As with the ancient Hebrews on approaching the land reported that there were giants there, so, with every Jewish return to the land since then, there is fierce opposition. But in every case, the “giants” weakened and in good time were overcome.
In the very first modern “alijahs” (the Hebrew word meaning “to go up” to the land) in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, there were two mighty giants there—first the Ottoman Empire. It took the First World War to fell that giant.
After that war, Palestine was placed in the hand of the British Empire-- the second giant. That giant was supposed to be benevolent—called “a protectorate”, assisting the Jews in their efforts to establish a nation. The Second World War felled Britain as a viable empire.
The Jewish leaders thought Britain would be the ideal protectorate for Palestine. But the relations very quickly got nasty.
THE COLONIAL ADMINISTRATION
In 1919 The Military Administration of Britain moved out of Palestine, and the Colonial Office moved in. The generals exited, and the bureaucrats took over.
The British Colonial Code existed to develop and acquire cheap raw material from the dominated country and then manufacture goods with that material. Finally, they would take the finished product back to the subservient country to sell it for hefty profits. Its officials were men of cold reserve and had no feelings for Jewish sufferings.
But the Zionists/Jews in Palestine didn’t really need Britain to develop Palestine. They began developing it themselves as soon as they entered. Even though they were professionals and intellectuals back in their European countries of origin, they had already trained themselves in land development, building and infrastructure.
The Jewish development of Palestine was phenomenal. The British Mandates Commission in 1935 described the Jewish performance as an amazing record of progress—“the most notable colonization undertaking of modern times.” And the Brits had seen a lot of those undertakings. If they were unsuccessful one way, with unshakable willpower they tried another.
Regardless of that affirmation of Jewish endeavors, The Colonial Administration after the First World War began looking at the Jews with disdain. The literature of anti-Semitism at the time was flooding the book market. “The world Jewish plot” was the bait by which the Zionists were accused. In London, officials of the Colonial Office took Palestinian-Jewish tax revenue and with it actually organized a campaign to de-legitimize the Zionist effort!
Let’s get down to some specifics on how this anti-Zionist fever was institutionalized.
September, 1923: The Palestine Mandate was issued by the League of Nations. Point #1 of it makes it obligatory upon the administration of Palestine “to facilitate Jewish immigration.” Well, the British Colonial Office did everything it could to lessen Jewish immigration to the Holy Land! They sided with the Arabs who claimed that the land was already overpopulated and couldn’t assimilate any more Jews. At the time, there were less than a million residents. Today, in the reduced land, there are over nine million, and no one now says that Israel is overpopulated.
The Colonial Office Immigration Department acted more like an FBI than a facilitator. Anxious Jews were being turned away at the docks of Jaffa and Haifa while industries were frustrated with labor shortages.
A spirit of despondency set in to the Jewish community. Yet, Jewish ingenuity and hard work was truly making the saying fit: “The desert shall bloom like a rose.” While most other countries were suffering from the Great Depression in the 1930’s was rapidly increasing production.
Jewish farmers were the first to create markets, advertise, grade and select and introduce new varieties. EXAMPLE: In 1936, their average milk production per cow was 3695 quarts annually compared with the Arab average of just 845 quarts. EXAMPLE: Likewise with Jewish industry: In 1930 the Brits “proved” that there was no more land for development and thus the industrial outlook was hopeless. But in the time from 1930 to 1936, the Jewish community increased factories from 2274 to 4615. The Brits had warned that it would be very bad and possibly fatal to attract large capital for “doubtful industries” in Palestine. But in that 6-year period, industrial output went from 2,100,000 lbs. to 9,109,330.
On and on we could go.
In the 1930’s the major Jewish settlements were in the coastal plain and valleys around Haifa and Tel Aviv. Scores of settlements were located there. But the roads were few and inadequate. The British plans for roads were only to Arab villages. And that is the way it was and remained despite constant coaxing by the Jewish residents. And…get this: the Colonial Administration denied the colonists permission to build the roads themselves in their free time. The two main roads through Palestine went to Jordan. Ziff says that “for two decades Jewish colonists pled to deaf ears, issuing volumes of protest that would fill a library.”
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SO, OUR OBSERVATION: One element in the English peoples was pro-Zionist/pro-Jewish represented by David Lloyd-George and Arthur Balfour. The other element, represented by the Colonial Administration of Great Britain, was crassly materialistic, imperialist-driven and clearly anti-Semitic.
CONCLUSION: The Jewish people are a work of God; they are called by Him and given gifts. (Though they are sinful witnesses.) Therefore, they are a conundrum.
The talents that are given to His Chosen People are striking, and the Gentiles cannot understand such things unless they take into account that God the Lord has called this people—called them to stand out in order to make Him known. Unless we acknowledge this, we, in my opinion, will not understand “Israel the Chosen.” (My book title)
We will pursue this theme in coming blogs. Next week I intend to report on what the Israelis are doing to shorten the time the world will have to contend with the corona virus.
In the early 20th century the British reactions were representative of the world’s reactions. Some see and believe in the God of history—the sovereign God—through His strange and mighty acts. Others are skeptical and preoccupied with reaching a selfish goal. They do not believe. They are crassly materialistic and filled with enmity, in this case, towards the Chosen People. And they make more than their share of trouble.
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-- The picture above is of Lord Arthur Balfour, author of "The Balfour Declaration," a public statement promoting Palestine as a homeland for the Jewish People.
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