• Borukh

    I don’t think you cited Martin Gilbert accurately. Herzl’s pamphlet, Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State) was first published in Feb., 1896, and was based on earlier Zionist concepts dating back to the 1840’s. In Aug., 1897, the first Zionist Congress was held in Basle. But Jews began “to return to the Jewish home land” as you put it much earlier – in the early 1880’s. For eg., the Zionist group Hovevay Zion (Lovers of Zion) established Rishon Le’Zion in 1882, and the Bilu pioneers established Gedera in 1884.

    You misquote the Balfour Declaration of Nov., 1917. IN FULL it states: “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.” Note the promise was for a “national home” and not for a national state. The wording was quite deliberate. And please note the guarantees for the non-Jewish population!

    In 1850 the Jewish population of the territory that later became the Mandate of Palestine from the Jordan to the Mediterranean only amounted to 4% of the total. BY 1880 this had risen to 5%, and at the beginning of WW1 (1914) it was 9%. Following the start of the British held mandate in 1922 their census showed a Jewish population of 12.9%. This rose to 31% in 1941 and 33% by 1948. The data comes from the Encyclopedia Judaica (1st edition) Volume 9. It’s important to note that at no time prior to the UNSCOP Partition Plan (passed by the UN General Assembly but not the Security Council in 1947) was the Jewish population more than 1/3 of the total.