The yishuv or “settlement” refers to the Jewish presence in Palestine in one of two time periods: the old yishuv before 1881-1882, and the new yishuv from then until Israel’s establishment in May 1948. Geographically, the old yishuv refers to the Jewish population in the four holy cities, Hebron, Jerusalem, Safed and Tiberias. The new yishuv encompasses all Jewish settlement and immigration directed to the coastal plain, valley regions, urban centers, villages, kibbutzim and moshavim. In 1908, the Palestine Office of the World Zionist Organization was established to assist Jewish settlement. Jewish national development was then organized through the Zionist Commission (1918-1921), the departments of the Palestine Zionist Executive (1921-1929) and the Jewish Agency (1929-present). In addition, semi-autonomous Jewish communal organizations like the Keren Hayesod (Finance), Haganah (Defense), Histadrut (Labor), Jewish National Fund (land settlement), Palestine Land Development Company (land settlement), Solel Boneh (building cooperative) and others collectively serviced and built Jewish communal growth. In addition to these pre-state institutions, concepts of community, civil rights, commitment to national identity, democratic outlooks, linking immigrants to the land, national identity and political liberty all cultivated during the yishuv transited almost seamlessly into the statehood period.
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