Jewish Agency

Jewish Agency
   Under the mandate for Palestine that was assigned to Great Britain by the League of Nations in 1921, a provision was included for the establishment of a Jewish Agency that would serve as the executive and political policy-making body for the Jewish settlement (Yishuv) in Palestine.
   Following the start of World War II, the Jewish Agency sided with Great Britain against Nazi Germany. Despite the restrictions of the British White Paper of 1939, the position of the Jewish Agency was, to paraphrase David Ben-Gurion, the agency’s head, that it would fight the war as if there were no white paper, and fight the white paper as if there were no war. The contribution of Palestine Jewry to the war effort manifested itself in the participation of more than 30,000 men and women who served in the British army. In September 1944, the British granted permission for the Jewish Brigade group, which saw action in Italy under its own flag.
   Under pressure from the British, the Jewish Agency authorized the deployment of volunteers from the kibbutzim (collectives) to parachute into Europe for the objective of locating and aiding partisan bands in Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia. The most famous of these Jewish volunteers was Hannah Szenes, who, at the age of 23, was captured and executed by Hungarian fascists. Her poem, Blessed Is the Match That Is Consumed in Kindling Flame, is among Israel’s most famous poems.
   The Jewish Agency also employed agents in Turkey to assist refugees who had escaped from Nazi-occupied Europe. Through the “illegal” immigration organization operating in Istanbul, Jewish Agency operatives were able to transport 3,500 to 5,000 Jewish refugees by sea, and 1,500 by the overland route to Palestine. The Jewish Agency, in the summer of 1944, also added its voice to those who called for the Allies to bomb Auschwitz and the railway lines leading to the camp, but to no avail, as these requests were rejected.
   Inasmuch as its resources were limited in its efforts to rescue the millions of Jews targeted for extermination, the Jewish Agency focused on saving as many Jews as possible, with an eye to strengthening the Jewish community in Palestine, so that at the end of the war, it would be prepared to absorb what remained of European Jewry.
   See also Aliya Bet; Transfer Agreement.

Historical dictionary of the Holocaust. . 2014.

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  • Jewish Agency — (Jewish Agency for Palestine, Jewish Agency for Israel)    A quasi governmental institution established in the 1920s under the terms of the Palestine mandate to advise and cooperate with the British authorities in the task of establishing the… …   Historical Dictionary of Israel

  • Jewish Agency — Die Jewish Agency ist heute die offizielle Einwanderungsorganisation des Staates Israel. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Geschichte 2 Gegenwart 3 Jewish Agency international 4 Siehe auch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jewish Agency — ▪ Israeli history in full  Jewish Agency Of Israel,  Hebrew  Ha sokhnut Ha yehudit El eretz Yisraʾel,         international body representing the World Zionist Organization, created in 1929 by Chaim Weizmann, with headquarters in Jerusalem. Its… …   Universalium

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  • Jewish Agency for Israel — Die Jewish Agency ist heute die offizielle Einwanderungsorganisation des Staates Israel. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Geschichte 2 Gegenwart 3 Jewish Agency international 4 Siehe auch 5 Weblinks // …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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