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Original Balfour Declaration Loaned to Israel for Display During 40th Anniversary Celebrations

The historic letter British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour wrote on November 2, 1917 pledging Britain’s support for a Jewish national home in Palestine, will be on exhibition in Israel as part of the country’s 40th anniversary celebrations next year.

The letter was addressed to Lord Rothschild, a prominent British Jew. Balfour asked him to convey its contents to the English Zionist Federation whose chairman was Dr. Chaim Weizmann. In issuing the letter, Britain became the first major power to associate itself with the objective of the Zionist movement, founded by Theodor Herzl in 1897. It became known to posterity as the Balfour Declaration.

Though quoted and reprinted in countless newspapers, books and pamphlets, the brief letter was never before shown to the public. The original was deposited by the Rothschild family at the British Library. The latter has agreed to lend it to Israel. The transfer was arranged here by the Zionist Federation of Great Britain.

Dr. Stephen Roth, Federation chairman, made the announcement. He expressed gratitude to Lord Quinton, chairman of the Library, and its board. Others involved in the negotiations were Lord Weidenfeld, the publisher, and Shlomo Gazit, director general of the World Zionist Organization.

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