The Birth of Israel

The process by which Mandatory Palestine became Israel

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The British lost even more world support when they stopped the Exodus 1947, a ship loaded with 5,200 Jewish refugees sailing toward Palestine from Marseilles. Hand-to-hand fighting took place, but the Jews were overcome. The British transported the Jews back to France. At Port-de-Bouc, the Jews refused to get off the two British ships, and the French refused to force them. The British then sailed the two ships back to Hamburg, Germany, where they forced the Jews back into D.P. camps. The Exodus scandal shook the British government. Although still allied with the Arabs, the British had to admit that things were out of control. There was tremendous pressure from both the British Parliament and the United States to end the mandate.

Finally, the British invited the United Nations to make recommendations to solve the Palestinian problem. They still hoped that the United Nations would recommend that the British retain control of the area.

After many debate and compromises, the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) recommended an Arab state and a Jewish state. The Jews would get most of the coastal plain, with Jaffa being an Arab island. They would also get the Yizrael and Hulah Valleys [fertile valleys located in the north] and much of the Negev [a southern, arid region bordering Transjordan and Egypt and containing access to the Red Sea via the Gulf of Eilat]. The rest of the [land] would be Arab. Jerusalem would be an international city.

(An interesting note: There is a story, verified by Mrs. Nelson Glueck, that Dr. Nelson Glueck, the late president of Hebrew Union College, played a central role in convincing the Yishuv to insist on getting the Negev. It looked like a very unappealing place. The Jews had succeeded in founding some small settlements in the northern desert, but the barrenness of the region was depressing. Most were convinced that the Negev couldn’t be made fertile.

Dr. Glueck was responsible for finding the Nabatean ruins in the Negev, convincing him that, given enough water, the Negev could be made fertile. He talked to Chaim Weizmann into it, and Israel got the large tract of apparent wasteland. Today agricultural settlements can be found all over what used to be desert.)

On November 29, 1947, by 133-13 majority, the United Nations voted that, beginning on May 15, 1948, if the Yishuv agreed [and it did], there would be two independent states in Palestine, and the British mandate would end.

Video courtsey of Jewish Television Network.

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