Friday, November 4, 2011

The Balfour Declaration Was Issued 94 Years Ago
In 1925 Balfour Arrived to See the Jewish State in Formation

Balfour's reception in Tel Aviv (April 1925)
The government of Great Britain issued the Balfour Declaration 94 years ago this week, on November 2, 1917.  The document in effect served as the birth certificate for a Jewish national home.

British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour's declaration was in the form of a letter to a leader of the British Jewish community.  It stated: 

His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country. 

Balfour speaking at the founding of Hebrew University.
Behind him sit Chaim Weizmann and Chief
Rabbi Avraham Kook

The British Army had just captured Be’er Sheva (October 31) after months of trying to break through the Ottoman army’s Gaza-Be’er Sheva defense line. The British goal was to push north and capture Jerusalem by Christmas.  

In April 1925, Lord Balfour arrived in Palestine to lay the cornerstone for Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus.  He was received as a hero in Tel Aviv and Rishon LeZion. 

Balfour about to lay the Hebrew
University cornerstone

[Unfortunately, many of the pictures were already in stages of disintegration when they were digitalized by the Library of Congress. They are presented without cropping the damaged sections.]

In the Arab community his visit was marked with black flags.

Balfour welcomed at the Rishon LeZion Jewish community

Black flags flying on Arab house

1 comment:

  1. If you notice the fabric and "dot" design on the two women in the picture from Women praying at the Kotel -white shawls with dots and black dresses to that of the woman "Peasant women near Joppa [Jaffa] Gate, Jerusalem."on the left in white she has the same Shawl design