Modern state of Isreal created earlier
What if the modern state of Israel had been created sometime between 1890 and 1948? Maybe in the 1920s? Maybe the Balfour Declaration could have been different? Maybe this could have resulted in better relations with the Arabs?
While I know a bit of Middle Eastern history, I don't know enough to be sure that this is an airtight theory, but here goes.
During the Spanish Inquisition in the 1480s, Spain expelled its Jews, and Bayezid II eagerly invited them to immigrate to the Ottoman Empire, which at that point was mostly limited to Turkey. His successor, Selim I, conquered the Mamelukes and therefore all of the land corresponding to Israel. Even then, many Jewish families moved again to live in Jerusalem.
POD: Beyazid II instead conquers the Mamelukes at the very beginning of his reign. The Spanish Jews overwhelmingly move to Israel -- after all, it's their homeland.
Because of this, to later generations of Muslims, instead of it being "natural" for Jews to be randomly dispersed throughout the Empire, they think of it as most natural for Jews to live in the Judean lands of the Empire. Between 1480-1920, then, very gradually more Jews move to Israel and fewer move out.
Assuming that the butterflies don't take over, after WWI the Protectorate of Israel more resembles Lebanon, which was majority Marionite Christian OTL, than OTL Protectorate of Palestine, which was overwhelmingly Arab Muslim. Now obviously, in OTL things didn't work out too happily for the Marionites (or the Copts, Assyrians, or Armenians, the other major Christian groups in the Middle East). So it would still take delicate diplomacy for this Jewish state to survive amid a reawakened Arab nationalism. But it would definitely lead to the creation of Israel earlier, in 1920, and it would definitely give Israel a good shot at peaceable survival.
Hm, if the Jews have been in Judaea for so long, the Arabs may not see the establishment of the Jewish state as "stealing" Arab land...
Austriae Est Imperare Orbi Universo
OTOH, an Israel emerging b/t the two world wars might have an effect on the holocaust. With a Jewish state, the calls for quicker action against Germany might have been taken more seriously. Or maybe the Jews in Germany would have been seen differently?
This is a un Finished Story that got abandoned on SHWI --It is not mine-- I just wish He had firnished it.
March 20, 1903
Abdul Hamid II was not a happy man. England was growing stronger in
the Middle East, and the Ottoman Empire was collapsing. And now the
Jews served the very England. Abdul had originally thought of the
Zionist Jews as a potential goldmine. He could milk them for all the
were worth, and give up as little as needed. But the Jewish influx
into Palesttine was creating a pro-British dagger at a vital corner of
"Furthermore," he proclaimed to the man from the Zionist congress,
"new waves of your people continue to pour in from Russia every day.
The Sublime Porte hereby decrees that no more Jews of the Russian or
Austrian Empires may henceforth enter my Empire, especially not
Theodore Herzl grimaced, anticipating the worst. "Your Majesty, the
Czar mercilessly slaughters my people every time he feels his power is
threatened. He has revived the medieval tales that we Jews cook baby
Christian blood to make our matzoh! Always before you have provided
sanctuary- at a reasonable price, of course."
"You were always faithful subjects before. But now you serve England!
But months ago, I am informed, the British offered to give you
portions of the Sinai peninsula as a state, and then to give you
Palestine once they became dominant in the region!"
"Please, your majesty, the plan was vague and insubstantial. We will
wait for Palestine. Merely allow us the sanctuary we need, now that we
need it the most. You know we will be able to make it worth your
Abdul's eyes glittered as he imagined the bribes the Zionists would
pay him when they were pushed to the uttermost. Yet, they were a
dagger at the heart of his Empire. But Abdul was a greedy man, and
loved money over all else. But-
So far, this has been basically OTL, though I made up the date of the
negotiations. But now:
POD- Abdul Hamid had a splitting headache. He had been up late
merrymaking with his harem, and had drunken far too much wine. He
thought of how the negotiations over bribe money and immigration
quotas would drag on. All he wanted was to return to his bed and his
harem. He rationalized to himself that the Jews were British puppets.
"The Sublime Porte has made a decree. My word is law. I care not about
the fool Russians. Now go!" Abdul made a signal, and the guards
advanced with swords drawn.
Herzl's face contorted with anger. He remembered the hatred he had
experienced against himself and his people in Hungary. He remembered
the look on Alfred Dreyfuss's face when he exclaimed, "I am
innocent!". But Russia was far, far worse than anything else modern
Jewry faced. Kishinev flashed through his mind, bringing his fury to
the boiling point. At their hour of greatest need, this man had turned
on them. Herzl was not a religious man, but he devoutly hoped that G-d
would punish the Sultan of Turkey. "You will regret this later, your
majesty. It is not for nothing that you are called Abdul the Damned."
With that, Herzl turned and left the room.
April 1, 1903
"And so, I have called this special session of the Zionist Congreaa.
The Turks are not our friends anymore,if indeed they ever were. The
pogroms in Russia and Poland grow worse by the day, as the Czar
distracts his people from the liberal ideas of the enlightened elite
with the old tales of our murders of their children on Easter, and the
ignorant populace rapes, steals from, and kills our people. I must
thank the British Foreign Ministry for sending us the distinguished
Lord Balfour to discuss the British proposals."
Balfour shook hands with Herzl and stepped onto the stage. "Thank you,
Mr. Herzl. The British government still offers the Protectorate of
Uganda as a Zionist free state."
Angry grumblings were heard from the Russian Zionist delegation. A
distinguished RAbbi from Minsk stood up. "Uganda cannot be found
anywhere in the Bible. Eretz Yisroel is our home. G-d promised it to
us, an inheritance to our children and our children's children. We
will never take Uganda."
Many religious Zionists, including virtually the entire Russian
delegation, offered similar opinions. The German and Austrian Jews
didn't mind so much, but the whole purpose of a Zionist state was to
protect Jews from danger in Europe, wasn't it? What threat was there
to German Jews, so important a part of German society, so respected by
the elite as well as the populace in Berlin, Munich, Cologne and
Vienna? This whole Congress was to help the Jews of the Pale, of
Poland, Byelorussia, and the Ukraine, of the little shtetls and the
poor quarters of the great cities.
"Well, then," said Balfour, "I have been instructedto inform you that
His Majesty's government's original offer of a portion of the northern
Sinai still stands. When Palestine is ours, it will be given to you. "
Herzl stood up. "In theory, that's still a good proposal. But where
would people live in the empty desert? How would they make a living?"
"His majesty's government has a contingency for that too. If you will
agree to become a dominion of the Empire, similar to Canada or
Australia, All of the Sinai, including the Sinai shore of the Suez
Canal, will be part of your new state. The Zionist Dominion will get a
portion of Suez revenues, and the people who come there can help work
Argument broke out. Various Congress members were against it. Others
were for. But when Herzl voiced approval, quite a few opinions were
The final text of the Herzl-Balfour declaration stated that the a
"Jewish Homeland" would be created in all the portions of the
Aegyptian Empire which lay in the continent of Asia, and laid claim to
the Ottoman Empire's Palestine province.
Beyt HaYeshua, Dominion of Israel
May 14, 1903
"At last, after generations, our people are free." Thunderous applause
after this statement. "Across that canal lie Port Said, Ismalia, and
Suez, of the Aegyptian Empire, but Beyt Hayeshuva, house of the
return, is ours. Thanks to our friends, the British Empire, we have a
homeland for the first time in 2000 years. It is the first step
towards our return to Eretz Yisroel, the Promised Land, which flows
with Milk and Honey. With the help of our English friends, we will
come back to Jerusalem, rebuild her walls and G-d's Holy temple, and
recover our ancient glory. I am proud to serve as your interim Prime
Minister, the first sovereign Jewish leader of a Jewish country since
Herod Agrippa. Next Year in Jerusalem!"
As Theodore Herzl, or PM Benjamin Ze'ev Herzl, as he was now called,
stepped down from the podium, the band began to play L'shana Haba'a
Biyerushalayim, next year in Jerusalem, a rousing Jewish folk song
that had been adopted as the national anthem. Governor-general Balfour
looked around at the half built city of Beyt Hayeshuva, the cheering
crowds, the new Suez docking facilities, and the prowd new flag,
showing a Blue Star of David on a flag reminiscent of a Jewish prayer
shawl, and was surprised to realize that he was quite moved by all
that was happening. And even more surprising, Beyt Hayeshuva carried
the unmistakable scent of greatness. He could already tell that the
Dominion of Israel would change the world.
Beyt Hayeshuva, Dominion of Israel
July 3, 1904
"In conclusion, my friend, the only proper, indeed, the only possible
landuage of any Jewish state must be Hebrew." To a thunderous cloud of
applause, Eliezer ben-Yehuda stepped down from the podium.
Prime Minister Herzl stood up. "I have long opposed the views of Mr.
ben-Yehuda. Hebrew I have always thought of as a dead language. Yet it
seems that it is, de facto, the official language of the community in
Palestine, with the exception of the Hassidim, who refuse to speak it
before the Messiah comes. This is largely thanks to the views of Mr.
ben-Yehuda, who I must thank for coming hear. The Zionist Congress may
commence voting now, though they may be the Knesset by the time the
voting is done."
Binyamin Ze'ev Herzl stepped down from the platform. He looked
especially tired today, though he always looked tired lately. This was
to be expected, Balfour reflected, with all the work Herzl has been
doing to set up the new nation. Beyt Hayeshuva's population had grown
to five thousand. with all the kibbutzim and moshavim that were being
setup across the Sinai, there had to be at least ten thousand in the
new state, not counting Bedouins. Official records showed far more
people entering the new nation, but most just used it as a stopping
point to get to Turkish Palestine. Herzl really looked quite badly
"Good heavens!" exclaimed Balfour, leaping up. "Prime Minister Herzl!
Theodore! Are you all right?"
July 4, 1904
"And so, Theodore Benjamin Ze'ev Herzl, the first sovereign Jewish
leader since Herod Agrippa, has been struck down by a heart attack at
the age of fourty-four. Yet he lived to see his dream fulfilled.
Unlike Moses, he entered the Promised Land whence he had led his
The Knesset clapped with great emotion as Governor-General Lord
Balfour continued. "On the very eve of his death, a dead language
returned to life. We must thank Mr. Ben-Yehuda for his great work,
allowing the beautiful old tongue to become the new language of His
Majesty's newest dominion. Now, to me falls the task of appointing a
new man to lead this country. I have already decided to accept Mr.
Chaim Weizmann, our greatest statesman, as the new leader of our
Applause broke out as Weizmann stood up. Well liked by the Knesset,
and a major force in creating the new state, Weizmann was likely to be
a popular new leader. Even better, thought Balfour, he has the respect
of His Majesty's government. Quite a silver lining for such a dark
day, he mused.
Near El Arish, Dominion of Israel
August 4, 1904
"Alright, boys- stand ready- fire!" Dozens of rifles went off at the
same time. The advancing Bedouin tribe stopped to regroup, their
ululating cries calling each other in the desert. "Load- aim fire!"
The Bedouins faltered, broke, and ran. Dozens of men and boys, members
of the new Jewish Legion, cheered. "The Kibbutz is safe. Well done,
men," said the commander.
"In dozens of battles like this across Israel, we're showing these
Bedoins whose boss. Think of it as practice, boys, till the day we
follow the route of Moses, across the Sinai and into the Promised
South of Rafiah, border town, Southwestern Ottoman Palestine/Dominion
January 23, 1905
The family of Russian Jews sat quietly in the back of the truck. In
Russia, those who hid quietly often survived the pogroms. Now, the
stake were higher than life.
The man who drove the truck stopped at the Ottoman guard post. "Coming
through with my usual cargo," said the driver in Turkish, with a
devilish grin. He handed the Turkish Lieutenant a crisp one pound
note, whose value was more than a thousand lira in the Sultan's
decaying empire. The Lieutenat gave the driver a gap-toothed grin, and
wove him on through.
After they got a distance down the dirt road, the driver went around
back. "Everyone alright back there?" he asked in Yiddish. "Good.
Welcome to the area we call the Gaza strip. It's where we deposit our-
er- new immigrants, and many settle here. It has the largest Jewish
population in Palestine. Head north along the coast, you'll reach the
old port of Jaffa, and the new all-Jewish city of Tel Aviv. Head east
and a bit north, and you'll reach Jerusalem."
The Russian father's eyes grew wet with tears. Bending down, he kissed
the sacred soil repeatedly. The driver smiled. He had seen such
actions many times before. He had to get back to the Sinai, though. He
had three more families to run today.
November 10, 1908
"Enver, what am I to do with these Jews?" The new Sultan, Mohammed V,
had no more idea what to think of, and do with, these people, than his
predecessor, Abdul Hamid II. Enver Bey, the Grand Vizier, was not
quite sure himself. But he had to sound sure. It was his job, after
"Your majesty, it would surely be a terrible thing to lose land here
in Asia, yet Europe is more important, both to our defense and our
reputation abroad. Already, they are calling you the "sick man of
Europe" in Western governments. If the Jews do not trouble us, we
ought not trouble them. They have the backing of England, now, and
precipitant action might start a war where we need it the least."
"Yes, England. How can I beat England if I can't even crush the Greeks
who threaten my holdings in Bukgaria?"
Enver Pasha was too politic to tell him he probably was not even be
able to crush the Bulgarians, or the Jews, for that matter. But he
Anatevka, Somewhere in the Pale of Jewish Settlement
September 16, 1911
"Vell, I vill be going to Palestine," said Yente.
"As good a place as any. Maybe I won't go to America after all. Look
what happened to Chavaleh. This would never happen in a Jewish
country." Tevyeh nodded. "Yes. We will go to Palestine. In America,
our lives would be as skaky as a fiddler on the roof."
"And I hear there are no Katzs in America."said Yente. "I should be
with my family."
Across the Pale, hundreds of thousands of Jews were making this same
decision. After all, there are no Katzs in America.
Beyt Hayeshuva, Dominion of Israel
July 4, 1914
"To life, Mr. Weizmann."
"L'chaim, Lord Balfour."
Both men chuckled and swallowed a shot of shnapps. "To think, it is ten
year to the day since I became Prime Minister. How could I imagine how
our country would grow?"
Lord Balfour shook his head in amazement. "100,000 in Beyt Hayeshuva
alone. Maybe twice that in the whole nation. And a million in
Palestine! 200,000 in the Gaza, 300,00 in Tel Aviv, 150,000 in
Jerusalem, 75,000 in Tzfat, 50,000 in Be'er Sheva, the rest in cities,
towns, moshavim, and kibbutzim across the country. Who could have
known? Paved roads across the Sinai and Palestine. Deserts blooming,
as G-d predicted, through irrigation and swamp drainage, Ben-Yehuda's
Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, with branches in Tel Aviv, Gaza
City, and Beyt Hayeshuva, to spread learning across the land. And a
language, like her nation, back from the grave!"
"Not the grave, my Lord. The Exile. My people are returning to our
ancient homeland. Soon, our day will come," Weizmann prophesied.
"Indeed. Your prophecy may have quite a bit more truth to it than that
of your correligionist, Mr. Trotsky."
"My prophecy is far older, and from a more powerful god than Mr. Marx,
I should think."
"You may yet be proven right, Mr. Weitzmann. Time will surely tell."
"It always does, my Lord. You must but give it patience."
Washington And Jefferson Maed Menee A Joek.
Van Buren Had Tue Pae, Taylor's Frieyeeng Pan Broek.
Lincoln Just Gaat Hoem Graetlee Usttaanishd:
Not sure you would need to move forward the defeat of the Mamelukes and think they actually came off the better in a clash with the Ottomans in the 1480's. Then the Turks updated their armies and really smashed them in 1516-17.
However you could have the historical sequence then the Jews start moving to Palestine after this. Might be seen favourably by the Turks as it concentrates a population they would probably consider as fairly loyal in a recent conquest and in a key position to divide any rebellion in Syria and Egypt.
The only problem would be the religious significance of Jerusalem. Even the Turks, fairly tolerant in their early days, would not have accepted any other faith having anything like equality with Islam and the city has become the 3rd most important site for many Muslims. [This is especially since the key Islamic site, the Dome of the Rock, was built on top of the remains of the Jewish temple]. Therefore I could see tension mounting as the Jews become more numerous in the region.
its all depending upon what stuff the *Israelis had at hand. a person can't just fly from the MidEast to Hamburg - particularly with 1930s tech - without at least one or two pitstops for refueling.
and remember, if the Israelis physically attack Germany, the Germans have contacts among those Arabs who can attack Israel. (this was pretty much the threat that was facing Turkey in OTL if she declared for the Allies too early).
On one hand, the number of Jews inside the Middle East as in the Ottoman Empire suggests that a pro-Zionist position by the Ottomans could greatly facilitate the establishment of a Jewish state. Most Arabs might see it as Jews leaving their areas and not be so concerned as to where they are going. And since the total Arab population in 1914(including the Occupied Territories OTL) was barely 400,000...
On the other hand, it is pretty much impossible to imagine a few hundred thousand Jews saving the Ottoman Empire and if the Zionist movement is a known pro-Ottoman force in WWI, and therefore hostile to the Allied Powers...
As to the Sinai, since the entire territory of Israel and the Occupied Territories in 1914 was rather below 500,000 it would not take too much of a population to be a useful basis for expansion but I really don't see how a population above 50-100 thousand can live there, even ignoring the technological constraints. More likely a modest base but with ties to the Jews inside Ottoman Palestine. Since the US had not limited immigration at the time, you would be getting a high percentage of the last resort too.
Since this scenario would inevitably cause the Ottomans to see the Jews as the proverbial fifth column, it might cause the British to in turn see them as a more valuable ally. What we would need would be a way to make certain of that, perhaps the paramilitary of Sinai and counterparts inside Palestine provide some invaluable knowledge of Ottoman dispositions, leading to an important and/or earlier victory?
This might work. In 1914 the Ottomans shocked the British with an offensive into the Sinai with some patrols actually reaching/crossing the Suez Canal. Here early intel by the Zionists enables local British forces to respond more handily and earns some gratitude from the British. Better yet, some heroic stand by the Jews, perhaps where a few hundred are all but wiped out holding Mitla Pass for the British?
Cosmos, it might also make the situation better. Now the Nazis know exactly where to send the Jews to and if they decide to further sweeten the situation by demanding and getting bribes...for instance, the 1944 proposal to ship one million(mostly Hungarian Jews) in return for various commodities, none of which could be considered weapons.
P.J. O'Rourke: We also elected some amateur politicians. However, politics is like vivisectionódisturbing as a career, alarming as a hobby.
Please excuse me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that the real emphasis for creating the modern state of Israel came in the years after WWII. The idea was to create a homeland for the Jews, and a big part of the emphasis behind it was in reaction to what had happened to the Jews in Europe under Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. The Jews who did survive the Holacaust were essentially homeless and that and the Holacaust under the Nazis was the big emphasis behind creating the modern state of Israel.
Without that WWII and Holacaust experience and situation, would there have been the strong emphasis on creating a homeland for the Jews, in creating the modern state of Israel? That's why I don't think it could have happened earlier than it did.
My understanding also is that for centuries before 1948 that many Jews lived in The Middle East and lived in very peaceful co-existence with their Arab neighbors. The modern conflict came after the modern state of Israel was founded in 1948 and came about because of how the modern state of Israel was created. Is that true?
(oops, sorry, wrong folder)
That's a very good question. I think there was so much emphasis put on the Jews, and the Nazi persecution of the Jews, and what happened to them in the Holicaust that other minorities persecuted by the Nazis kind of got forgotten. We forget that other minorities were also persecuted by the Nazis. I think there are a lot of reasons for this but when we think about the Nazis and the Holicaust we concentrate almost exclusively on te Jews.
But my understanding was that the Holicaust and what happened to the Jews in Europe under the Nazis and their situation right after WWII was the big emphasis for the modern state of Israel.
Austriae Est Imperare Orbi Universo