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The British Mandate

Lawrence Bush
July 23, 2017

The League of Nations confirmed the British Mandate for Palestine on this date in 1922, which had been established by Great Britain after World War I, when longstanding Ottoman Turkish control of Palestine proved to threaten British interests in India and Asia. The Mandate placed land stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River -- today’s Israel and the West Bank, as well as today’s Kingdom of Jordan -- under “such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home ... and also for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race or religion.” Two months, later, Transjordan was excluded from areas that would be considered possible territory for a Jewish “national home.” The Mandate then went into effect on September 29, 1923. Formal recognition was extended to eleven religious communities in Palestine, which did not include the non-Orthodox Jewish denominations. In March, 1924, the United States, which was not a member of the League of Nations, formally approved the British Mandate, which would be in effect until the U.N. partitioned the country into proposed Jewish and Palestinian states in 1947.

“All responsibility in connection with the Holy Places and religious buildings or sites in Palestine, including that of preserving existing rights and of securing free access to the Holy Places, religious buildings and sites and the free exercise of worship, while ensuring the requirements of public order and decorum, is assumed by the Mandatory, who shall be responsible solely to the League of Nations in all matters connected herewith. . .” --Article 13 of the League of Nations mandate document

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.