Internal Developments During the Samuel Regime
The period of Herbert Samuel's tenure as high commissioner for Palestine ( 1920-1925) not only saw the groundwork laid for the effective repudiation of the Balfour Declaration by the British government. It also witnessed developments within the Yishuv and the Zionist Organization that would have long-term consequences for the Zionist enterprise.
In addition to the two major Labor parties, Ahdut Ha'avodah and Hapoel Hatzair, there were a number of religious and other parties that played a significant role in the political organization of the Yishuv. One of the more prominent of these was the Mizrahi (a contraction of Mercaz Rubani, Spiritual Center), a world organization of religiously Orthodox Zionists founded in Vilnius, Lithuania, in 1902, by Rabbi Isaac Jacob Reines. The organization was brought into being largely as a reaction to the resolution passed at the Fifth Zionist Congress, in 1901, that called for the obligatory education of the Jewish masses in the spirit of nationalism. The religious Zionists understood this to mean the promotion of a secular outlook they feared would be destructive of traditional Judaism. The Mizrahi was intended to provide the alternative of a religiously oriented nationalist perspective. Mizrahi established a bureau in Palestine in 1912 but did not become active there until after World War I, when it began to organize branches throughout the country. The central executive of the world organization moved its headquarters to Jerusalem in 1920.