Stunning Pictures From The Early Days Of Israel

israelMembers of Hashomer, a Jewish security organisation dedicated to protecting pioneering Zionist settlements, pose with their rifles October 1, 1907 in the Upper Galilee during the Ottoman rule of Palestine.

The notion of the “Land of Israel” (“Eretz Yisrael” known in Hebrew) has been sacred to the Jewish people since Biblical times.

Various empires — including those of the Persians, Romans, Umayyads, and Ottomans — conquered the area until World War I when Britain took control of the area and subsequently declared it Mandatory Palestine in 1920.

Modern Jewish migration to the area (at the time Ottoman-ruled Palestine) began in 1881, and the movement to establish a Jewish state in the Land of Israel formally began with the birth of the World Zionist organisation in 1887.

On May 15th, 1948, the territory officially became an independent country: “Israel.”

In 1917, during World War I, Zionist volunteers assisted Britain's conquest of Palestine. Jewish immigration to the area increased thereafter.

In the two years after 1946, more than 100,000 people arrived.

Source: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/modern_judaism/summary/v016/16.1ofer.html

Others were born and raised in the Promised Land.

Pioneering settlers built kibbutzim, or communal farming settlements.

Most of the settlers had no prior farming experience, and the land was dry.

So living collectively made the most sense in an unwelcoming environment.

Communities began taking shape, like this one near Tel Aviv.

The farming collectives would play a major role in agricultural innovation as Israel later became a world leader in sectors such as irrigation.

All the while the Crown limited Jewish immigration to Mandatory Palestine.

This led to a rise in anti-British activities and a decision by the Crown in 1947 to end their rule by the following May.

On November 29, 1947, the U.N. adopted a plan aiming to establish independent Arab and Jewish states, as well as an internationally administered zone including Jerusalem and surrounding areas.

The next day civil war broke out in Mandatory Palestine between the Jewish and Arab communities while the British planned their exit.

By April, 1948, the Haganah, a Jewish paramilitary organisation that would be succeeded by the Israel defence Forces, had turned the tide of the conflict.

The next day Israel's Arab neighbours — Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria – invaded what was the British Mandate the day before.

Immigrants continued to arrive during the conflict.

By the time Israel signed the last peace agreement with Syria in July of 1949, Israel controlled one-third more land than had been allocated to the Jewish State under the 1947 UN proposal.

With a growing population of 1,174,000 as of 1949, building settlements became a priority.

While Israelis also focused on building a sense of home.

By 1950 65,000, people lived on kibbutzim, accounting for about 7.5% of the Jewish population.

Half a century later, things look quite different. Here's Tel Aviv, Israel's most populous city, as of January 23, 2012.

Tel Aviv is now a global tech hub.

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