A hundred years before the League of Nations gave Britain the Mandate over Palestine, the emissaries of the "London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews," a Protestant organization, were the first to take root in the Holy Land. From 1820 onwards, their pioneering efforts compelled other churches, and the European powers that they represented, as well as the Jewish world, to become more engaged in the vigorous activities taking place in the Land of Israel, in order not to allow the Protestants to hold sway. Thus, the Society initiated a process that was to be of significant value in the restoration of the country when it was transformed, mainly as a result of mass Jewish immigration, from a remote and isolated region into one of the most flourishing provinces of the Ottoman Empire.
The initial hopes of the Society to hasten the second advent of the Christian Messiah through the conversion of the Jews were not realized. Only a handful of the Jews in the country were "caught in the Mission's net." Yet the society - by establishing the first modern institutions of medical care, education and charity - made a valuable contribution to progress in general.
Although the London Mission was only one among scores of missionary societies, some quite short-lived, which were active in the country during the 19th century, the Jewish community considered it the most dangerous. For this reason, it has received hardly any mention in Israeli historiography.
Yaron Perry's account reveals, without bias or partiality, the story of the Society and its unique contribution to the restoration of the Holy Land.