1882 Bilu and the First Aliyah


Bilu was committed to the resettling of Israel by Jews. It constituted the first modern resettlement effort of Palestine.

The name Bilu stood for "Bet Ya'akov L'chu V'Nelcha"(O House of Jacob , come ye and let us go," quoted from Isaiah. The movement was founded in Kharkiv, Russia, in 1882 by Jewish students reacting to the pogroms in Russia at the time. Their goal was to resettle in the Land of Israel. The first 14 members of Bilu arrived in Palestine in July 1882. The initial 'Biluim' settled in Mikve Israel and Rishon L'Tzion as farm hands. Some members of Bilu learned a trade and settled in Jerusalem. In 1884, members of Bilu formed the settlement of Gedera. In 1890 a second influx of settlers arrived in Palestine from Russia. A number of new settlements were established in that period including Rechovot and Hadera. While the Rothschilds had not initially supported the Bill, they began supporting the farming efforts of the new arrivals, including helping them establish vineyards and wine production.

By the end of the period known as the First Aliya in 1903, 350,000 dunams of land had been purchased, 20 agricultural settlements were built and 720 families comprising 6,000 people lived in the new settlements. Of the 50,000 Jews living in Palestine at the time 10,000 were part of what became known as the new Yishuv.