Jewish Legal Right to the Land Celebrates 95 Years

Jul 24, 2017

Today is the 95th anniversary of the “Mandate for Palestine” (Mandate), issued by the League of Nations, which granted Jews the legal right to establish citizenship in what was then called “Palestine.” Effective July 24, 1922, the Mandate recognized the 1917 Balfour Declaration from Great Britain, which promised a Jewish state in the land (Preamble), established a “Jewish national home” (Arts. 2 & 4) provided that no part of Palestine (which territory was larger than the borders of Israel today) “be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of, the Government of any foreign Power” (Art. 5), provided for Jewish citizenship (Arts. 6-7), and otherwise provided legal right of Jews to the land along with legal protections.

The “Big Four” of the League of Nations included England, France, Italy and the United States.  Between 1920 and 1939, a total of 63 countries were members of the League of Nations. It was dissolved on April 16, 1946, following WWII, and was replaced by the United Nations. In the 1920s, France and England began creating nation state borders in the Middle East. For example, France once exercised control over the region that is modern day Syria and England exercised control over modern day Israel and Jordan (among other modern nation state creations in the Middle East). The Mandate specifically addressed the right of the Jews to the region then called Palestine. Following the Bar Kokhba Revolt in 132 AD, the Roman Empire changed the name of Israel to Palestine in an effort to disconnect the Jews from the land. Jewish presence in Israel and beyond extends as far back as Abraham. Three thousand years ago, King David established Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. There has always been a Jewish presence in the land that waxed and waned in size during periods calm and persecution.

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