City emblemThe Land of Israel was given as a mandate to England, which in the Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917 pledged the following: to establish a national Jewish home and recognize the Jews' right to return to their land, redeem the land and settle there.  Upon the arrival of the first High Commissioner, Sir Herbert Samuel, a civilian government was established.  This signaled a return in full force, after a standstill of many years, to the great vision of the redemption of the Valley.

The plan, which was based on the Balfour Declaration and the political-settlement principles of leaders of the Yishuv (body of Jewish residents in pre-state Israel) stated:  "It is essential to settle the Land of Israel for ten years starting now, to a one million person Jewish majority."

In order to settle one million people, it was necessary to purchase 4 million dunams (1545 sq miles) of land.  And in order to establish Jewish settlement on such a scale, a number of processes were necessary, including the establishment of ten cities.  Several of the cities such as Jerusalem, Haifa, Tiberias and Tzfat already existed and were to be expanded while others were totally new.  Among those new cities was 'Jezreel', purchased by Yehoshu Hankin.  The combined population of these ten cities totaled 650,000 inhabitants.

This was the origin of the first suggested name for Afula – Jezreel City.