In the late 19th century, the Zionist Movement organized with the goal of finding a permanent homeland for the Jewish people. Though different places in Africa and South America were considered, most Zionists wanted the new state to be in the Middle East. In the fall of 1917 during World War I, Arthur James Balfour was British Foreign Secretary. On Nov. 2, 1917, Balfour sent a letter to Baron Walter Rothschild, a leader in Britain’s Jewish community.
Historian John Schmidt tells us about the letter and how it has shaped the Middle East ever since.