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The Hopes, Achievements and Crises

The reality, however, was bleak. The British had imposed martial law on Palestine and its senior commanders, the majority of whom opposed their government's pro-Zionist policy, were preoccupied with their own problems. For whatever reason, they did not - or would not - find time to deal with issues relating to the Jewish Yishuv, in particular Jewish aliyah; in fact they closed the gates of Palestine to olim. The Zionist leadership was also not in a hurry to send Jews to Palestine. Fearing that the country - bruised and beaten after the war - would be unable to absorb new arrivals, they curbed the growing enthusiasm of the Jews and demanded that they be patient. These were the years when Dr. Chaim Weizmann was working toward becoming the Zionist leader. His road, however, was paved with competitors and rivals, the most challenging of all being Louis D. Brandeis, the renowned Zionist leader from the United Sates. Most of the American Zionists, led by Brandeis, believed that the Zionist movement needed to concentrate on building a Jewish national homeland in Eretz Israel by economic means, and should not occupy itself with ideological matters. Weizmann and the European Zionists, however, got the upper hand and Branders retired from Zionist activity.


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