Historical Context


The 20th Century

1939 Nazi Germany invades Poland. Persecution of the Polish Jews begins to increase in violence and brutality.
1941 The implementation of what will later be known as “Operation Reinhard,” a cover name for the physical annihilation of Jews. This eventually resulted in the murder of about 1.7 million Jews. The majority of these victims were deported from Polish ghettos. 
1943 The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising ensues in protest against the Germans relocations. The revolt is a symbol of Jewish resistance.
1945 Concentration camps are liberated and World War II comes to an end.
1947The United Nation proposes the establishment of Arab and Jewish states in the Land.
1948The British Mandate ends on May 14th. The State of Israel is created and the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is founded.
1949Israel becomes the 59th member of the United Nations

1949 to 1960s— around 250,000 Holocaust survivors settle in Israel


In 1918, in the wake of the first world war, Britain assumed control over the land they called Palestine. After British authority was codified by the League of Nations, they assumed control over the larger areas including present-day Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Territories. Under the mandate, the United Kingdom oversaw years of intense conflict building between the Jews and Arabs. Many Jews were immigrating at this time in order to flee increasing persecution, which resulted in anger, rioting, pushback and violence between the Jews, Arabs and British authorities. After the Holocaust, there became an increased urgency around the need for a Jewish homeland. On November 29th, 1947, Britain terminated its Mandate for Palestine and in May, 1948 the state of Israel was declared independent. Tensions continued between the Arabs and the Jews during the 1948 War, or the War of Independence, until the Israel boundary was established. The agreement that ceased fire on the war included that the West Bank became a part of Jordan, and the Gaza Strip belonged to Egypt. To this day, conflict and violence between the Arabs and the Jews has continued. Though lands remain divided, there are still conflicts between the two groups. 


To learn more about the Israel-Palestine Conflict, check out this informative video:


To learn more about the British Mandate, check out this informative video:


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Rachel Milberg ’20

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