The goal of Zionist settlement in Palestine was the establishment of a Jewish community which aimed at becoming an autonomous, national entity, the future dominant force in the land. It was to be a clearly distinguished community, separate from the Arab majority of the population of Palestine and from the governing power, first Ottoman and later British. The Jewish community, composed largely of immigrants from Europe, under the auspices of the World Zionist Organization, grew rapidly. From 85,000 people prior to World War 1, the Jewish population doubled by 1931. It then tripled by 1945, growing from 176,000 in 1931 to 554,000 in 1945. (Gertz, 1947, p. 47) The Arab population of Palestine increased as well, doubling its number from 600,00 prior to the War, to 1,250,000 by 1945. Nevertheless, the massive immigration of Jews to Palestine increased their relative share from 1 percent in 1922 to 33 percent in 1947, and shrunk the Arab majority from 89 percent to approximately 67 percent respectively. (Gertz, 1947, p.47; Klinov-Malul and Halevi, p. 11) As the Jewish community grew, it defined its boundaries and consolidated its separateness. It established a wide network of institutions; these included “national institutions,” affiliated with the World Zionist Organization, and communal institutions of the Jewish community in Palestine—the Yishuv. After the First World War, with the commitment of the British government to the establishment of a Jewish National Home, the Zionist institutions expanded and served as the main executive bodies in the development of the Jewish community. These institutions were responsible for mediating relations between the Jewish settlement in Palestine and Zionist institutions and funds abroad, between the Yishuv 18and the Palestine government and administration, and between the Yishuv and the British government in London. There were additional representative bodies, elected by the Jewish population of Palestine, the Elected Assembly (Asefat Ha-niv’harim) and its executive body, the National Council (Hava’ad Hale’umi).
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