The State of Israel was founded in 1948. But beforehand, there was a struggle in order to build up the State of Israel. The struggle began around 150 years before the State of Israel was formed when a few students of a few great Rabbis in Lithuania began a small return of several families to the Land of Israel. They had a long-term hope of bringing the Land of Israel back to life following more than 1800 years of empty solitude. They were mocked and ridiculed by nearly everyone, but they persisted, despite the impossibility of their goals. Most of them would not see much in their lifetime. But some of their children would be the ones who would build up the very first towns in the Land of Israel.
From the late 18th century, till the late 19th century, a small trickle of Jews returned – mainly from Europe, but some from Arab lands. But the Land of Israel was still largely empty, and whoever lived there largely subsisted from donations from abroad. The big changes began to happen in the early 1880’s. That is when the first official group of Zionists from Russia banded together and came to fight against the swamps and plant roots in the ancient Land of Israel. They were also recipients of investments from a few generous supporters who kept them going despite malaria and other struggles they had.
But only in the 1890’s, when a young man named Theodor Herzl realized that the Zionist movement needed to organize and turn itself into a massive grassroots worldwide movement where every Jew could identify and support. This became a political struggle that began to be taken seriously by governments – such as the Ottoman Empire and other players in the Middle East. In 1898, Herzl announced at the Zionist Congress that he organized in Basle that within 50 years, there would be a Jewish State in the Middle East. This proved prophetic.
But the early years in the pre-State of Israel period were not simple on any level. This snapshot video gives us a sense of what that world looked like. These videos are from the British Mandate period that preceded the State of Israel, between 1918 – 1948.