There were many driving factors behind Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour’s decision on November 2, 1917, to write a letter to Britain’s most illustrious Jewish citizen, Baron Lionel Walter Rothschild, expressing the British government’s support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
On the one hand, British imperialism was a driving force; the British parliament hoped to establish a Zionist state under British protection between the crucial territories of India and Egypt to ensure its dominance in the region. On the other hand, amid World War I, without promise of a sizeable infusion of American troops to arrive and support Allied forces, British leaders hoped a formal declaration in favor of Zionism would help gain Jewish support for the Allies in countries like the U.S. and Russia.
However, according to historian and Deputy Minister Michael Oren, there was another equal factor: Christian Zionism.
Christian Zionism is a belief by Christians that the return of the Jews to their Holy Land and the restoration of the Land of Israel is a promise made by God and in accordance with Biblical prophecy.
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