>>The Fifties in Israel
The Fifties in Israel 2018-02-19T22:11:56+00:00

A little background

When the State of Israel was established, there were 650,000 people. At the end of the British Mandate, the gates to the country were opened. Even while Israel was waging the War of Independence, immigrants began to arrive in Israel. When the battles ended, the number of immigrants increased. Free aliyah is one of the corenerstones of the State of Israel. “The State of Israel will be open to aliyah for the Jews of the Diaspora.”

A People Returns to its Land

The Mass Aliyah of the 1950s

Coming to Israel

In the first three years of the 1950s, 700,000 people came to Israel on aliyah. The Jewish Yishuv doubled itself. They came from Europe and from the Middle East and Africa.
Holocaust survivors came from the displaced persons camps and from the camps in Cyprus. They escaped from communist countries. The immigrants from Europe didn’t come as a community; they came as individuals or as small families, rebuilding their lives after the war.

Entire communities came from the Middle East and Africa. This exodus brought about the end of the Diaspora communities in the Middle East and Africa. The immigrants were motivated to leave their countries because of growing anti-Semitism and an increase in attacks against Jews, especially after Israel’s victory in the War of Independence. In some countries, large wealthy families had to leave all their property behind as they fled because of the difficulties the Jews were facing.

The First Stages of Immigration Absorption

The young state had no infrastructure to absorb the masses that arrived at its gates. There was no housing and there were no employment opportunities. In the first stage, the immigrants were housed in houses abandoned by Arabs in Jaffa, Ramle, Lod, Beer Sheva and Haifa. The immigrants found work because many of the men of the Yishuv were fighting a war and the economy was in need of workers. However, by the second stage, there were no more vacant houses and the soldiers returned from the battle. So there was no more work. Immigrants were housed in immigrant camps. Some of the camps had been British army camps, including Atlit, Pardes Hanna and Sha’ar Aliyah.
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The conditions in the camps were extremely difficult. Tens of people who didn’t know one another were crowded into large halls lacking in proper sanitary conditions. The immigrants did not work and the authorities supplied their basic needs.

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