Beyond the Book: Background information when reading It's Easier to Reach Heaven Than the End of the Street

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It's Easier to Reach Heaven Than the End of the Street

A Jerusalem Memoir

by Emma Williams

It's Easier to Reach Heaven Than the End of the Street
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  • Paperback:
    Dec 2009, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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Beyond the Book

Yom Ha'atzmaut & Al-Nakba
There have long been Jewish communities in Palestine, but populations saw particularly rapid growth as Jews fled European pogroms during the 19th century.  A large wave of immigration, mainly from the Russian Empire began in 1881 and continued up until the start of World War I. During this period, known as the First and Second Aliya ("ascent"), over 70,000 Jews immigrated to Israel, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire, establishing the first kibbutz and reviving Hebrew as the national language; before this wave of immigration it is estimated that Jews represented about 4% of the local population.

In 1917, with the Ottoman Empire routed and the British in control of Jerusalem, British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour wrote a letter to Baron Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community. This letter, written in response to long standing political pressure, has become known as the Balfour Declaration. It laid the groundwork for ...

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