TimeLine: History of Zionism, Israel and the Jews Before the State

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TimeLine (Chronology) of Zionism and the History of Israel

1897 to 1947

Israel Timeline Summary Ancient -1897 1897-1947 1948-1966  1967-1992  Israel & Zionism - 1993 present

This timeline is intended to give you an overview and reference points for major events in the history of Israel. Links to Zionism and Israel - historical sources, Photo Gallery of Zionist History  and the history of Zionism and Modern Israel  and  Zionism & its Impact will help round out the picture.

Zionism and Israel Timeline Sections:

Israel & Zionism History Timeline (summary)

Israel, Palestine and Jews - Ancient times to 1897

Zionism and Palestine Timeline - 1897 to 1947

Israel & Zionism - 1948-1966

Israel & Zionism- 1967-1992

Israel & Zionism - 1993 present

Other Zionism and Israel Timelines:

A detailed timeline of the Six Dar War: 1967 Six Day War Timeline (chronology)  

A detailed timeline of the Israel war of Independence: 1948 Israel War of Independence (Arab-Israeli war) Timeline (Chronology)


Intelligence: Israel Pre-State Intelligence Timeline | Israel Intelligence Timeline - 1948-1956 | Israel Intelligence Timeline 1956-1960 | Israel Intelligence Timeline 1961-1967 | Israel Intelligence Timeline 1968-1973 | Israel Intelligence Timeline 1974-1982 | Israel Intelligence Timeline 1983-1991 | Israel Intelligence Timeline 1992-present 


 Additional information (off site): Brief History of Israel and Palestine and Labor Zionism  The article  - Anti-Semitism includes a Timeline of Anti-Semitism

Latest Israel News 

Detailed Timeline of Zionism and Palestine: Rise of Zionism to Birth of the State of Israel


In France, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, falsely charged with espionage. Ultimately he is exonerated with the help of Emile Zola, but the trial and attendant wave of antisemitism cause many Jews to rethink their commitment to assimilation.  The trial and other influences led Theodor Herzl to write Die Judenstadt - The Jewish State.
1897 First Zionist Congressin Basle, Switzerland.
1901 Fifth Zionist Congress establishes the Jewish National Fund ;Eliezer Ben Yehuda/A> publishes a Hebrew newspaper, “Hashkafah" (The Outlook), supported by Baron Edmond de Rothschild.
1902 Herzl publishes Altneuland.
1903 Following the horrors of the Kishinev pogroms, Herzl proposes to substitute another country as a "night refuge" for persecuted Jews. British officials suggest El Arish and later Uganda. The idea is rejected by the Russian Jews whom Herzl wanted to help. Sixth Zionist Congress split over British offer to settle Uganda. A commission is appointed to look into the question. Eventually the British offer is withdrawn. Laemel school moved to "new" part of Jerusalem, outside the walls.
1904 Second Aliya (wave of immigration) - young socialist immigrants (1904-1914). Catalyzed by pogroms and a coincidental wave of arrests in Russia preceding and following the 1905 revolution.  Herzl dies. Vaad Halahshon founded by Eliezer Ben Yehuda to popularize Hebrew as the language of the Jewish people.
1905 The seventh Zionist Congress (Basel) rules out any alternative to Palestine  as the objective of the Zionism.
1906 David Gruen (later David Ben-Gurion) arrives in Israel; First Hebrew high school founded in Jaffa; Bezalel School of Art founded in Jerusalem by Boris Schatz. First Congress of Poalei Tziyon in Poltava, under the leadership of Ber Borochov.
1907 Arthur Ruppin visits Palestine, reports to Zionist organization on status of settlements and is sent to open the Palestine Bureau in 1908.
July 3 1908 The Young Turks revolt breaks out in the Ottoman empire, and is eventually led by Enver Pasha; Sultan ‘Abd al-Hamid II is forced to restore the constitution of 1876, entailing the creation of a new parliament, and indirect representative elections. ‘Abd al-Hamid is then deposed (27Apr 09), and his brother Mehmet V installed. Policies for the ‘Turkification’ of the Ottoman territories promulgated through 1909, resulting in the creation of societies promoting pan-Arab ideas,
1908 First Arabic newspaper in Haifa, al-Karmil, popularizes opposition to selling land to Zionists.
1908  The eighth Zionist congress in 1908 adopted "Synthetic Zionism" incorporating both Practical Zionism (settlement on the land) and Political Zionism (attempts to get an internationally recognized homeland). Jewish Agency brings Yemenite Jews as immigrants to provide inexpensive labor 1908-1914.
1909 Foundation of Tel Aviv (Called Ahuzat Bayit) near Jaffa; foundation of first Kibbutz - Degania (1910 according to some sources); foundation of Hashomer (the Watchman) patrol group.
1910 British archeologist Montague Parker excavates under the Haram as Sharif (temple mount). Rumors that he had found and stolen the Ark of the Covenant caused riots by Jews and Arabs.
1911 Filastin, large Arabic newspaper, launched in Jaffa.
1912 Aref el Aref, later the historian of Palestine, mandate Southern District officer and mayor of East Jerusalem, warns in Filastin that the Jews want to take over the country.
Aug 1914 Start of WW I. Foreign nationals (including Zionists with Russian citizenship) expelled from Palestine during the war..
  July 1915  Husayn-McMahonCorrespondence - Britain promises independence for Arabia. Zion Mule Corps ("the Jewish Legion")  established by Yosef Trumpeldor in British Army.
May  1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement divides up Fertile Crescent between France & Britain into zones of influence, recognizing Arab independence in part of the land.
Nov 2, 1917 British issued The Balfour Declaration,   promising a “National Home” for the Jews in Palestine. 
Dec 1917 Gen. Sir Edmund Allenby captures Jerusalem from Ottomans for the British. Col. Reginald Storrs is appointed military governor. Allenby's conquest was aided by information from the Jewish Nili underground. However, the conquest of northern Palestine is delayed for 9 more months because fresh German advances in France force Allenby to send troops back to  Europe.
Apr, 1918 Zionist commission arrives in Palestine.
June, 1918 Emir Feisal and Dr. Haim Weizmann  meet near Aqaba
Nov 1918 First Muslim-Christian association formed in Jaffa to oppose the creation of a Jewish homeland. Another was formed in Jerusalem soon after. Armistice between Allies and Germany, Nov 11.
Jan. 1919 First Palestinian (Arab) Congress advocated incorporation of Palestine into greater Syria.
Jan 18, 1919 Paris Peace Conference opens - results in Treaty of Versailles, June 28, 1919. Haim Weizmann headed the Zionist delegation.
July 1919 General Syrian Congress (which included prominent Palestinians, Transjordanians, Lebanese & Syrians) held in Damascus, supporting the independence of an undivided Syria, and opposed to Zionism. Britain cedes authority over Syria to France after the congress finishes; Gen. Henri Gourand becomes High Commissioner.
Aug 29, 1919 Henry King and Charles Crane, the US members of the International Commission of Inquiry,sent primarily on the initiative of President Wilson, present their report based on their visit to the region in June-July, against creation of a Jewish National home in Palestine.
1919-1922 Third Aliyah (Wave of immigration) - consisted mostly of Jews returning to Palestine from exile.
Feb - Mar 1920 Jewish settlements of Tel Hai and Metullah in N. Palestine attacked (Feb 20). Josef Trumpeldor killed in second attack at Tel Hai (March 1)
March 1920 Faysal elected and crowned king of Greater Syria at 2nd General Syrian Congress in Damascus; assembly proclaims independence from France of Greater Syria; rejects Balfour Declaration and Sykes-Picot agreement. Allies occupy Constantinople.
April, 1920 Musa Kazim al-Husayni, mayor of Jerusalem, is replaced by Raghib al-Nashashibi; clan rivalry grows. 
April, 1920 "Nebi musa" Arab riots led by Hajj Amin El Husseini  and Aref El Aref in  Jerusalem. Forty six Jews Killed.
Apr 25, 1920 San Remo Conference - Supreme Allied Council assigns mandates for Mesopotamia and Palestine to Britain, and Syria and Lebanon to France.
June 1920 Haganah, Jewish Self Defense, organized by Vladimir (Ze'ev) Jabotinsky, Eliahu Golumb and others.
July 1920 Herbert Samuel named High Commissioner of Palestine. King Faisal recognizes French Mandate. French forces under Gourand retake Damascus by force with British support.  Britain arrests Palestinian notables who had supported Faysal.
Dec 1920 Histadrut, the General Federation of Hebrew Workers in the Land of Israel (Histadrut Haklalit Shel Haovdim Haivriyim Be'eretz Yisrael), was formed. Remained exclusively Jewish until 1960s, when it officially dropped ‘Hebrew’ from its name (1966).
1921 12th Zionist Congress. Haim Weizmann becomes President of the Zionist Organization. First Moshav, Nahalal, founded.
May 1921 Arab riots in Jaffa against Jewish population. Yossef Haim Brenner killed.
May 10, 1921 Hajj Amin El Husseini  appointed Grand Mufti by British High Commissioner Herbert Samuel, though Husseini had been convicted of organizing riots in 1920 and had been sentenced to ten years in jail
Jan 1922 Hajj Amin El Husseini  appointed President of the Supreme Muslim Council.
June 3, 1922 The Churchill ("Command") White Paper  notes that the Balfour declaration only promised a Jewish homeland in Palestine, and reserves East Palestine for Transjordan.
July 24, 1922 British Mandate for Palestine;Official establishment of Transjordan as a separate state; Britain, in military control of Syria, allows French forces led by Gourand to retake Damascus by force.
1922-1932 Fourth Aliya (wave of immigration)
May 25, 1923 Proclamation of Transjordanian Independence under Emir Abdullah
May 29, 1923 Palestine Constitution suspended by British after Arabs refuse to participate in the government.
July 24, 1923 Lausanne Peace Treaty signed by Greece, Turkey and the Allies
Sept 29, 1923 Palestine British Mandate officially comes into force.
1924 Official inauguration of the Israel Technical Institute (Technion) in Haifa
1925 Official inauguration of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Revisionist movement founded by Zeev Jabotinsky ;Brit Shalom (Covenant of Peace) movement founded by Martin Buber, Yehuda Magnes and others advocating a binational state.
Feb. 20, 1928 Britain recognizes Transjordanian independence (subject to treaty provisions).
July 5, 1928 Sir John Chancellor becomes High Commissioner in Palestine.
August, 1929 Arab Riots and Massacres in Hebron,Jerusalem, Safed, Haifa, Motza and elsewhere. The Jews had set up a dividing screen at the Wailing Wall in Yom Kippur of 1928 to separate men and women worshippers, prompting rumors that the Jews wanted to build a synagogue at wall, which were spread deliberately by Hajj Amin El Husseini. Amid heightening tensions, a demonstration by Jews in 1929 and Arab incitement ignited violence and rioting against Jews. Thousands of Jews fled the ancient Jewish quarter in Jerusalem. The Hebron Jewish community was evacuated after 64-67 were killed in riots.
1930 The Hope-Simpson Report  recommends cessation of Jewish immigration.
Oct 21, 1930 British Passfield White Paper proposes to limit Jewish immigration to Palestine.
1931 After questions in commons, Zionist pressure and League condemnation,  Letter of PM Ramsay MacDonald to Chaim Weizmann Rescinding the Passfield White Paper
1931  IZL (Irgun or Etzel - The Irgum Tzvai Leumi) formed by Jabotinsky and others who leave the Haganah.
1932-1939 Fifth Aliya (wave of immigrants) - Consisting mostly of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany and neighboring countries. Beginning in 1936, riots and administrative restrictions greatly reduced the number of immigrants. 1933 - Assassination of Chaim Arlozorov.
1936-1939 Arab Revolt led or coopted by the Al-Husseini family and Fawzi al-Kaukji and apparently financed by Axis powers. Over 5,000 Arabs were killed according to some sources; most were killed by other Arabs and by British. Eleven Arab clans were wiped out by Hajj Amin El Husseini  and his men.  Several hundred Jews were killed by Arabs. Husseini fled to Iraq and then to Nazi Germany. 1937-  Orde Wingate forms "night squads" for Jewish self-defense. Between 1937 and 1939 Jews build 54 "stockade and watchtower" (Homa Umigdal)  settlements to circumvent British regulations against new settlements, and bring tens of thousands of illegal immigrants into Palestine (Aliya Bet).
1937-1938 Peel and Woodheadcommissions recommend partitioning Palestine into a small Jewish state and a large Arab one.
Oct. 1, 1937 British declare Arab Higher Committee in Palestine an illegal body.
Oct. 16, 1937 (approximate date) Hajj Amin El Husseini Grand Mufti of Jerusalem escapes to Syria and thence to Iraq.
Jan.-Mar. 1939 St James Conference - Round-table conference on Palestine in London, with Arab countries, Zionists and Palestinian representatives.
May 17, 1939 1939 White Paper limits Jewish immigration to Palestine to 75,000 in total, restricts Jewish land purchases (regulations come into effect in 1940), envisions an Arab Palestinian state. Jews found the Mossad l'aliya bet to arrange for illegal immigration.
Sept. 3, 1939 Britain and France declare war on Germany. In Palestine, soldiers are recruited for the British army. About 26,000 Jews and 6,000 Arabs join and fight with the allies.
Nov 25, 1940 The Jewish illegal immigrant ship Patria  (also called Patra) carrying refugees from Europe, detained in Haifa by the British, is blown up by the Jewish underground Hagana to prevent transshipment of the refugees to Mauritius. The explosion was supposed to cause a small leak. Instead, the ship sank and 252 people died.
1940 LEHI (Lochami Heruth Yisrael - Freedom fighters of Israel) underground formed by Avraham Stern ("Yair").
1941 Palmach underground established, originally with British help, as part of a force that was to fight a Nazi takeover in Syria.
Apr. 1, 1941 Agitation by exiled Palestinian Mufti Hajj Amin El Husseini  in Iraq leads to coup. Pro-Axis Government under Rashid Ali.
May -June, 1941 British reoccupy Habbanieh and Baghdad, Rashid Ali and pro-Axis leaders flee to Teheran and Berlin; After the revolt is suppressed, a pogrom against the Jews (Farhoud) takes place in Baghdad, while British troops stand by and refuse to intervene.. Click for details of Mufti, British Intervention and the Farhud
Feb. 24, 1942 The Jewish illegal immigrant ship Struma, forced to sail north from Turkey, is torpedoed by a Soviet submarine (either collaborating with British or because the ship was mistaken for German shipping) and sunk with the loss of  428 men, 269 women and 70 children.
Oct. 1942 Battle of El Alamein. British under General Montgomery defeat Rommel's Afrika Korps and end the Nazi threat on Egypt and Palestine.
May 9, 1942 Biltmore Program- Zionist leaders, headed by Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion, convene at the Biltmore Hotel in New York and set their postwar program (known as the Biltmore Program).  The program recommended an end to the British Mandate and demand Jewish control over immigration to Palestine with the aim of founding a Jewish "Commonwealth."
1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising; Palmach members parachuted behind enemy lines in Europe.
1944 Jewish Brigade  formed to fight as part of the British forces in World War II.
Oct 7, 1944 Arab leaders meet in Alexandria to discuss postwar plans for independence and ways to prevent implementation of Jewish control over Palestine.
Nov 6, 1944 Members of the Jewish Lehi underground  Eliyahu Hakim and Eliyahu Bet Zuri  assassinated Lord Moyne in Cairo. Moyne, a known anti-Zionist, was Minister of State for the Middle Eastand in charge of carrying out the terms of the 1939 White paper - preventing Jewish immigration to Palestine by force.
March 22, 1945 League of Arab States (Arab League) set up  (Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Transjordan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, with Musa ‘Alami as Arab States’ chosen representative of the Palestinians) with British approval to shift welfare responsibility onto local population and to ensure continuing Arab support. The goals of the league were as stated in the Alexandria Protocol,of which it was an outgrowth. Charter proclaims goal of achieving closer aims between Arab States and declares that Palestine is a member of the League in a special annex.
Aug, 1945 US President Truman asks British to admit 110,000 Jewish refugees to Palestine.
Sept., 1945 British limit Jewish immigration into Palestine to 1,500 a month.
Nov. 1945 Anglo American Committee of Inquiry for Palestine appointed.
Mar, 1946 British-Tranjordanian treaty; British recognize Emir Abdullah as King of Transjordan.
Apr. 1946 Report of Anglo American Committee of Inquiry published. Recommend admission of 100,000 Jews to Palestine.
June,, 1946 Hajj Amin Al Husseini, Mufti of Jerusalem, escapes from detention in France aided by French collaborators. Husseini was to have been deported to Germany and tried for war crimes after spending the war working for the Nazis in Germany.
July 22, 1946 Irgun Jewish underground blows up British HQ in King David Hotel, Jerusalem, killing 91 persons.
Aug, 1946 British start deporting illegal Jewish immigrants to detention camps in Cyprus.
Sept, 1946 Palestine round-table conference opens in London.
Feb. 1947 Britain refers Palestine issue to the UN
April 16, 1947 Dov Bela Gruner and three other Jews convicted of anti-British violence handed  in Acre prison. Gruner was a member of the Irgun Tzvai Leumi (Etzel).
May, 1947 UN General Assembly appoints UN Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP ).
July 18, 1947 British rammed the Jewish illegal immigrant ship Exodus  (formerly "President Warfield") on the high seas. They towed it to Haifa where it was the subject of extensive publicity, generating public sympathy for the Zionist cause. The passengers were eventually disembarked in Hamburg. The incident set world and particularly US opinion against the British, and caused the British to intern illegal immigrants thereafter in Cyprus, rather than attempting to return them to Europe.
Sept 1, 1947 UNSCOP issues its report, calling for partition of Palestine.
Nov. 29, 1947 UN Partition Resolution (GA 181) - Palestine was to be divided into a Jewish State and an Arab State; Jerusalem was to be internationalized. The resolution is supported by both the US and USSR. Arab countries and Arab league refuse to recognize the resolution.
Dec. 1, 1947 Arab riots in Jerusalem. Beginning of Arab blockade of Jerusalem. The period to May 1948 was characterized by numerous skirmishes, road ambushes, riots, bombings and massacres, whether organized by one of the other sides or spontaneous. The Haifa riots and massacreswere typical.
January 1948
Arab Salvation Army (also called Arab Liberation Army - ALA)  are admitted to Palestine by the British, following a promise not to attack Jewish settlements. Their leader, Fawzi Al-Kaukji may have entered Palestine only in March. Jewish Agency concludes arms deal with Czechoslovakia, but most arms do not arrive until June 1948, after the British have left. The UN, including the US, had placed an arms embargo on Palestine. This did not apply to Arab countries including Transjordan. As independent states, they were allowed to acquire arms. The Jordan Legion received a steady supply of arms from Britain through the Suez Canal, at least until May 1948,  including a large number of 25 pounder cannon at the beginning of 1948. Hagana agents purchased 20 Auster light aircraft in Britain, sold for scrap, rebuilt them and brought them to Palestine for use of the Haganah. Haganah later rebuilt Spitfires left by the mandate for scrap as well, but did not have real fighter and bomber aircraft until May 1948  when Czech Messerschmidts and B-17s purchased clandestinely were brought into the country.


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