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Jewish leaders declared the establishment of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948, setting the scene for the first of a series of Arab-Israeli wars and military conflicts.While the Palestinian Arabs were still suffering the effects of the British suppression of their revolts a decade earlier, the surrounding Arab countries of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq attempted a supporting invasion of Israel on May 15.In 638 Muslim invaders built a mosque on the site of the ruins of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.Some Christians remained in isolated towns on the Mediterranean coast (such as Ramla, Jaffa, and Lydda), and in 1099 Christian Crusaders from western Europe took Jerusalem and imposed a kingdom for nearly a century.In addition to the region's significance in terms of trade and political conquest, ancient Palestine was the "Holy Land" and birthplace for two major world religions—Judaism and Christianity—and later became very significant for Islam as well.
Two commissions attempted fruitlessly to settle on a map that could be agreed upon, and fears that the Arabs would side with the Germans in the incipient war led the colonial government to issue a "white paper" in 1939 limiting Jewish migration to 75,000 over the next five years and guaranteeing an "independent Palestine state" within ten years.
In 1919 Jews represented ten percent of Palestine's population; by 1944 the number of Jews in Palestine had risen to 32 percent of the total population.
Many of the Jewish immigrants came following Hitler's rise to power in 1933 and especially thereafter as refugees of the Holocaust.
There was a period of modernization in Palestine in the 1830s when Ibrahim Pasha established secular schooling and civil rights so that Christians and Jews could exist somewhat on a par with the Muslims.
When the rural people rebelled against this secularism, the European powers forced Ibrahim out in 1840, and the Ottoman Empire regained control.
ushered in the Hellenistic, or Greek, period in which Hebrew was supplanted by Greek and Aramaic as the dominant language.