Balfour Declaration – part 1

The Balfour Declaration (Hebrew: הצהרת בלפור) that took place the 2/11/1917, was a letter from the British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Rothschild, who was the leader of the British Jewish community. In Israel’s history, the declaration was definitely one of the most important events.

The declaration occurred after two main events:

Firstly, the 1894 Dreyfus Affair in France shocked Jews into realizing they need their own country. This affair caused Jews to create a new concept of political Zionism that the main goal was to build a Jewish state in the land of Israel.
Secondly, During World War I, Great Britain needed help. Germany had cornered the production of acetone, which was an important ingredient for arms production. Great Britain may have lost the war if Chaim Weizmann had not invented a fermentation process that allowed the British to manufacture their own liquid acetone.

This fermentation process brought Weizmann to the attention of David Lloyd George and Balfour. Chaim Weizmann was not just a scientist; He was also the leader of the Zionist movement.

Weizmann’s contact with them continued, and he and also Zionist leaders such as Nahum Sokolow also pressured Great Britain to support a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
And here is the Declaration in Hebrew and English:

“משרד החוץ, 2 בנובמבר 1917
לורד רוטשילד היקר,
לעונג לי להעביר לידיך להלן, בשמה של ממשלת הוד מלכותו, את הצהרת ההזדהות עם השאיפות היהודיות הציוניות כפי שהוגשה לקבינט ואושרה על ידו:
“ממשלת הוד מלכותו רואה בעין יפה הקמת בית לאומי לעם היהודי בארץ ישראל, ותשתדל במיטב מאמציה להקל על השגת מטרה זו, בתנאי ברור שלא ייעשה שום דבר העלול לפגוע בזכויות האזרחיות והדתיות של עדות לא יהודיות בארץ ישראל או בזכויות ובמעמד המדיני של יהודים בכל ארץ אחרת”.
אודה לך אם תביא את ההצהרה לידיעת ההסתדרות הציונית.
בכבוד רב,
ארתור ג’יימס בלפור”

Foreign Office
November 2nd, 1917
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.
“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Yours sincerely,
Arthur James Balfour


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