Leslie TurnbergJul 12, 2023
The Palestine Crucible, 1919-1939
Vallentine Mitchell 2021
The twenty years between the World Wars saw remarkable changes in the Middle East. In Palestine, Britain struggled to maintain its Mandatory Authority as Arabs and Jews fought not only each other but the British Government too. Failing to satisfy either side Britain was stuck in the middle, and separating the warring parties was a distraction they hardly needed.
In Mandate: The Palestine Crucible, 1919-1939 (Vallentine Mitchell, 2021), Turnberg explores why the British Government maintained its responsibilities under the Mandate at a time when they were suffering severe economic and social problems at home, and the threat of war with Germany. How was it possible for the Zionists' dream of a homeland in Palestine to survive when they were faced by a Government regretting its commitments, exasperated by both Jewish demands and placating the Palestinian Arabs. The Jews were outnumbered ten to one by the Arabs, but they persisted and, as described here, survived. Events in the first twenty years of the Mandate turned out to be as important to the survival of the Jewish homeland as both the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the international revulsion at the horrors of the holocaust for the creation of the State of Israel.