, which is a great group of people. Jewish people are very family and community oriented, as is evidenced by most of their holidays. Many of their beliefs are very similar to Christianity, but they do not believe in the Messiah in the same way Christians do.

The Jews of today were originally called Hebrews. Now they are almost always called Jewish. Even if someone does not practice the religion and never has, if their mother is Jewish, they are considered Jewish. The religion of their father is irrelevant. They will always be Jewish in the eyes of other Jewish people. People who are not born Jewish can also convert to Judaism, but they must go through the conversion process correctly. They cannot just attend all of the services and observe all of the holidays and be considered Jewish by other Jewish people. It is a very close-knit group of people who share many things in common, and it has been this way always. It is part of what helped the Jewish people make it through some very trying times in their history and stay together as a collective unit.

The British Mandate

This was created by the League of Nations when the First World War was over (Shindler, 2008). The Mandate was designed to help the Ottoman Empire, but because of the problems with Germany and other countries, Jewish people started flocking to Palestine (Shindler, 2008). Originally, the Jewish people moving into Palestine was not a problem, but so many of them began immigrating there that there were quotas put on how many could come into the country (Sachar, 1990).

Because Anti-Semitism was growing up rapidly throughout much of Europe it started to spread to other areas and the Arabs in Palestine began to have similar feelings and opinions (Sachar, 1990). They did not persecute the Jewish people like Germany did, but they did want to keep them from coming in any more (Roshweald, 2006). The quotas were thought to be good for some and bad for others, but both the Arabs and the Jewish people liked them, for completely different reasons (Shindler, 2008).

There were several massacres of the Jewish people by the Arab people, and the Jewish people retaliated by massacring some of the Arabs (Roshweald, 2006). With this being the case, both sides had groups that were declared to be terrorist organizations (Roshweald, 2006). It seemed that, resilient as the Jewish people were and still are today in many ways, there was really nowhere that they could reside during that time where they were not subjected to at least some degree and type of persecution (Sachar, 1990). With this in mind, however, it is important to look at the history of the Jewish people and where they came from before they made their way to Palestine.

Where the Jewish People Came From Judaism is one of the oldest religions known to man. It has been through four distinct periods in history. In 586 B.C.E., the first Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians (Momigliano, 1987). Many of the writings that were created after the destruction of the Temple will be familiar not only to Jewish individuals but also to Christians. These writings were Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy (Momigliano, 1987). There were also important prophetic works written at this time. The destruction of this Temple marks the official beginning of Judaism as a religion (Momigliano, 1987). A second Temple was destroyed in Jerusalem in 70 C.E. By the Romans (Momigliano, 1987). Jewish individuals were back in Jerusalem at this time because Babylonia had fallen to Persia, and the Persians allowed the Jews to return to their homeland. When the Romans took over, they destroyed the temple a second time. They stopped a Jewish rebellion, and this destruction of the temple was much more final than the first one (Momigliano, 1987).

Naturally, these were not things to joke about, although many comedians have been Jewish, so they found common ground in laughter in later years. The dangers of persecution and the destruction of their property were painful and terrible from the standpoint of individual lives and from the standpoint of their society. However, they got something from that. They were 'picked on' and mistreated, and after it had passed from immediate pain into something that was more of a distant historical memory, those who liked to make jokes found reasons to joke about it (Telushkin, 1998). From that point forward, Jews became not only a religious group but a political and social entity as well, because they had more common ground that they could use to pull together, and their shared jokes made them feel as though they belonged somewhere (Momigliano, 1987).

Not all of them stayed in one place, and many of them lived within the lands that were controlled by Christianity or Islam (Telushkin, 1998). Some Jews were treated very well, and others were treated poorly, but they all had their shared beliefs and their shared community - that sense of self - that they could use to draw strength from (Momigliano, 1987). They could joke with other Jews, because they knew that they could not spend their entire lives being angry for what had happened to them in the past. Instead, they had to find something good from their misery. They had gotten back to being a cohesive and mostly happy people as a whole, just as much as any other group was (Telushkin, 1998). The past was behind them and they were looking ahead with humor in their hearts - and then something else happened.

The Holocaust

The Weimar Republic was doomed from its inception, although this was not realized until several years into it (Peukert, 1993). Those who originally created the Republic had high hopes for a democratic government that was recognized by the people as being what they wanted to keep for their country throughout time (Kolb, 2004). There were constitutional, political, economic, and cultural obstacles that it faced, however, and that it did not confront satisfactorily. Had it done so, it may have been better equipped to survive Unfortunately, the Weimar Republic was created rapidly, and there was not enough thought put into it to ensure that it would hold up under scrutiny (Peukert, 1993). Culturally, the German people distrusted it, constitutionally, there were arguments as to its legitimacy, politically, it did not offer the kind of democracy that was hoped for, and economically, it damaged the material base to the point that the people of the country had difficulties financially (Kolb, 2004).

The Weimar Republic was basically born from the national defeat in WWI, and occurred in 1918 (Peukert, 1993). During the time period that it was active (until 1933), however, it was not called the Weimar Republic… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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