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Jewish History Essay Research Paper The Jews

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

threatened Damascus.

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


COLLI 1986

2. Israel & the Arabs: The June 1967 War

Facts on file, INC. New York, N.Y.


3. The Holocaust in Historical Perspective

Yehuda Bauer

University of Washington Press