Napoleon’s invasion of the Middle East marks the beginning of the modern era in the region. This book traces the developments that led to the making of a new and separate geographical-political entity in the Middle East known as Eretz Israel and the establishment of the State of Israel within its bounds. Thus, its time frame runs from Napoleon’s invasion of Eretz Israel / Palestine in 1799 to the establishment of Israel in 1948–1949.
Eretz Israel as the formal name of a separate entity in the modern era first appeared in the early translations into Hebrew of the Balfour Declaration, while in the original document the country was referred to as “Palestine.” During the period of Ottoman rule the territory that would in time be called Eretz Israel / Palestine was not a separate political unit.
Among Jews, use of “Eretz Israel” increased only after the beginning of Zionist aliyot. Had the Zionist movement not arisen, it is doubtful whether the development to which this study is devoted would have occurred. The motivating force behind that process is without doubt the Zionist element. That is why Jews are the major protagonists in this book.
Yehoshua Ben-Arieh, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel