Nature's Rage and Nation-Building: The 1927 Earthquake in Palestine

Ami Ayalon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Palestine of the 1920s was a country in transformation. Arabs and Jews were striving to build their separate national communities on the same land amid a bitter rivalry between them, under a recently installed colonial government that had its own geostrategic interests. The mighty earthquake that inflicted death and devastation on the country in July 1927 confronted all of these actors at an early stage of advancing their respective agendas, and presented a serious test to all of them. The article examines the quake's impact on the Palestinians, the dual Jewish community (Zionist and "old yishuv"), Arab-Jewish relations, and the country's British imperial administration, and scrutinizes their respective handling of the challenge. Employing the natural disaster as a prism, it sheds a focused light on the dilemmas and choices of these actors at that early phase of Palestine's mandatory history.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-153
Number of pages25
JournalWelt des Islams
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021


  • Nablus
  • Palestine
  • Tel Aviv
  • Zionism
  • earthquake
  • mandate
  • yishuv


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