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The Balfour Declaration

Thanks in part to the efforts of the Russian-born British chemist Chaim Weizmann, later to become Israel’s first president, England promulgated the Balfour Declaration in 1917. (The letter was transmitted from Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to the British nobleman, Lord Lionel Rothschild.) After they defeated the Ottoman Turks and captured Palestine in 1918, the British began to fulfill the promise to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The League of Nations ratified this promise in 1922 by giving Britain mandatory power over Palestine with the understanding that it would eventually become a Jewish homeland.