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Aliyah Bet 1948

In 1945 after the defeat of Nazi Germany, hundreds of thousands of Holocaust survivors remained homeless in displace persons' camps across Europe. When Jewish families tried to return to their former homes in Kielce, Poland, they were massacred. The US and UK had passed racist immigration quotas against Jews. Their lives in Europe destroyed, thousands of desperate survivors tried to emigrate to the British mandate, where the Zionist movement was still struggling for a Jewish state. The British labelled these refugees 'illegal immigrants' and imprisoned them in internment camps on Cyprus and in Haifa. Then, on 29 November 1947, the newly formed UN voted to partition the British mandate into two states- one Jewish, and one Arab. For the first time in two millenia, the Jewish people would be free. While Jews celebrated the UN decision by dancing in the streets of Tel aviv, extreme Arab nationalists were furious, declaring they would never except a Jewish state in the middle east, vowing to destroy it at birth and massacre its people. The armies of five countries now attacked a tiny country populated mainly with traumatized refugees; they expected a quick, sensational victory. Instead, the poorly armed young people of the Haganah and Palmach managed to defend the Jewish state and ensure its survival. One of those fighting was a Captain Abba Kovner of the Givati brigade, who had led the Vilna ghetto uprising against the Nazis. The founding of Israel in 1948 marked the end of ...
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