Culture in Jerusalem during the British Mandate Period


[ High School ] in Jerusalem ( 1908 ); Ezra opened the first seminary for kindergarten teachers ( 1909 ); Ben-Yehuda’s Ha-Or began to appear , and in that same year , a group of Poalei Zion leaders , young halutzim ( pioneering immigrants ) , among them David Ben-Gurion , Itzhak Ben-Zvi , and Rahel Yanait , founded the workers ’ socialist-Zionist periodical Ha-Ahdut ( 1910 ) . The language war between Hebrew and German , that occurred in two waves ( 1907 , 1913 ) , was also felt in Jerusalem , and indeed was an important stage in the development of the cultural life of the Yishuv . A major role in the development of a modern Jewish educational system , in the first decade of the twentieth century , was played by Ezra , a Jewish educational network that was decidedly non-Zionist and whose primary language of instruction was German , although Hebrew was also taught in its schools . This was also the case in the schools established by Ezra in Jerusalem . However , when it was learned that the language of instruction at the Technion ( Israel Institute of Technology ) , that was about to open its doors in Haifa , would be German , a language war erupted , with the first spark being ignited by the students in Ezra’s teachers ’ seminary . Eventually , in 1919 , the entire educational network was transferred to the Zionist Federation . The victory of the Hebrew loyalists in the language war laid the foundations for a cultural revolution : Zionism was the accepted substrate of Jewish education in Eretz Israel . Initially it seemed that Jerusalem would become the capital of the new Hebrew culture . However , within a short time Tel Aviv , founded in 1909 , became a lively center of cultural life , and the First World War , which devastated Jerusalem’s Jewish community , merely intensified a process that culminated in the city’s secondary standing . The mechanisms that had served the Old Yishuv ceased to function in the First World War . The connection with its traditional donors was severed . Monies from the Ultra-Orthodox Diaspora ceased to arrive . The aid that appeared now came from philanthropic bodies in the United States , including Zionists , non-Zionists , and anti-Zionists . The funds did not come to the traditional addresses , and the methods for their distribution changed . Organized Zionism , through the Palestine Office headed by Arthur Ruppin , became the pivotal mechanism . The advent of a new era , with a new culture , was already evident . The life that evolved in the city in the two decades preceding the British Mandate , especially the years before the First World War , reflected this cultural development . Close to half of the city’s population was Arab , half Christians and half Muslims ; the small Jewish majority was divided , as well : about half Sefardim and about half Ashkenazim . Most of the Jewish population was ultra-Orthodox , Orthodox , or traditional , while only a minority viewed itself as secular . The British Are Already Here Upon the arrival of the British in Jerusalem , the situation they found was far from pleasant . Only 28 , 000 , of the 45 , 000 Jewish residents who had lived there prior to the war , remained . The rest had been expelled or had died of hunger or disease . Ninety percent of the city’s inhabitants needed aid in order to survive . In April 1918 , some months before the end of the war , a delegation of the Zionist Commission for Palestine arrived in the country , headed by Chaim Weizmann . This Zionist delegation was intended to advise the British authorities regarding the realization of the promised National Home . Weizmann took immediate action to aid in the organization of the Yishuv , and especially in Jerusalem . Two bodies had already been set up in the city : the Jerusalem Jewish Committee and the United Rabbinical Committee . Weizmann’s attempts to form a broad , united coalition met with many difficulties . The religious public did not forget Weizmann’s efforts on behalf

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