The marginal role of Jerusalem in Zionist settlement activity prior to the founding of the state of Israel

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This article seeks to examine whether there were any changes in the approach to the Zionist etablishment to Jerusalem during the years immediately preceding the founding of the state of Israel (1948) - years when Zionist efforts to found a Jewish state in Palestine were definitive, when decisions about the political future of Palestine and Jerusalem were just around the corner, and when the Jewish presence in Jerusalem was clear. The answer to this question will be drawn from an examination of the programmes and plans for Jerusalem's development that were initiated by the Zionist establishment during this period, the reactions to these plans, and the implementation of decisions it made about Jerusalem at the time. This article deals primarily with the period from the end of the Second World War until the founding of Israel, and is based predominantly on archival material.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-145
Number of pages25
JournalMiddle Eastern Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Before the UN decision about internationalization, the programmes and plans of the Jewish national institutions for the development of Jerusalem prepared at the end of the mandate period did not alter the role of Jerusalem in Zionist settlement activity. Even then, the city was marginal to institutional settlement activity, and the plans either died on the vine or were far from implementation. The turning point came only with the establishment of the Development Company on the eve of the War for Independence, a company that was founded as a result not of the decisions of the Twenty-Second Zionist Congress but of the UN decision to internationalize Jerusalem. One could surmise that if the UN decision about Palestine (and the concomitant proposal to internationalize Jerusalem) had been postponed, implementation of the Congress decisions would also have 'suffered delay', to say the least, since before the internationalization decision nothing was done to implement the decisions of the senior institutions of the Zionist Organization. The idea of establishing a company for development with at least partial funding from the national institutions was raised as early as 1944 by the Jerusalem subcommittee of the Planning


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