During the Mandate
Successive waves of Jewish immigrants arrived in Palestine between 1919 and 1939, each contributing to different aspects of the developing Jewish community. Some 35,000 who came between 1919 and 1923, mainly from Russia, strongly influenced the community’s character and structure.
These pioneers laid the foundations of a comprehensive social and economic infrastructure, developed agriculture, established kibbutzim (communal settlements) and moshavim (cooperative settlements), and provided the labor for the construction of housing and roads.
The following influx, between 1924 and 1932, of some 60,000 immigrants, primarily from Poland, was instrumental in developing and enriching urban life. They settled mainly in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem, where they established small businesses, construction firms, and light industry.
The last major wave of immigration before World War II took place in the 1930s, following Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, and consisted of some 165,000 people, mostly from Germany.
The newcomers, many of whom were professionals and academics, constituted the first large-scale influx from western and central Europe. Their education, skills, and experience raised business standards, improved urban and rural lifestyles, and broadened the community’s cultural life.
During the British mandate, agriculture expanded, factories were established, the waters of the Jordan River were harnessed for the production of electric power, new roads were built throughout the country, and the Dead Sea’s mineral potential was tapped.
Furthermore, a cultural life was emerging. Activities in art, music, and dance developed gradually with the establishment of professional schools and studios. Galleries and halls were set up to provide venues for exhibitions and performances.
The Hebrew language was recognized as one of the three official languages of the territory, along with English and Arabic, and was used on documents, coins, and stamps, and on the radio. Publishing proliferated, and Palestine emerged as the dominant center of Hebrew literary activity. Theaters opened and there were attempts to write original Hebrew plays. The Palestine Philharmonic Orchestra was also founded during this time.