Jewish History Essay, Research Paper
The Jews are a people with a multitude of problems. From the
Israelite tribes to prosperous modern day Israel, bigotry towards the Jews
has been greatly evident. The Jewish race has acted as the scapegoat for
many crisis throughout history including the black plague which swept
across Europe during the 14th century. The establishment of Israel was the
climax of what the Jewish people had been striving to obtain for centuries.
This, however, led to many major conflicts between Israel and the Arab
countries. One of the most meaningful of these conflicts was the Six-Day
War. Earlier Jewish events such as the holocaust have also had dramatic
effects on world history.
For twelve years following 1933 the many Jews in Germany were
persecuted by the Nazis, who sought to blame German ruination on the Jews.
It began with the boycotting and vandalization of Jewish businesses. By
1939, Jews were no longer citizens, could not attend public schools, engage
nearly any business or profession, own any land, associate with any
non-Jew, or visit public places such as parks and museums. The victories
of the German armies in the early years of World War II brought the
majority of European Jews under the Nazis. The Jews were deprived of human
rights. At first, the Jewish people were forced to live in Ghettos which
were separated from the main city. Then they were moved to “Concentration
Camps”, where Hitler’s plan of genocide was carried out very efficiently.
The total number of Jews killed has been estimated at 5,750,000.
In Warsaw, where approximately 400,000 Jews had once lived, the Jewish
population was reduced to 60,000. They, nearly unarmed, resisted the
German deportation order and had held back the regular German troops
equipped with flame throwers, armored cars, and tanks for nearly a month.
The horrific events of the holocaust have resulted in many problems,
but also in giving the Jews more world recognition. After World War II and
the holocaust, the number of Jewish followers had greatly declined, and the
Jewish people still had problems finding jobs; they essentially had to
start their lives over. Almost all of them had lost a close relative or a
friend to the gas chambers of the Nazi concentration camps. This put a
psychological strain on Jewish survivors as many no longer had family and
friends with them for support. However, not all of the results of the
holocaust have been bad. This event has awakened the world to the needs of
the Jewish people; it has given them political power and justification for
some of their actions.
In May of 1945, the end of World War II was seen. Organized Judaism
in the European continent was damaged beyond repair. The Jews were only
able to concentrate on the preservation of Israel and on bringing Nazi war
criminals to trial.
There is now a day of commemoration, Holocaust Day, observed in Israel
and elsewhere on Nisan (April) 19 and 20. These dates are considered the
anniversary of the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
The creation of Israel as a Jewish state on the former territory of
Palestine was the central political issue in the Middle East for many years
after World War II. A movement was established to reestablish the Jewish
national state of Israel. This movement was called Zionism. The Zionists
were full of energy, enthusiasm, and skill which led to remarkable
accomplishments. Israel was a modern European state in an underdeveloped
area. This was a source of both many problems and many achievements.
The Jews received vast amounts of financial and military support from
Western governments. The Israelis also benefitted from a highly trained
and motivated population which created a unique nation-state.
It had taken the Zionists seventy years to purchase 7 percent of
Palestine, but many of the nations of world felt that they owed something
to the Jews to compensate for holocaust. The UN responded to this feeling
by offering the Zionists another 50 percent of Palestine. This area was
some of the most fertile land in the Middle East; it included the citrus
groves on which many of the Arabs depended for their living. Because of
this, the partition plan was objected to by all of the Arab and Palestinian
Arab governments. However, the Zionists accepted the plan and were
supported by many Western nations. They were, however, upset that
Jerusalem was excluded from the Jewish state.
The formation of this new state in Palestine was greatly important to
both Jewish history and world history. It had given some Jews a place to
seek refuge from the Nazi persecutions. However, after having fifty
percent of Palestine given to Israel, tension between the countries was
very high, and sometimes became violent. The Jewish army, called Haganah
(defense), was formed to protect Israel from Arab attacks. To this day,
that formation has had many effects on all of the Middle Eastern countries,
and on other countries throughout the world who have tried to be
The Six-Day War of 1967 was caused by Egypt’s closure of the Strait of
Tiran, Israel’s main link to the Indian Ocean. This war was focused on the
issue of Israel’s legitimacy. Withdrawal of UN troops after May 16 had
signified to the Israelis that they were responsible for their own defense.
War broke out in June. During the war the Jews pushed Jordan’s boundaries
back to the Jordan river, regaining control of Jerusalem. Syria was also
pushed back by a frontal assault through northeast Israel’s that soon
The United Nation security council executed a cease-fire on June 11th.
By this time the Arab states had lost much territory, a lot of their
productive capacity, and large amounts of revenue. Their mental and
political defeat set the tone for the events of the following years. The
defeat of the Arab governments also gave power to the Palestine guerrilla
The Wailing Wall is one of Judaism’s most honored holy places.
According to the original United Nation’s partition it was located in
Jordan. The Six Day war returned it to the Israelis.
As is clearly visible from these few examples, modern Judaism has had
a very traumatic history. These, however, are only a small piece of all of
modern Judaism’s problems. War and terrorism are still present, and
continue to raise tension between Israel and the Arab countries. During
the Persian Gulf War of 1991, Israel was continuously bombed by Iraq. If
Israel had fought back, many more Arab countries would probably have joined
with Iraq to eliminate the common enemy. Even with advances such as the
Middle East Peace process, it appears terrorism and differences in religion
will always create tension and even war between these countries.
1. Holocaust : the Jewish tragedy
2. Israel & the Arabs: The June 1967 War
Facts on file, INC. New York, N.Y.
3. The Holocaust in Historical Perspective
University of Washington Press