November 2, 2017 will mark a date of great significance to the State of Israel and Jews around the world; on this day 100 years ago, British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour composed an historic letter to Baron Lionel Walter Rothschild, prominent leader of the Anglo-Jewry community, expressing the British government’s support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
As Britain’s uncertainty grew regarding the fate of Russia, a significant ally in the First World War deeply saturated with citizens of the Jewish faith, parliament and the British public’s recognition and support of the Zionist movement became an eminent priority. Since the United States had only joined the allied forces months before this momentous day, American troops en masse would not seize European territories until the following year. Additionally, newly-elected Prime Minister David Lloyd George was a firm advocate of Zionism, a movement driven in Britain by Chaim Weizmann, a Russian-Jewish chemist, in which together they, along with British officials, believed that increased endorsement of the Zionist effort in the form of an officiating document would help to solidify the position of neutral countries such as the United States and Russia where heavy anti-Semitism ensued. Moreover, Lloyd George had envisioned British occupancy in Palestine to serve as a terrestrial entrée to vital trade resources in India and Egypt, and achieving this goal would be realized through the establishment of a Zionist nation while gaining the approval of a global Jewish society.
In Balfour’s letter to Lord Rothschild, avid Zionist and friend of Chaim Weizmann, his reverberating statement revealed: “His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors 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.” This letter became known as the Balfour Declaration and was the first of three major milestones leading to the rebirth of the State of Israel.
Three decades later, following the aftershock of World War II and horrific acts of the Holocaust, widespread support for Zionism grew at a sweeping pace. Finally on November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted for the partition of Palestine, the precursor to the declaration of Israel’s independence just six months forward.
One hundred years to date, Lord Balfour’s illustrious letter to Baron Rothschild lives on, as the people of Israel and Jews worldwide take pride in the birthplace of their Jewish heritage and its phenomenal achievements. Israel’s rapid evolution as a nation is exemplary and its progression to a technological powerhouse serves as a model to be revered. Through support from institutional and individual Israel bond investors alike, the Israel Bonds organization is fortifying Israel’s economy and continuing the legacy that Lord Balfour envisioned when he penned this monumental declaration over a century ago.