Balfour Declaration en route to Israel?
Israel’s deputy ambassador to Britain has raised the possibility that the original 1917 Balfour Declaration would be brought to Israel in a special exhibition marking the historic document’s centenary in 2017.
Jewish News reported that the diplomat, Eitan Na’eh, mentioned the idea Tuesday before the Balfour Day lecture at the British Library.
Na’eh spoke of the possibility of a curated exhibition in Jerusalem which would include the Declaration – a letter written on November 2, 1917, by Arthur Balfour, then the Foreign Secretary, to Lord Rothschild – as well as a letter he sent previously to various interested parties.
The document, which is normally housed at the British Library, would be temporarily relocated outside Britain for the first time.
In it, then-UK Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour declared that Britain would support the establishment of a national homeland for the Jewish People in the Land of Israel.
Na’eh said that the highlight of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s recent visit to Britain had been a viewing of the Declaration, which had been “emotional and brought tears to his eyes”.
The British Library has a facsimile of the Declaration, which it makes available to researchers, but keeps the original Declaration in extremely secure conditions.
Any decision to send the Balfour Declaration abroad for an exhibition is likely to have to be made in consultation with the British government, noted Jewish News.