Third Aliyah

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Road construction, Ein Harod
Third Aliyah pioneers, 1921
Jewish pioneers building Balfour Street in Tel Aviv, 1921

The Third Aliyah refers to the third wave of Zionist immigration to Palestine from Europe between 1919 and 1923, from the end of World War I until the start of the economic crisis in the country.


40,000 Jews arrived in Palestine during the Third Aliyah. The bellwether of the Third Aliyah was the ship SS Ruslan, which arrived at Jaffa Port on December 19, 1919 carrying 650 new immigrants.

The Third Aliyah was triggered by the October Revolution in Russia, the anti-Semitic pogroms in Eastern Europe, the British occupation of Palestine and the Balfour Declaration. Most of the newcomers were young halutzim (pioneers), who built roads and towns and commenced the draining of marshes in the Jezreel Valley and the Hefer Plain. The Histadrut Labor Federation was established at this time. [1]

The pioneers of the Third Aliyah originated mainly from Eastern European countries: 45% from Russia, 31% from Poland, 5% from Romania, and three percent from Lithuania.

Young pioneers were particularly prominent in this immigration wave between 1919 and 1921; afterwards they became a smaller proportion of the immigrants. The importance of those pioneers was just as great as that of the pioneers of the second immigration wave. Their ideology contributed a great deal to the construction of the country, and so they imprinted their mark on Zionism and also on the development of the Jewish settlements in the country of Israel.[citation needed]


  • The Balfour Declaration of 1917, which stated Britain's support for use of the Palestine mandate as a "national home for the Jewish people".
  • The social concussions in Europe - after World War I a national awakening began amongst the eastern European nations following the birth of nine new countries.
  • The Russian Revolution and Civil War led to a wave of pogroms. An estimated 100,000 Jews were killed and 500,000 left homeless.
  • In the new countries which were formed after World War I there was the "problem of the minorities". Battles erupted between small ethnic groups, with riots in divided countries like Poland.
  • The economic crisis in Europe provided an additional motivating factor for Jews leaving with the hope of starting a new life in Israel.
  • The enactment of severe limitations on immigration to the United States.
  • The relative success of the absorption of the second immigration wave to Israel and the socialist ideologies of the wave.

In conclusion, the immigrants did have high hopes for the new future in the Holy Land, but even more than that, they were pushed to immigrate due to the developments in Europe and the growth of the nationalism aspirations of various minority groups.

The official Zionist institutions were opposed to the third immigration wave - they feared that the country would not be able to absorb such a great number of people. They even requested that only the people who had enough economic resources come to the country. But the harsh reality changed their expectations: the bad economic situation of Jews of Eastern Europe, and also the riots, forced many to emigrate to countries which did open their gates - the United States and Western Europe - and to those who had a pioneering impulse and a Zionist recognition, Israel was suitable as their new home.[citation needed]

Social makeup[edit]

Many of the new immigrants of the Third Aliyah were affiliated with HeHalutz and Hashomer Hatzair. Yitzhak Lamdan and Uri Zvi Grinberg immigrated to Palestine during the Third Aliyah.