The state of Rhode Island has a
very substantial Jewish population and because of its history of
religious tolerance was an early refuge for Jewish settlers. The first
Jewish Synagogue in America was founded in Newport, Rhode Island.
SEE: First Day
Covers and History for Touro Synagogue)
I found this cover very
interesting, even though the contents/letter were not included. I
believe that the letter was probably sent from a Providence Journal
war correspondent who was covering the conflict in Palestine as the
Jewish people were fighting to establish a homeland there. This letter
was posted on January 27, 1948, shortly after the Arab league had
organized a volunteer force of 3000 fighters and prior to the British
mandate expiring in May. Many Jewish Americans in Rhode Island and
elsewhere were contributing money and supplies to the cause.
During and just prior to World
War II, many Jews began fleeing Europe because of the
The British, who controlled the territory of Palestine, attempted
unsuccessfully to stop the flood of refugees to the area, as they
considered it a threat to the stability of the region. Jewish
organizations continued to smuggle refugees into the area and several
underground Jewish militias were formed such as the "Irgun,"
who were responsible for the assassination of Lord Moyne in 1944.
The Irgun's attacks culminated in Jerusalem on
July 22, 1946, when they blew up a part of the King David Hotel
containing British government and military offices, with the loss of
Beginning in 1945, Jewish
immigration to Palestine increased dramatically. The Zionists were
determined to create a Jewish state and the Arabs were just as
determined that Palestine would become an Arab state. On November 29,
1947 the United Nations passed a resolution partitioning Palestine
into an Arab and a Jewish state, with Jerusalem and its environs as an
On May 14, 1948, General Sir
Alan Cunningham and the last British troops withdrew from Palestine
and on that same day the State of Israel was declared. The following
day, regular army units of Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt crossed the
borders and the war began in earnest. Throughout 1948, in a series of
brilliant military campaigns, the Jewish army managed to route
superior Arab forces again and again. By early 1949 the Israelis had
managed to occupy all of the Negev up to the former Egypt-Palestine
frontier, except for the Gaza Strip.
By the summer of 1949 Israel had
signed armistices with its Arab neighbors and was recognized by more
than 50 governments throughout the world. By this time, Israel had
established sovereignty over 8000 square miles of Palestine west of
the Jordan River and joined the United Nations. The remaining 2,000
square miles of the former Palestinian territory was divided between
Jordan and Egypt.
At the time of the direct
partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, the Jewish
population was 678,000 and the Arab population was 1,270,000. A
majority of Arab-Palestinians fled into
and neighboring countries during the conflict,
(Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan).
The current Mid-East/Palestinian
conflict stems from and is a direct result of what was seen by the
Arab nations as an illegal land grab by the
"Nations of the West."