The Early History of Modern Israel
by Rev Byron Jones
The Sovereign Lord declares - he who gathers the exiles of Israel; "I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered." (Is.56v8).
On the afternoon of May 14 1948, just a few hours before the British mandate over Palestine ended, David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the establishment of the state of Israel, signalling the fulfilment of God's Word. (Is. 66v8).
There are many examples in the Old Testament where God foretold the return of his people to the land promised to their forefathers. In fact, throughout the nineteen centuries of national exile some Jews were present in the holy land in varying numbers, though it was the onset of 'Zionism' at the end of the nineteenth century which began to see serious numbers returning. It is known that at 1880 there were 25,000 Jews resident, which had increased to 100,000 by 1914, reaching 15% of the total population.
By the end of the first world war following the Balfour declaration and the Ottoman Turks being driven out, numbers of immigrants had increased again and the effect on the population of Palestinian Arabs was profoundly positive. The new settlers brought money, energy, new ideas and European know-how which had a huge effect upon the economy of the region.