The Fourth Aliyah was the first one to bring large numbers of people to the Land of Israel. During the two years it lasted, more than 67,000 people came to the Land of Israel. The overwhelming majority came from Eastern Europe after they had been subjected to severe economic measures and the gates of the USA had been closed to them. This Aliyah increased the population of the Yishuv from 90,000 to 150,000.
The Fourth Aliyah led to significant urban development. Citrus farming grew and Arab workers were employed. Industrial plants were erected. The acquisition of land, mainly by private people, continued.
There was also a culture flourishing during these years. In 1925, the Hebrew University was founded in Jerusalem and the Technion was opened in Haifa.
Who were the Immigrants?
The immigrants of the Fourth Aliyah came from the middle class. They worked in industry, commerce and the crafts. They came with their families and their assets. They did not come to drain the swamps, rather they purchased land, invested in building and industry and they made money. The people of the Third Aliyah, the socialists, called them the “Bourgeois Aliyah” or “The Homeowners”
The Crisis in the Fourth Aliyah
The Land of Israel suffered from a serious economic crisis in 1926. There was a huge drop in contributions from abroad, especially from Poland, where the financial situation was very bad. This resulted in a significant decline in building and many of the immigrants found themselves unemployed. A wave of migration from the Land of Israel began, leading to a glum and depressing mood. From 1926-1928, 19,000 people came to the Land of Israel, while 14,000 left.
In the summer of 1927, the Histadrut began to seek a solution to the problem. Using money from national funds and government loans from the British Mandate, different employment opportunities were offered. Factories were opened a variety of jobs were offered to the unemployed. In 1928, there was an improvement in the economic situation and a decrease in unemployment. In 1929, the flow of immigrants to the land of Israel was renewed.
Although the institutions of the state-in-the-making did not have much money at that time, they continued to redeem the land. Moreover, they began to purchase land to build cities and to establish industrial areas.
So, what else should you know about the
The opening ceremony of the Hebrew University
Watch the film documenting the exciting event on mount scopus, from 1925!