Tuesday, November 2, 2010



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

This letter, known as the Balfour Declaration – which established Great Britain’s support of for a Jewish homeland in Palestine – paved the way in part for the fulfillment of traditional Zionist hopes and dreams. Without this vital document, and the exertion that led to it (as well as subsequent Jewish maneuvering afterward), the process that led to the founding of the modern state of Israel would have unfolded much differently, if at all.

For modern Jewish history, today, November 2 – the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration – should be much better known. And yet, due to a variety of factors, this remains one of those “important dates in history that goes unnoticed.” I find this phenomenon fascinating.

What other significant historical moments go unnoticed? Share your thoughts, and we can all learn a bit together.

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