Immigration to Palestine and Israel

From Academic Kids


Main article: State of Israel.

Immigration to Palestine and Israel describes the history of Jewish immigration (Hebrew: Aliyah) to Palestine and later Israel since the rise of political Zionism.


First Aliyah (1882-1903)

Between 1882 and 1903, approximately 35,000 Jews immigrated to Palestine, then a province of the Ottoman Empire. The majority, belonging to the Hovevei Zion and Bilu movements, came from Eastern Europe with a smaller number arriving from Yemen. Many established agricultural communities (see kibbutz and moshav). The farmer cooperatives faced serious difficulties due in part to the lack of agricultural experience. Among the towns that these individuals established are Rishon Lezion, Rosh Pina, and Zikhron Ya'aqov. In 1882, the Yemenite Jews established a new suburb of Jerusalem called the Yemenite Village in Silwan located east of the walls of the Old City on the slopes of the Mount of Olives.

Approximately half of the 35,000 left by the end of the period.

Second Aliyah (1904-1914)

Between 1904 and 1914, 40,000 Jews immigrated mainly from Russia to Palestine following pogroms and outbreaks of anti-semitism in that country. This group, many of whom were infused with socialist ideals, established the first kibbutz, Degania, in 1909 and formed self defense organizations, such as Hashomer, to counter increasing Arab hostility and theft of property. The suburb of Jaffa, Ahuzat Bayit, established at this time, grew into the city of Tel Aviv. During this period, some of the underpinnings of an independent nation-state arose: The national language Hebrew was revived; newspapers and liturature written in Hebrew published; political parties and workers organizations were established. The First World War effectively ended the period of the Second Aliyah.

Approximately half of the 40,000 left by the end of the period.

Third Aliyah (1919-1923)

Between 1919 and 1923, 40,000 Jews, mainly from Eastern Europe arrived in the wake of: The First World War; the British conquest of Palestine; the establishment of the Mandate; and the Balfour Declaration. Many of these were pioneers, known as halutzim, trained in argriculture and capable of establishing self sustaining economies. In spite of immigration quotas established by the British administration, the population of Jews reached 90,000 by the end of this period. The Jezreel Valley and the Hefer Plain marshes were drained and converted to agricultural use. Additional national institutions arose: The Histadrut (General Labor Federation); an elected assembly; national council; and the Haganah.

Few of these individuals left the country.

Fourth Aliyah (1924-1929)

Missing image
First Aliyah: Biluim wearing traditional Arab headdress, the keffiyeh.

Between 1924 and 1929, 82,000 Jews arrived, many as a result of anti-semitism in Poland and the immigration quotas of the United States that kept Jews out. This group contained many middle class families that moved to the growing towns, establishing small businesses and light industry.

Of these approximately 23,000 left the country.

Fifth Aliyah (1929-1939)

Between 1929 and 1939, with the rise of Nazism in Germany, a new wave of 250,000 immigrants arrived. Again Eastern Europe contributed a significant portion as well as professionals, doctors, lawyers and professors, from Germany. With the completion of the port at Haifa and its oil refineries, significant industry was added to the predominantly agricultural economy. The Jewish population reached 450,000. Increasing Arab violence resulted in the riots, bombings and murders of 1929 and 1936 - 1939. The latter resulted in both Hebron and the Yemenite Village of Silwan being depopulated of Jews.

The British imposed further restrictions on immigration.

Aliyah Bet: Illegal immigration (1933-1948)

The British government limited Jewish immigration to Palestine with quotas, and following the rise of Nazism to power in Germany, illegal immigration to Palestine commenced. The illegal immigration was known as Aliyah Bet ("secondary immigration"), or Ha'apalah, and was organized by a Zionist institution which later became the Mossad, as well as by the Irgun. Immigration was done mainly by sea, and to a lesser extent overland through Iraq and Syria. Beginning in 1939 Jewish immigration was further restricted, limiting it to 75,000 individuals for a period of five years after which immigration was to end completely. The British made it illegal to sell land to Jews in 95% of the Mandate. During World War II and the years that followed until independence, Aliyah Bet became the main form of Jewish immigration to Palestine.

Despite British efforts to curb the illegal immigration, during the 14 years of its operation, 110,000 Jews immigrated to Palestine.

Middle Eastern Jews

See main article: Immigration to Israel from Arab lands.
Missing image
Yemenite Jews on their way to Israel

In the course of Operation Magic Carpet (1949-1950), the entire community of Yemenite Jews (about 49,000) emigrated to Israel. Most of them had never seen an airplane before, but they believed in the Biblical prophecy that according to the Book of Isaiah (40:31), God promised to return the children of Israel to Zion on "wings".

Missing image
In 1952, Jews in Israeli settlement camps

Huge numbers of Jewish refugees were temporary settled in "cities of tents" called Ma'abarot (plural). Their population was gradually absorbed into Israeli society. The Ma'abarot existed until 1958.

Many Israeli immigrants were Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews who left Arab countries to move to Israel. In some cases they had been persecuted in those countries. 114,000 Jews came from Iraq in 1951 in Operation Ezra and Operation Nehemiah.

Over 30,000 Iranian Jews immigrated to Israel following the Islamic Revolution. Most Iranian Jews, however, settled in the United States (especially Los Angeles, CA).

Operation Solomon

In 1991, Operation Solomon was launched to rescue the Beta Israel Jews of Ethiopia. On one day, June 25th, 36 aircraft landed at Addis Ababa and brought 14,000 Jews from Ethiopia to Israel.

Russian Aliyah

See The collapse of the Soviet Union and Jewish emigration to Israel and Jackson-Vanik amendment.

Other religious and ethnic groups

Boat people refugees arrive in Israel.
Boat people refugees arrive in Israel.

As a token of help, on June 26, 1977 Israel offered asylum to 66 Vietnamese Boat people and more recently, to some Kurds, Albanians and Bosnians.he:עליות לארץ ישראל


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