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The period following the pogroms was marked by increasingly massive emigration. Hans Rogger says that prior to the pogroms, in the period 1871-80, it had reached a yearly average of 4,100 persons but 'The yearly average of those going to the US alone was 12,856 for 1881-6; it reached 28,509 in the next five year period, rose to 44,829 during 1891-5; 82,223 for 1906-10 and 75,144 for 1911-14. Altogether nearly 2 million Jews left Russia [sic - PB] between 1880 and 1914, more than two thirds of them for the United States.' (5) This was despite the fact that the government tried to discourage it: 'most border crossings were accomplished illegally, under the cover of darkness and with the connivance of frontier guards, but occasionally accompanied by their bullets.' (ibid. p.183). Rogger expresses puzzlement as to why the government, obsessed with its 'Jewish problem' didn't encourage emigration. A body called the Jewish Colonisation Agency was formed in London in 1891 by the Baron Maurice de Hirsch and it obtained some concessions for legal emigration but the agreed process was cumbersome and expensive and only had marginal effect.

(5) Hans Rogger: Jewish policies and right-wing politics in imperial Russia, Berkeley and Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1986, p.178.

Even those who left illegally still needed passports and the process for obtaining them was expensive and time consuming: 'More than half the Jewish immigrants arrived without any means and no more than 4-7 percent had more than $50 in their possession. With a Jewish family's budget in a small town estimated as being about 300 rubles a year, the expense of obtaining a passport was obviously a major item - not to mention steamship tickets if these were not sent by relatives - and explains the resort to agents and their bribes and the pleas of the JCA for free exit permits.' (still p.183).

In contrast to emigration to the United States, the alternative, emigration to Palestine prior to 1914 - the first and second aliyot (plural of aliyah, meaning 'ascent', the term used by Zionists to characterise emigration to 'Israel') - was marginal, no matter how big it was with consequences for the future. A jewish agricultural school - Mikve Yisrael - had been established in Palestine in 1870 under the auspices of the Alliance Universelle. In the middle of the enthusiasm over Oliphant's Palestine proposal, its founder, Charles Netter, also one of the founders of the Alliance, wrote to the papers to say that Palestine 'was totally unsuited - climatically, economically, socially - for mass colonisation by the Jews.' (Frankel, p.82). Mikve Yisrael had already met opposition from the existing Jewish population, the 'Old Yishuv', for whom the most integral observance possible of the Jewish law was a precondition for the privilege of living in Palestine, and this was incompatible with the principles of modern agriculture. This is one of Rabkin's themes: 'Tradition also underlines the grave danger of living in the Holy Land by comparing the land of Israel to a royal palace in which any transgression immediately assumes enormous proportions' (Modern Israel, p.12). In this understanding the whole land would be to Jews what a church would be to Christians. 

It was a problem encountered by the pioneers of the first aliyah in Rishon Le-Zion, an agricultural colony founded in 1882 by 'hovevei Zion' (lovers of Zion), the movement for migration to Palestine formed in the wake of the pogroms under the influence of the pamphlet Auto-Emancipation, by Leo Pinsker, the parallel call by Peretz Smolenskin, editor in Vienna of the Hebrew language journal, Ha-shahar (The Dawn - we encountered it in the last article in this series), and the hopes raised by Oliphant. Smolenskin in particular believed that, given the support of the House of Rothschild, 'with a mere fifth of their wealth they could buy the country and resettle in it all the hungry and those searching for salvation'. The money already collected by the Alliance 'could have bought more than half the country and settled there those who were persecuted.' (Frankel, still p.82). According to Frankel he blamed the failure to seize the opportunity on Netter (who died in 1882). Iakov Lvovich Rozenfeld, proprietor of the influential journal Raszvet (which also translates as The Dawn and which we also encountered in the last article) joined Oliphant in Constantinople in the effort to win a concession from the Turkish government. These respectable, establishment initiatives failed, largely, as we saw in the last article, because of the new tensions that had risen between the Sublime Porte and the British government over Egypt. The emigration which, unpromising as it may have seemed to begin with, started the process that eventually produced the state of Israel had quite different beginnings.