Close this search box.

The First Aliyah

History of the Land

The First Aliyah, also known as the agriculture Aliyah, was a significant wave of Jewish immigration to Ottoman Syria between 1881 and 1903. This first wave of immigrants was the beginning of the return to Zion after 2,000 years of exile and was motivated by nationalism. During these years some 25,000 Jews emigrated from Russia and Romania, and 2,500 arrived from Yemen.

The First Aliya
In This Photo: First Aliyah Immigrants Draining Swamps in Haderah, One of the First Colonies

During the First Aliyah In all, nearly 35,000 Jews came to Palestine. Almost half of them left the country within several years of their arrival, some 15,000 established new rural settlements, and the rest moved to the towns.

This wave of immigration was part of a larger migration of Jews, who more commonly ended up in the major cities of Central and Western Europe and other continents like North and South America, Australia, and South Africa.

The First Aliyah Museum in Zichron

The first 14 immigrants (biluim) arrived at Jaffa port on July 6, 1882. Most of the immigrants (olim) during this period came from Eastern Europe and were members of the two early Zionist movements known as Hibbat Zion and Bilu. The members defined their goal as the political, national, and spiritual resurrection of the Jewish people in Palestine.

Though they were inexperienced idealists, most chose agricultural settlement as their way of life and founded moshavot — farm owners’ villages based on the principle of private property. Three early villages of this type were Rishon Lezion, Rosh Pina, and Zichron Ya’akov.

The New Yishuv And The First Aliyah

The journey was not easy, and the First Aliyah settlers encountered many difficulties, from disease, inclement weather, Arab opposition, and crippling Turkish taxation. They received a small amount of aid from Hibbat Zion and a substantial amount from Baron Edmond de Rothschild. 

Baron Edmond de Rothschild provided the moshavot with his patronage and economic assistance. The Yemenite immigrants (In Hebrew: Olim), most of whom settled in Jerusalem, were first employed as construction workers and later in the citrus plantations of the moshavot.

During the 22 years between 1881 and 1903, the members of the First Aliyah established new Hebrew settlements and agricultural communes that became the basis of Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel, known as the New Yishuv. 

The establishment of these 32 colonies and settlements laid the foundations for developing the Hebrew agricultural economy, considered one of the First Aliyah’s great achievements. Baron Edmond de Rothschild provided the moshavot with his patronage and economic assistance.

Enormous difficulties and personal sacrifice accompanied the establishment and development of these farming colonies, which were the jewel in the crown of the new Yishuv. The first colonies established were Rishon Lezion, Zichron Yaacov, Rosh Pina, and Petah Tikva. Later, Rehovot, Menahemia, Metula, Nes Ziona, Gedera, Hadera, Atlit, and other colonies followed.

The establishment of agricultural projects such as the winery in Rishon Lezion and the purchase of land by philanthropists and organizations, the most prominent among them Baron Edmond James de Rothschild, are also significant accomplishments.


Hi! My name is Arik, an Israeli native who dedicated his life to sharing my passion for the Holy Land with those interested in knowing more about this incredible piece of land. I’m the Chief Guide at ‘APT Private Tours in Israel’.

Did you know the Hoopoe is Israel's national bird?! For more cool info about Israel, join our ever growing community and get exclusive travel tips, and giveaways!

Simon Peter


The Mamluks

Let's journey through the dynastic tapestry of the Mamluks, a captivating saga that shaped the course of history.

The Umayyad Dynasty

The Umayyad dynasty was a Muslim dynasty that ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 661 to 750 CE. They left an impact on the Land ...

Yitzhak Rabin Memorial

Yitzhak Rabin Memorial is where the assassination of former P.M. Yitzhak Rabin was carried out in November 1995 by a Jewish assassin.

Siege of Masada

The siege of Masada was one of the final events in the Jewish Roman War occurring on 73 CE on a large hilltop at the Judean Desert, Dead Sea.

Sursock Purchases

Sursock Purchases were a major milestone in the Zionist movement and played a significant role in the establishment of the State of Israel

Baldwin IV of Jerusalem

Baldwin IV of Jerusalem, often remembered as the "Leper King," is a remarkable individual whose story is intertwined with the Crusades.

War of Independence

Israel's War of Independence, was a pivotal conflict that led to the establishment of the State of Israel. To learn more click here!

Balfour Declaration

The Balfour Declaration marked a pivotal moment in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Its ramifications echo to this day!

The Battle of Megiddo

The Battle of Megiddo, fought 15th century BCE, was between the Egyptian forces under the command of Pharaoh Thutmose III and a large rebellious coalition of Canaanite vassal states led by the king ...

Bohemond I of Antioch

Bohemond I of Antioch, was a medieval noble and military leader who played a significant role in the First Crusade. Here's an overview!

Need help?

Skip to content