Dec. 2, 2016
- The Balfour Declaration Came as the Jewish Community in Palestine Faced Eradication – Lenny Ben-David
The Balfour Declaration is hailed by Israel’s friends as a great historic document establishing the principle of a Jewish state. But Balfour’s declaration must also be seen in the context of the horrifying events of World War I when the indigenous Jewish community in Palestine was threatened with eradication. Many Jews of Jerusalem depended on charity funds that came from Jewish communities in Europe. But with the onset of the war, Turkey prohibited the funding from its enemies. In addition, Turkey instituted forced conscription.
In December 1914, the Turks expelled 6,000 Jews of Russian origin from Jaffa. A severe locust plague hit Palestine in April 1915, leading to reports of deaths from starvation. On April 6, 1917, the eve of Passover, the Turks ordered the expulsion of approximately 8-10,000 Jews from Jaffa and Tel Aviv.
Allied forces captured Beersheba on October 13, 1917, and the Balfour Declaration was declared on November 2. On December 9, the British army liberated Jerusalem. The writer served 25 years in senior posts in AIPAC in Washington and Jerusalem, and as Israel’s Deputy Chief of Mission in the Embassy in Washington. (Jerusalem Post)