Jerusalem occupied only a marginal place in political Zionism's endeavours in Eretz Yisrael, except for the periods prior to World War I and the immediate post-war years. The Zionist establishment neglected Jerusalem for several reasons. A central segment of the city's Jewish population (the 'Old Yishuv') opposed Zionism and stood for the exact opposite of everything that Zionism was striving to create. Jerusalem was remote from the agricultural settlements, the primary concern of the Zionist establishment. In fact, Tel Aviv became the focal point and economic hub of the Yishuv. Political limitations on Jerusalem abounded due to the interests of the great powers as well as those of the Christian and Muslim worlds. Even during the 1940s, a decisive period for the fate of Zionism's aspirations to Jewish statehood, no significant change occurred in the Zionist establishment's attitude towards Jerusalem. The city remained marginal as far as Zionist settlement activities were concerned; development plans either failed to get off the ground or were never implemented. During those crucial years, the main settlement work focused on land acquisition and the creation of new rural settlements in the country's frontiers, with the purpose of extending the boundaries of the future Jewish State and of intensifying Jewish presence in thinly inhabited zones. It would seem that the Zionist establishment was aware that achieving Jewish statehood would entail concessions in Jerusalem, the extent of which was yet unknown, further emphasizing Jerusalem's marginality. A real turnabout in the attitude towards Jerusalem occurred only after the UN Partition Resolution (November 1947) relating to the establishment of a Jewsih State and the internationalization of Jerusalem, to which the Zionist leadership gave its consent. Notwithstanding its agreement to internationalization, the Zionist establishment was moved to take concrete steps to develop Jerusalem and reinforce its Jewish population. This was motivated by the deep Jewish attachment to Jerusalem, the fact of having obtained a Jewish State, and the chance of at least possessing Western Jerusalem ten years later through a referendum among its inhabitants, as envisaged by the UN Resolution. This impulse tried to counter the tendency among Jewish residents to move away from the city, due to its impending internationalization.
|Original language||American English|
|State||Published - 1996|