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Today in Jewish History - May 15 / Iyar 10

1882 May 15, ALEXANDER III ISSUED THE MAY LAWS (Russia)

Alexander III
Based on the "findings" of Count Ignatyev's commissions, the May or "Temporary" Laws were issued. Jews were banished from all rural areas and towns of less than ten thousand people, even within the Pale. Strict quotas were placed on the number of Jews allowed into higher education. As formulated by Konstantin Pobedonostev, the Russian statesman and anti-Semite, they were designed to "cause one-third of the Jews to emigrate, one-third to accept baptism, and one-third to starve". These laws remained in quasi-effect until 1914 and provided the impetus for migration to America as well as expanded interest in the settlement of Eretz Israel.


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