Emergence of a Jewish Majority in Jerusalem
The beginning of the modern historical period in the Land of Israel was marked by the European powers’ new interest in the region and by the Jews’ own changed attitudes toward the Land. Jews began settling the Land in increasing numbers, largely in anticipation of the Messiah’s expected appearance in 1840; settlement continued even after those expectations were dashed. The new motives for Aliya were spiritual and religious under the oppression of the governments in Europe. Thus, due to the expansion of the yishuv, Western philanthropists used their influence to modernize Jerusalem. Jerusalem expanded beyond the old city walls, laying the basis for what would become West Jerusalem. Ultimately, it was only thanks to the existence of a Jewish yishuv in the Land of Israel during the first half of the 19th century that masses of Jews in the Diaspora as well as the nations of the world became aware of the reality of the Land of Israel as a place in which the Jewish nation could settle in the future.
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