The Balfour Declaration was a letter written by British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lionel Walter Rothschild, in which he expressed the British government’s support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The long-term effects of the Balfour Declaration, and the British government’s involvement in Palestinian affairs, are felt even today.Britain’s acknowledgement and support of Zionism, and Zionism’s focus on establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine, emerged from growing concerns about the direction of World War I.The influence of the Balfour Declaration on the course of post-war events was immediate: According to the “mandate” system created by the Treaty of Versailles of 1919, Britain was entrusted with the temporary administration of Palestine, with the understanding that it would work on behalf of both its Jewish and Arab inhabitants.
In the years after World War I, the Jewish population in Palestine increased dramatically, along with the instances of Jewish-Arab violence. The area’s instability led Britain to delay making a decision on Palestine’s future. But in the aftermath of World War II and the terrors of the Holocaust, growing international support for Zionism led to the official declaration in 1948 of the nation of Israel.