Political Institutions

Living as a minority for centuries in Europe and the Middle East required the Jewish people to develop structures of organization and leadership in order to preserve and represent the community’s interests to the ruling regime. Jews taxed and educated themselves, essentially practicing self-government well before they ever controlled a territory. By emerging from a variety of social, geographic, and ideological backgrounds, the World Zionist Organization became an umbrella movement of diverse outlooks. Political debate was constant, often rancorous, and more often inclusive. In Palestine, institutions were established to link people to the land, with the Jewish Agency established to interact with the British on behalf of the growing Jewish community. Zionists elected a self-governing assembly in April 1920, with 22,000 out of 28,000 eligible voters casting ballots. The assembly did not have much power, but there was universal suffrage and parties were represented proportionately to the votes received. There were four such elections prior to the establishment of the state in 1948… read more

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