The British National Library has recently informed Israeli government secretary, Zvi Hauser, that it has accepted requests to exhibit the original copy of the Balfour Declarations in Israel next year. It will be the first time that this document will be shown outside the UK.
The Declaration is a letter sent by the UK’s Foreign Secretary, Arthur James Balfour, to Baron Rothschild; a leader of the British Jewish community on November 2, 1917. Balfour promised Rothschild to set up a Jewish state for Jews in Palestine.
The Rothschild family handed the original copy of the Declaration to the British Museum, which handed it over to the British National Library.
The document is scheduled to be displayed for several months in Israeli during events to mark the 70th anniversary of the declaration of Israel’s independence.
A number of other correspondences between Balfour and Rothschild are also going to be displayed.
The text of the Declaration reads:
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, an approved by, the cabinet.
His Majesty’s government views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.