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.

Documents

1896 Herzl – The Jewish Question and the Plan for the Jewish State
1917 The Balfour Declaration
1937 The Political Significance of Land Purchase
1938 Arab Leaders Meeting in Damascus
1939 Mufti Hajj Amin Al Husayni, Decision to Reject 1939 White Paper
1946 Reports of the Jewish Agency Executives Submitted to the Twenty-second Congress at Basle, Excerpts
1947 The Jewish Plan for Palestine, Excerpts
1947 Abdulrahman ‘Azzam Pasha Rejects Any Compromise with Zionists
1947 UNGA Resolution 181 Partition Plan