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Palestinian Jews


Jews originating with communities that predates the establishment of an Israeli state. Very rough estimates make 400,000 of today's Israelis being of Palestinian Jewish descent.
Jewish arriving in Palestine until the 19th century came for many different reasons, and many were not successful in establishing their successes in establishing communities varied highly. Judging from historical sources, it cannot be determined if there have been any continuous Jewish community since the 2nd century CE, the time when the Roman Empire introduced radical regulations on Jewish life, thereby causing widespread emigration.
Jewish life continued in Galilee, but until the 7th century, with the Muslim takeover, their existence was under constant threat. Under Muslim rule, Jewish communities and their culture enjoyed safety, but this also became a period of conversion into Islam by an unknown percentage.
Until the 13th century, when communal life in Jerusalem was reestablished and a synagogue opened, there is little information.
From late 13th century, until the middle of the 19th century a period of neglect from distant rulers brought upon Palestine poverty and a decrease in population. This affected the Jews, too, even if there was a century and a half of revival, beginning in the first half of the 16th century: Something resembling a homeland for them was established, and many Jews immigrated from Spain, bringing their part of the population up to 25%.
In the 18th century sources tell that Jerusalem, Hebron, Tiberias and Safed were the main Jewish centres. An official British report from 1864 indicates that Jerusalem had only 15,000 inhabitants, of which 8,000 were Jews. US novelist, Mark Twain, tells in 1867 that Palestine is virtually empty of inhabitants. Estimates for 1880, set the Jewish population at 24,000 in a region with a total of 400,000 inhabitants. There has been much debate about how many actually lived in Palestine in the 19th century, some have stated that today's Arabs in Palestine were immigrants just as much, or more than the case was with the Jews. It is true that there were important waves of Muslim immigration to Palestine in this period, but the mere lack of conclusions tells that we really don't know how many of the non-Jews represented an original population.
In 1922, about 11% of the population in Palestine were Jewish, in real figures they counted ca. 84,000.
In 1931, their number had risen to 175,000, which was 17% of the population.
Fourteen years later, in 1945, the Jews represented 31% of the population, counting more than 550,000.
There is a distinction between those with deep roots, and those whose family history in Israel begins in the early 20th century; Old Yishuv and New Yishuv. Today, the term seems no longer to be in use.

History
135: End of the Third Jewish revolt; Jews are expelled from Jerusalem and denied any re-entry.
2nd century: Jewish communities are now located to northern Palestine, in the lands of Galilee.
4th and 5th century: Many Jews living in Palestine convert to Christianity, which now is the official religion of the ruling Byzantine Empire.
614: Persian takeover of Palestine, in which they get much aid from local Jews and Samaritans.
1267: Rabbi Nahmanides moves to Jerusalem, seeking safety under Muslim rulers, establishes a synagogue in Jerusalem. By this Jewish communal life was reestablished here.
After 1291: Acre, the last Crusader stronghold, is conquered by the Muslims. A long period of impoverishment for Palestine begins; apparently Muslims rulers wished to make the region poor and inhospitable to avoid future Crusader attacks.
16th century: A region around the Sea of Galilee is made into a Jewish homeland under the supervision of the Ottoman sultan.
16th century: Jewish immigrants from Spain, effectively expelled by the Christian rulers who now controlled the entire peninsula. The local Jewish population in Palestine rises to 25%. Especially Safed becomes an important centre, Kabbalism being the dominating form of Judaism.
1660: Massacre of a large part of the Jewish population in Safed and Jerusalem.
1726: The Istanbul Committee of Officials for Palestine is established to administer Jewish institutions in Palestine, as well as to handle Jewish interest facing other peoples.
Early 19th century: Immigration of Circassian and Bosnian Muslims to the northern parts of Palestine.
1830's: Egyptian Arab immigration to Palestine.
Middle 19th century: Increased Jewish immigration to Palestine.
Late 19th century: Jewish immigration to Palestine begins for real, partly motivated by Zionist claims on the land.




By Tore Kjeilen