Terminology in the Jerusalem context can be complex and also controversial. Words and their meanings shape narratives. Our Lexicon goes beyond standard definitions and also offers, where applicable, nuanced shades of meanings that matter to Palestinian Jerusalemites.


The collective of Jews residing in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Literally meaning “settlement,” Yishuv forms part of a longer term, Ha-Yishuv Ha-Ivri, which translates to “the Hebrew settlement.” The Yishuv is further divided into the Old and New Yishuv. The Old Yishuv refers to the East European Jewish community that began to immigrate to Palestine for religious purposes starting at the end of the 18th century. This community mostly settled in Tiberias, Safad, Hebron, and Jerusalem and was composed of pious Jews who observed and studied Jewish religious traditions. By 1880, the Old Yishuv numbered about 26,000 Jews. The arrival of the first wave of Zionist immigrants (aliya) to Palestine in 1882 marked the beginning of the New Yishuv. From 1882 to 1948, hundreds of thousands of Jews immigrated to Palestine to enact the secular, political, and ideological Zionist project of establishing an economically independent Jewish polity, in contrast with their religious and economically dependent counterparts of the Old Yishuv. By the end of 1946, members of the New Yishuv numbered 625,000.