Balfour Day

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Balfour Day is the name given to an annual commemoration of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, by Palestinians, Israelis and their supporters.

Jewish celebration[edit]

From 1918 until World War II, Jews in Mandatory Palestine celebrated Balfour Day as an annual national holiday on 2 November.[1][2] The celebrations included ceremonies in schools and other public institutions and festive articles in the Hebrew press.

Palestinian mourning[edit]

Palestinian mourning on Balfour Day 1929, Old City of Jerusalem

Palestinian Arabs began marking Balfour Day as a day of mourning across the country. This included a general strike, with shops were closed, newspapers printed with black borders, and black flags hung. The protests were often an occasion for Palestinian unity, since they had no religious significance.[3]

The British government in Palestine did not support the Palestinian Arab strike, so the Arab Executive did not always announce it officially.[4]

Strikes and protests also took place in other cities, such as Beirut, Damascus and Cairo.[5]

Formal commemoration was limited during the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine, when most Palestinian political structures stopped functioning.[6]

The country-wide Balfour Day strike was formally restarted in 1945.[7]


  • Elie Podeh, "The Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Balfour Declaration (1967) and Israel" [שונות בתוך מפגן של אחדות: חגיגות יובל הזהב להצהרת בלפור (1967) בישראל ] Israel, Volume 17 (2010), pp 90-59.
  • Tamir Sorek, Calendars, Martyrs, and Palestinian Particularism under British Rule, Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 43, No. 1 (Autumn 2013), pp. 6-23
  • Sorek, Tamir (6 May 2015). Palestinian Commemoration in Israel: Calendars, Monuments, and Martyrs. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-9520-3.


  1. ^ Podeh, p.60
  2. ^ Sorek, p.11
  3. ^ Sorek, p.11
  4. ^ Sorek, p.11
  5. ^ Sorek, p.12
  6. ^ Sorek, p.12
  7. ^ Sorek, p.12