Zionism is a Jewish national movement that supports the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people. Soon after it was established, most of the leaders of the Zionist movement linked its main goal with the creation of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, renewing the Jewish presence there. Modern Zionism took shape at the end of the 19th Century in Central and Eastern Europe starting as a Jewish national revival movement in response to pogroms and anti-Semitic harassment, and the various nationalist movements in Europe.
From the start, the goals of Zionism were to return to Zion where the exiles could be brought together where they would revive Hebrew culture and language and establish an independent Jewish state. According to Benjamin Ze'ev, Theodor Herzl the intellectual force behind modern Zionism, Zionism is a broad range of ideas which include not only the desire for a legally guaranteed political space for the Jewish people but also the quest for moral and spiritual perfection. Since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, the Zionist movement has continued to support Israel and deal with threats to its existence and security.
From its start, Zionism was not monolithic. Its leaders and parties were diverse and sometimes even mutually antagonistic. But the shared yearning for a return to the ancestral homeland led to compromises and concession for a common value and political purpose.
Table of Contents
- 1 Source of the Name
- 2 The Goals of Zionism
- 3 Ideological and Historical Background
- 3.1 Movements and Currents in the 19th Century
- 3.2 Movements and Currents in the 20th Century
- 4 History of Zionism
- 5 Types of Zionism
- 5.1 Institutionalization of Zionism
- 5.2 Development of the Jewish Yishuv in Eretz Israel (Palestine)
- 5.3 Development of the Zionist Types and the Institutions in the Yishuv
- 5.4 Zionism after the Founding of the State of Israel
- 6 Non-Jewish Zionists
- 7 Objectives and Achievements
- 8 Opposition to Zionism
- 9 Terms in Zionism
- 9.1 Leaders
- 9.2 Realization of Zionism
- 9.3 International Recognition
- 9.4 Organizations of the Zionist Movement
- 9.5 Parties and Movements
- 9.6 Youth Movements
- 10 Further Reading
- 10.1 Studies
- 10.1 Sources
- 11 External Links
- 11 Institutes for the Study of Zionism
- 12 Footnotes
1 Source of the Name
The origin of the name "Zionism" is the word Zion, the other name for Jerusalem in the Bible. "And the redeemed of the Lord returned to Zion and sat down, and the joy of the world hung over their heads, they found gladness and joy, their sorrow and sighing fled." (Isaiah 35:10) The word 'Zion' was introduced to Hebrew from the Hittite language, a word meaning fortress. The modern term 'zionismus' was first coined by the intellectual Nathan Birnbaum in 1890 to describe the Hovevei Zion movement and later when Birnbaum took part in the First Zionist Conference in 1897 as the First Secretary of the Zionist Office in Vienna, Herzl adopted Birnbaum's word as the name of the movement.
2 The Goals of Zionism
The creation of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel (Palestine) was proposed by the preachers of Zionism, and that was the destination of the First Aliya, including members of BIL"U. One of the primary goals in Theodor Herzl's "The Jewish State" (Der Judenstaat) was the creation of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel (Palestine). In the Basel Program, formulated at the First Zionist Congress in 1897, the primary goal of the Jewish nationalist movement was defined: Zionism aspires to establish a homeland for the Jewish people in the land of Israel, guaranteed by law." The Zionist aspiration for a Jewish state in Eretz Israel was to some extent recognized in the Balfour Declaration, which spoke of a national home for the Jewish people in Eretz Israel.
The various Zionist factions did not always agree and this changed over time in response to various events such as World War I, the British Mandate, the illegal immigration to Israel, World War II, the Holocaust, the establishment of the state of Israel and the War of Independence, and the priorities of the various goals were also not agreed on even if the importance of the goals were. For decades, the Zionist movement included movements and groups that viewed the creation of a bi-national state as a valid goal, groups such as the Peace Alliance established in 1925, and the Ha'Shomer Hatzair Party founded in 1946.
Some of the goals of Zionism are:
- A home for the Jewish people in Eretz Israel
- Recover the lands of Eretz Israel
- Building a model society based on social justice and equality
- Developing Eretz Israel by settling a Jewish workforce
- Preparing the political infrastructure to establish a Jewish nation-state in Eretz Israel
- Encouraging immigration to Eretz Israel and gather in the exiles
- Revive the Hebrew language
- Promote Jewish solidarity in the strugle against anti-Semitism
- Create and train a Jewish defensive force to protect the Jews from the persecutors
- Unite the exiled Jewish people that will return to homeland of their forefathers
- Provide support for the state of Israel
- Integrate the Jewish people in the state of Israel
- For the religious groups it means: the beginning of redemption
With the start of the 21 Century, since the main goals of Zionism (such as the establishment of a Jewish national home) have been achieved, there has been a change in the emphasis on the Zionist goals. And especially: instead of the establishment of the state, it has been modified to its strengthening and consolidation among the nations of the world.
3 Ideological and Historical Background
3.1 Movements and Currents in the 19th Century
The rise of Zionism and its support among the people was influenced by the events and changes of the 19th Centiry. It was a period that saw the rise of nationalism as an intellectual and political movement. The Greeks, Italians, Poles and other peoples of Europe created national movements to give political expression to their ethnic and cultural uniqueness. At the same time, the Jewish people primarily through their representation in the Bible (as interpreted by Christians) as important models of nationalism and popular rule, including democratic nationalism in particular. Against this backdrop, the Zionists succeeded in making use of traditional elements such as the yearning for a return to Zion, political precedents from the long history of the Jews, which served as both proof and permission for what they called the "return to history", and the politics that allowed them to achieve sovereignty. The rapid advances in modern communications, transportation and finance made it easier to implement the difficult parts of the Zionist project.
The rise of nationalist movements, particularly those in Eastern and Central Europe during the 19th Century which sought to unite the nation behind a common history, religion and culture influenced the rise of Zionism in three ways:
- The quest for national unity based on ethnic background in the areas of Eastern and Central Europe where Jews lived led to the perception of Jews as 'the other' and made their integration into society difficult.
- The various national movements - Greek, Polish, Serbian and others - served as a model for the Zionists in their search for a national movement of their own.
- The use of descriptions from the Bible and other ancient Jewish sources served as examples for the new nationalism to build on.
The Zionist movement emerged during the 19th Century. In this century a number of intellectual trends arose in Europe, each of which influenced Zionism, such as the Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah), the Romantic Movement, Marxism and Socialism. Some also believe that Rabbi Yehuda Alkalai as well as the harbinger of Zionism, Rabbi Zvi Kalisher, were influenced by the European Spring of the mid-19th Century attempting to merge these European ideas with the Jewish religious yearning to return to Zion.
The Era of the Enlightenment led European society to give Jews equal civil right that were enshrined in the laws of the state. The ideas of the Enlightenment spread throughout western and central Europe and as a result it was the Jewish community in these countries that were the first to begin the Jewish Enlightenment. It was also during the 19th Century that Reform Judaism began to develop in Germany.
A similar process of enlightenment began in Russia in the 1860s but the acceptance of the ideas of the Enlightenment in Russia was only gradual and partial, and the society less tolerant of Jews. Romania, which had just been created by the untion of Moldavia and Wallachia whose independence was formally recognized under the terms of the Treaty of Berlin (1878, which included the obligation to grant citizenship to all residents) violated both the treaty and its own constitution by refusing to grant citizenship to its Jewish residents instead granting it a case by case basis requiring a parliamentary approval. The parliament's decision on this issue was accepted despite anti-semitic riots (pogroms) by opponents of equal rights for Jews.
The pogroms in the Russian Empire in 1881, known as the Storms in the South Ha'sufot ba'negev, gave the first signal to Jews that it was clear they would not be able to assimilate into Eastern European society. An outcome of the riots was the emigrating of many Jews to the West and the New World, but a small number of them, under the influence of Moshe Leib Lilienblum and Yehuda Leib Pinsker, decided to organize and move to Eretz Israel. Along with others they formed the wave of immigration known as the First Aliyah. These groups formed a new organization called Hovevei Zion (NB: those who cherish Zion). On the 15th of Av, 5724 (31 July 1882) a groups of pioneers from Yesod Hama'ala and Hovevei Zion (and later joined by BIL"U) established Rishon LeZion - the first Zionist settlement in Eretz Israel (Palestine). Rishon LeZion was established as an expression of Zionist ideology which also led to the creation of the Israeli flag, the Hatikva, the Zionist anthem (a poem put to music), the first Hebrew school and kindergarten, and the revival of the Hebrew language.
However, despite the many signs of rejection by the powers of Europe, especially during the economic crisis of the 1870s, many European Jews still tried to integrate into society. Other preferred to emigrate overseas especially to eht United States which at that time was absorbing immigrants from all over the world. Theodor Herzl, born in Budapest who later moved to Vienna as a young man, proposed a different solution: the establishment of a Jewish state. Herzl believed that a state for the Jewish people would solve the problem of hostility toward Jews. In 1896, Herzl published a book outlining his vision for the creation of a Jewish state by political means. The book was titled, the Jewish State - Der Judenstaat, and resonated with the large Jewish communities that lived in Eastern Europe, calling for the creation of a Zionist movement and the establishment of the Zionist Congress.
On 29 August 1897 the First Zionist Congress convened in Basel under the leadership of Theodor Herzl and the World Zionist Organization was established. Most of the delegates to the congress were from Eastern Europe because Western European society was more open to allowing Jews to assimilate into it. In the First Congress there were already tense discussions with the ultra-Orthodox who were afraid to join the Zionist movement because of its secular character. Herzl declared that "Zionism will do nothing that will harm the religious views of any group in Judaism."
During the 19th Century Marxist and socialist organizations began to appear and many Jews joined them, including personalities who preached Zionism such as Moshe Hess. In 1897, the Jewish-Socialist Bund was established in Vilna that supported the national revival and the autonomy of Jews in the areas where they lived while opposing the Zionist platform for being too bourgeois. At its peak the organization numbered some 2.5 million Jews.
3.2 Movements and Currents in the 20th Century
The second wave of immigration (to Eretz Israel) known as the Second Aliyah, took place against the backdrop of a mass emigration movement from Eastern Europe that took place at the end of the 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th Century involving more than 35 million people. Jews emigrated at hig rates relative to their share of the population. The wave of the Second Aliyah was the largest wave of immigration (to Eretz Israel). The vast majority of Jews, more than 1.3 million, emigrated to the United States while some 35,000 immigrated to Eretz Israel. Other destination countries were England, Argentina, France, Canada and South Africa.
Among the motives for emigration out of Eastern Europe, for Jewish and non-Jewish alike, the rapid population gorwth and the consequent economic difficulties are important. Jewish communities in both Galicia and Romania suffered from severe economic hardship and many of them lived in dire poverty. Another factor that accelerated the emigration of the Jewish inhabitants was the various decress and persecution by the authorities and the local population. Two events in particular that prompted Jews to emigrate were the Kishinev riots of 1903 and the riots that took place after the Russian Revolution of 1905.
From 1905 to the outbreak of the First World War in the summer of 1914, some 35,000 Jews immigrated to Eretz Israel. On the eve of the war, the Jewish community in Eretz Israel (Palestine) numbered some 85,000. Most of the immigrants came to Israel because of its connection to Jewish history and culture as well as the desire to improve their lives in a new land. Many of them were supporters of the Zionist movement and knew of the activities of Theodor Herzl, many others belonged to European socialist movements and communists, and those who participated in the 1905 revolution in Czarist Russia and had knowledge of the pogroms that took place throughout Eastern Europe at the time. Some of the workers belonged to the two parties, Hapoel Hatzair and Po'aley Zion, such as Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, Yosef Haim Brenner, Manya Shohat, Israel Shochat, David Ben-Gurion, Berl Katznelson, Yitzhak Tabenkin and AD Gordon. During the Second Aliyah, several Zionist organizations were created to serve the Yishuv and marked new functions, among them: The Palestine Office, the Ha'Shomer organization and the Hebrew Neighborhood of Tel Aviv.
During the years of the First World War, the Yishuv suffered from poverty, famine and divorce (NB:??). When the war ended, there were about 55,000 people. The Zionist movement won a major political victory when Great Britain, the great power of that period, agreed to support the Zionist movement and issued the Balfour Declaration of 2 November 1917. This statement gave a very significant boost to Zionism especially after the British conquered Eretz Israel from the Ottomans and then was given the Mandate for Palestine by the League of Nations.
After the 1917 Revolution at the height of the First World War, the Russian Civil War broke out and continued until 1921 with a big impact on the Jewish population there. The the suffering of the jewish communities and the new youth movement organization, some organized by members of the Second Aliyah, created the conditions for numerous young Jews to immigrate to Israel primarily for ideological reasons beginning the Third Aliyah. Some of them were known as 'pioneers' חלוצים chalotzim and followed the thinking of socialist Zionism. It was during this period that members of the Ha'shomer Ha'tzair youth movement entered Eretz Israel.
The Fourth Aliyah was the first mass exodus of the urban middle-class from Eastern Europe because of a change in the immigration policy in the United States coupled with a reduction in immigration quotas in the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924. In the Fifth Aliyah, during the 1930s more than 250,000 Jews came to Israel as a result of the growing anti-semitism in Europe, mainly in Poland and later because of the Nazis gaining power in Germany. The Fifth Aliyah was less ideologically driven than the First Aliyah.
After the end of world War II (1945) and especially after the creation of the state of Israel (1948), the Zionist movement became dominant among the Jewish people.
On 29 November 1947, the United Nations accepted the Partition Plan that signaled the end of the British Mandate and paved the way for the declaration of independence of the state of Israel in May 1948.
After the founding of the state of Israel, the majority of immigration came from Eastern Europe, Asia and North Africa. The main drivers of this movement were the realization of the ancient vision of the return to Zion, the plight of the Jews of Eastern Europe after the Holocaust and under communist rule, and a wave of riots against Jews in Arab countries in response to the creation of Israel.
The motives of Zionism were intertwined with anti-semitic persecution and economic pressures together with the ideas of redemption, secularism and religiosity which led the Zionist public to join the Jewish national movement while aspiring to return to Zion, the Land of the Patriarchs and to the Gathering Together of the Exiles. A combination of international circumstances, such as the disintegration of empires after World War I, and the creation of the nation-state alongside the decolonization of the Middle East which made is possible to realize the Zionist dream of the creation of a modern Jewish state in Eretz Israel.
4 History of Zionism
History points to the second half of the 19th Century as the beginning of the Zionist movement. The idea of the return to Zion, the gathering in of the exiles and the renewal of an independent Jewish state were all parts of Jewish tradition found in the Zionist movement.
By the end of the 17th Century, the vast majority of the Jews in Europe were either religious or traditional. During the 18th Century an intellectual movement known as the Enlightenment began in Europe. This movement led Christians to more openness towards Jews. In the 19th Century European Jews responded to this movement by opening up to the larger Christian society. This process of opening up to modern Western ideas was referred to as the Jewish Enlightenment. Up to the end of the 19th Century, Judaism experienced a period of significant integreation into society. It was during the 19th Century that Jews in Western Europe were granted equal rights and for the first time since the rise of Christianity, Jews officially became equal citizens.
However, parallel with the Enlightenment, the movements of Romanticism and modern nationalism developed together and grew. Nationalism emerged from the Romantic belief that basic human identity came from the national identity that was the result of a shared language, history and homeland. This identity must be expressed in a state and for every nation there should be a state. The Jews saw themselves as a nationality but one with a religion that that Judaism instead of Christianity. And so the Jews of Central and Western Europe had seen themselves, in theory at least, as French, Germans, English and Hungarian who followed the religion of Moses. The rise of nationalism and the Romantic movement led to the image of Jews as a disaffected people without any real connection to the rising nationalist sentiment. Historian Zvi Graetz noticed the national character of Judaism and commented on it. The recognition of this nationalism enabled the emergence of Zionism led by philosophers such as Moses Hess, Yehuda Pinsker and Theodor Herzl. The recognition of Judaism as the basis for a national identity formed the foundation for the creation of the Zionist national movement, which in time led to the establishment of a Jewish national state.
The spirit of the Enlightenment and Learning did not reach Eastern Europe until the last decades of the 19th Century. The Jews of Eastern Europe also began a process of education and secularization although not as quickly as did the Jews of Central Europe. The people of Eastern Europe as a whole were more conservative (a result of the slower development of these countries and the greater power of the Church) and as a result the process of Jewish education among them was met with greater intolerance by Christian society. The resistance to the integration of Jews into society was expressed in the pogroms, the most prominent of which were the Storms of the South and the Kishinev pogram. Unlike the Jews of Central Europe, the Jews of Eastern Europe were not emancipated so they remained discriminated against by the law and harassed by the government. The outcome of this was that the educated Jews in Eastern Europe found it difficult to find a way to fit into the general society. A large part of the educated Jews participated in the Bund, a Jewish socialist organization that operated in Russia. Some left for Western countries in hopes of being more easily absorbed into society, especially the United States.
A massive migration out of Eastern Europe began in the 1870s that primarily flowed toward the United States. By the time of the First World War, the number of migrants had reached 35 million. The reason for the mass migration was the large increase in population (in Eastern Europe) and the great economic strain this caused. 2.5 million of the migrants were Jews who not only suffered from severe economic problems but also were subjected to anti-semitic abuse in Eastern Europe. It was only a minority of Jews who decided to emigrate to Eretz Israel (Palestine) in the waves of the First Aliyah (1881-1904) and the Second Aliyah (1904-1914).
The reasons for going to Eretz Israel were varied: Eretz Israel was close and not as expensive as traveling to the United States; the hope that it would be easier to adapt to the economy in Eretz Israel; religious longing - a large number of the migrants in the Frist and Second Aliyah were traditional or religious with a nationalistic and Zionist outlook. During these years, the Hibbat Zion movement was active in Romania and Russia, which encouraged both the revival of the Hebrew language and immigration to Eretz Israel. At the Katowice Conference in 1884, these movements were united into a large and open movement that in effect became the beginning of Zionism as a nationalistic political movement.
On 11 January 1882, the Focsani Congress met in Romania, the first Zionist conference which created the Central Committee for the Settlement of Eretz Israel and Syria, the first such body to organize migration to Eretz Israel. On 25 August 1882, the first ship carrying 220 migrants left the port of Galati in Romania to found the settlements of Rosh Pina and Zichron Ya'acov.
Most of the immigrants of the First Aliyah came from Eastern Europe - the territories of Russian (including Poland) and Romania; some 2,500 migrants also arrived in Israel from Yemen at this time.
There are some who recognize the beginning of Zionism as the preachers of Zionism. Historian and President of Israel, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi claims that the first of these was Rabbi Dr. Yehuda Bibas and his follower, Rabbi Yehuda ben Shlomo Hai Alkalai, who migrated to Jaffa in the mid-19th Century. There are also Eliyahu Gutmacher and Zvi Hirsch Kalisher.
5 Types of Zionism
Within the Zionist movement there were intellectuals who had different preferences for both the path and the destination that Zionism would need to pursue. In fact, the only common denominator was their desire to establish an independent state for the Jewish people with the rest of the enterprise, the place, character and system the points of dispute. It can be said that there were to main approaches the movement pursued:
- Political Zionism - led by Benjamin Ze'ev Herzl and Max Nordau. Political Zionism argued that negotiations should first be held between the major world powers to obtain a charter for Eretz Israel. Political Zionism believed that a state could be established only after receiving the consent of the nations of the world.
- Practical Zionism - led by Moshe Lilienblum and Yehuda Leib Pinsker. Prictical Zionism argued that immigration to Israel should begin immediately and settlement expedited even before a charter to the land could be achieved. The supporters of this approach emphasized the need for large-scale settlement in Eretz Israel to establish the basis for a national home.
Later, an approach was developed that attempted to combine the two:
- Syncretic Zionism - led by Chaim Weizmann, Leo Motzkin, Nahum Sokolov and Martin Buber. Those who supported this approach believed it was possible to combine the political activity of the Zionist movement with the practical activity, that is, the settlement and development of Eretz Israel.
Another split between the various movements stems from differences that are not specifically related to Zionism itself but to the overall world view held by the members:
- Socialist Zionism, led by Nachman Syrkin, Dov Bar Borochov, Chaim Arlosoroff and Berl Katznelson. According to this view, Zionism should combine the values of equality and productive work in the spirit of socialism.
- Revisionist Zionism - whose leader and founder was Ze'ev Jabotinsky.
- Spiritual Zionism - whose leader was Asher Zvi Ginsberg (Ahah Ha'am). Those who supported it believed that the country was not prepared for a mass migration so any migration had to be slow and gradual. Renewing the image of Judaism and the view of the Jewish community in Israel as the spiritual center of the Disapora was one of its main goals.
- Religious Zionism - led by Rabbi Yitzhak Jacob Reines, founder of the Mizrachi movement. The doctrine of Rabbi Kook by contrast, sought to separate Jewish nationalism from religion, and emphasized the Messianic and redemptive aspects of Zionism as the beginning of redemption.
5.1 Institutionalization of Zionism
In 1894, Theodor Herzl, a Viennese Jewish journalist, covered the Dreyfus Trial in France. During the trial he noticed that the French crowd and even the judges accused Dreyfus of treason in the absence of any real evidence. He felt that beneath the surface there was a deep hatred of Jews and that indicated to him that the Jews had no future in Europe. As a result, Herzl began to work for the establishment of a state for the Jewish people. Herzl was further influenced by the failure of the Emancipation to guarantee Jews true social equality and by the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian empire, where there were some 2 million Jews, and by the rise of racist nationalist movements and xenophobic hatred in its lands.
On 29 August 1897, with the leadership and drive of Herzl, the First Zionist Congress met and the World Zionist Organization was established. Most of the congressional delegates were from Eastern Europe because it was easier for the Jews of Western Europe to assimilate into society. Herzl, who was elected to head the Zionist Organization, continued his activities, discussed the goals of the organization with world leaders and wrote on the subject. Among his writing was the book, The Jewish State (Der Judenstaat). The First Zionist Congress was the first parliamentary meeting of the Zionist movement. This laid the foundation for all of the political systems of the Zionist movement and for the State of Israel. During the congress, democracy was established as a principle of the Zionist movement. It was also decided that voting would be for parties and not for individual representatives. This made it possible for every person to be represented in the Parliament, a value that is still preserved in the Knesset of the State of Israel.
The World Zionist Organization was established without any connection to the Katowice Conference, and Herzl at the beginning of his career was not even aware of Hovevei Zion. This conference was created with the aim of establishing a national home for the Jewish people but without firms plans of where it would be and when it would be created. Later, however, Hovevei Zion became part of the Zionist movement at the First Zionist Congress and was part of a relatively hawkish wing within the movement.
Herzl worked hard to promote the international image and press coverage of the Zionist movement. In contrast to previous migrations to Israel that tried to do so quietly and were sometimes blocked by the authorities, Herzl decided to take a different path: His goal was to first gain international legitimacy for Zionism based on recognition of the legitimate right of the Jewsih people to have their own state. This was the origin of the idea of political Zionism. To achieve this goal, Herzl first turned to the Ottoman Empire, to Kaiser Wilhelm II whom he had met during the Kaiser's visit to Jerusalem, and to the British and their Empire. His goal was finally realized with the Balfour Declaration. This statement recognized the Jewish National Home in Eretz Israel, and then the San Remo Conference did, and in 1947 the UN Parition Plan. As Herzl expected, the public awareness and international legitimacy the recognition granted helped him with all of the difficulties that Zionism encountered on its path to realization.
The Kishinev Riots (1905) prompted Herzl during the Sixth Zionist Congress to present the Uganda Plan to establish a colony of Jews in Uganda (currently the region is under the control of Kenya). However, the plan provoked many arguments.
At the Seventh Congress held in 1905, it was decided that the only land in which the Jewish state could be established would be Israel. The major effort to promote Eretz Israel as the location of the future state was led by the Zion Zionists headed by Menachem Ussishkin, Yechiel Chlenov and Shmaryahu Levin. One outcome of this decision was the Territorialists breaking off while the Zionist movement officially declared its new goal of establish a national home in Eretz Israel (Palestine). Having made the decision to focus in Eretz Israel, the Palestine Office המשרד הארצישראלי Ha'Mishrad Ha'Eretzisraeli (NB: the Eretz Israel Office) was established in 1908 headed by Arthur Ruppin and it was given the task of implementing the decision to create the national home.
5.2 Development of the Jewish Yishuv in Eretz Israel (Palestine)
The First Aliyah began in 1881 during which thousands of Jews from Eastern Europe and Yemen migrated. During the years of the Second Aliyah between 1903 and 1914, some 35,000 migrants went from Eastern Europe to Israel and by the end of the period some 10,000 to 13,000 remained. Only a small minority of the immigrants, some 1,000 to 1,500 people, were steeped in socialist-nationalism ideology. This group, despite their small numbers, exercised a great influence the Yishuv in Palestine/Eretz Israel. In terms of it demographic composition, the migration was largely a continuation of the First Aliyah. The vast majority of the immigrants came from Eastern Europe, primarily from the Pale of Settlement and Galicia, and a few came from Islamic countries. The immigrant population was for the most part not organized and consisted primarily of ordinary immigrants from traditional religious families (who came to find refuge from persecution and to improve their economic condition) while another factor was the historical religious connection to Eretz Israel (sometimes the main reason for their migration).
A small number of the members of the Second Aliyah were young and single, driven by socialist and Zionist ideals (pioneering and nationalism) and their spirit of youthful rebellion. This group of young socialists and Jewish nationalists was ready to sacrifice and determined to establish settlements in Eretz Israel. Many of them regarded the work of Eretz Israel as the most important. Although they spoke Yiddish or other European languages, the use of the Hebrew language was very important to them. Some were even willing to give up their privacy and their old values for the cause. These immigrants rebelled against the Jewish life in the Diaspora and wanted to create a "new society" and a "new man" in the land. This minority was the ideological elite of the Yishuv in Eretz Israel/Palestine, who would lead the Yishuv until the creation of the state of Israel and for years after that. For many years, the Second Aliyah had been identified with this elite but current research indicates that this group was a minority and was not representative of the others in the Second Aliyah. Among this group was David Ben-Gurion, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, Berl Katznelson and E.D. Gordon.
In 1917, the Zionist Organization succeeded in realizing Herzl's dream with the Balfour Declaration in which the United Kingdom declared its desire to establish a national home for the Jewish people in Eretz Israel. This declaration was approved by the League of Nations in 1920 within the framework of the Mandate given to the United Kingdom.
During the First World War the Russian Civil War broke out and during it the Jews suffered. After the British Army entered Palestine/Eretz Israel at the end of the war, the period of the Third Aliyah began during which 30,000 Jews settled in Palestine, most of them young. Some of the immigrants, including the pioneers, had syncretic ideologies that fused together Jewish tradition and religion, nationalism, socialism and communism. Shortly before this imiigration wave, the Hashomer Ha'tzair Youth Movement, which since the mid-1920s had been identified with the socialist left and even with communism was formed. The political wing of this movement prior to the establishment of the state, was the Ha'Shomer Hatzair Party and from 1948 onward it was represented by MAPA"M until it merged with Meretz.
The Mandate made it possible for the Jewish Agency to be setup in 1929 to oversee the construction of the national home. The Jewish Agency functioned as the leadership of the Yishuv in Eretz Israel and began to create the organizations that would serve the country in the future.
The immigrants of the Third Aliyah settled in moshavot and villages, not in the cities, they settled in new settlments such as the Jezreel Valley and Nahalal.
The reasons for the Fourth and Fifth Aliyah, which were mass migrations, were the economic pressures in Poland for the Fourth Aliyah, and the pressure exerted by the Nazis in Germany that started in 1932 and the transfer agreement between the Zionists and Nazi Germany in 1933.
These new additions were not ideological but more bourgeois in their values. The members of the Fourth Aliyah provided the driving forces behind the urban class. The members of the Fifth Aliyah, who came primarily from Germany, later made up the intellectual elite of the state. Influenced by liberal culture, their views were more Western and cosmopolitan. Among them were famous people whose influence is still felt today.
The Sixth Aliyah or illegal immigration, was the result of the Second World War and the extermination of the Jews by Germany. The exodus continued even with the end of the war. The various Jewish undergrounds encouraged this immigration and even organized day and night missions to smuggle the Jewish immigrants into Eretz Israel.
The Holocaust, which took place from 1939 to 1945, gave a great boost to the realization of Zionism. In 1942 the Zionist Organization declared the Biltmore Plan which was the first time that the ultimate goal of Zionism - the creation of a Jewish State - was officially declared in Eretz Israel (more precisely, the Jewish Commonwealth Yehudit ). The Biltmore Plan also implicitly accepted the principle of partition.
The illegal immigration was the result of events in Germany both before and especially during the Second World War and the Holocaust. A result of the Holocaust was a sharp increase in the pressure to immigrate as the plight of the Jews in Europe worsened. Among these problems was that of the displaced.
The suffering of the Jewish people during the Holocaust created a political climate for the UN Partition Resoltion in 1947 with the support of both the United States and the Soviet Union. Most of the Jews of Eretz Israel and the Zionist movement accepted the principle of a partition but the Arabs in Eretz Israel and the neighboring countries rejected it and went to war to prevent the creation of a Jewish state in any part of the historic Eretz Israel. In 1948 Zionism achieved its primary goal and the state of Israel was established andrecognized by most of the democratic nations of the United Nations: including the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Australia and most of the countries of Europe. The Arabs states on the other hand, refused to recognize Israel and declared war. This was which started in 1947, ended finally in 1949 with Israel gaining the upper hand. Israel emerged victorious from the War of Independence and expanded the area allocated to it in the Partition Plan but paid a heavy price with over 6,000 dead.
5.3 Development of the Zionist Political Types and the Institutions of the Yishuv
The Second Aliyah setup three main parties which united them ideologically. The parties was called Poalei Zion, the Non-partisan Group (who later joined the Ahdut Ha'avoda Party), and HaPoel HaTzair. These parties joined together into one primary party, the Eretz Israel Worker's Party (MAPA"I) which was the major force in the organized labor movement (together with smaller groups, particularly HaShomer HaTzair) within the Histadrut. The Histadrut and its groups, together with the international institutions of Zionism, were the main actors that enabled the organization and then the establishment of the Jewish state. Initially the bulk of the political power was concentrated in the Diaspora but when other parties developed in Israel their control faded and passed to the parties in Eretz Israel. In 1934 control of the Jewish Agency and the Yishuv passed to MAPA"I, led by David Ben-Gurion. From that time until the creation of the state in 1948, MAPA"I continued to lead the Yishuv. In 1924, the Revisionist party, led by Ze'ev Jabotinsky, was created. This party strongly supported the "Iron Wall" solution, establishing Hebrew power and separation from the Arabs. However, most of the organizing force belonged to the worker's praties. At the same time, the worker's parties established governmental bodies like the Histadrut, the HaMashbir and Solel Boneh.
5.4 Zionism After the Founding of the State of Israel
After the establishment of the state of Israel, further immigration was the result of several factors:
- A widespread recognition that the Jews of the Diaspora were not safe. This was true of the Jews in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union and the Arab countries. This became apparent to them in the wake of the Holocaust and subsequent anti-Semitic incidents. And also in the wake of anti-Jewish riots that were part of the Arab-Israeli conflict that culminated in the War of Independence.
- Efforts by the Israeli government to bring Jews to Israel such as by guaranteeing civil rights and providing financial assistance to immigrants, and also by sending envoys to negotiate with foreign governments, as well as sending planes and other means of transportation to transport Jews to Israel.
- There was a feeling among many Jews that a centuries-old hope was finally being fulfilled and they wanted to be a part of it.
In conclusion, the reason for the creation of a Jewish was a combination of the pressures the European society exerted on their Jewish population and the integration of the various strands of the Jewish people: national ideals, Marxist ideals and the prophecy of the ancient prophets that the people of Israel would return to Eretz Israel where they would create a kingdom of justice, laws and mercy. Zionism is a modern movement which relies on traditional ties to Eretz Israel and seeks to fashion a Jewish identity and international status for a Jewish nation-state in the historic homeland of the Jewish people.
6 Non-Jewish Zionists
The rationale and aims behind Zionism also found sympathy among the peoples of the world. Some of the non-Jewish Zionists, such as the Dutch journalist Pierre van Fassen, strongly supported the aims of Zionism and worked to help realize the creation of a Jewish state. Others like the British military man, Orde Charles Wingate, did so out of Christian religious motives because according to their religious beliefs they recognized the need to aid in the realization of Zionist dreams. Others did so out of simple identification with the suffering of the homeless Jews, the persecuted, the expelled and the scapegoats in times of distress. The non-Jews who supported Zionism did this in many ways, by contributing financially, particpating in the military struggles with political support and other forms of assistance.
7 Objectives and Achievements
The achievements are listed below in chronological order.
- 1 Making Hebrew a living language and establishing it as a Jewish national language.
- 2 The creation of secular, traditional and religious Jewish cultural centers in Eretz Israel.
- 3 Creating an alternative to the Jewish communities in Eastern Europe that were destroyed in the Holocaust (alongside similar communities created in America).
- 4 The creation of the state of Israel.
- 5 Bringing millions of Jews to Israel, primarily from Eastern Europe, North Africa and South America so that some forty percent of the world's Jewish population lives in Israel.
The question of whether Zionism achieved its goals is currently in dispute among all of the elements of the Zionist movement. The disagreements stem mainly from disagreements about the aims and relative importanceof Zionist goals.
The proponents who believe that Zionism has achieved its goals maintain that:
- 1 The goal of a Jewish state was achieved.
- 2 More than a third of the Jewish people currently live in Israel and in a few more years it is estimated that more than half of the world's Jews will be in Israel.
Those who disagree point to the following:
- Even after 100 years of Zionism, most Jews still do not live in Eretz Israel.
- The creation of the state of Israel was responsible for a very large increase in anti-semitism in the Arab world.
- The existence of Judaism is not guaranteed and cannot be guaranteed because the existence of the state of Israel is at higher risk than ever before.
- The state of Israel is not a "light unto the nations" but at best only a state like any other state.
8 Opposition to Zionism
There has been opposition to Zionism since its inception. At the beginning of Zionism the supporters represented only a minority of the Jews, but over time their influence increased. After the establishment of the state of Israel, most of the world's Jews define themselves as Zionists (NB: citation needed) although there are groups that view themselves as either non-Zionist or anti-Zionist for a variety of reasons.
The opposition of some religious, ethnic and religious to Zionism is based in part on their worldview. Their resistance to Zionism has a variety of sources:
- Opposition to the existence of a sovereign Jewish national entity in Eretz Israel.
- Opposition to the struggle of the Jews for an independent Jewish state (on religious grounds for example).
- A preference for political action to promote universal values over Zionism as the best choice for Jews.
Criticism comes from both Jews and other peoples.
The resistance to Zionism stems from a number of motives such as opposition (both within and outside of Israel) to the definition of Israel as a Jewish state, because that would discriminate against non-Jewish citizens or residents; religious opposition to the creation of a Jewish state that is not ruled by the Messiah; and opposition to Zionism for political reasons as part of a position on the situation in the Middle East. At the beginning of the 21st Century, anti-Zionism is often expressed outside of Israel as being anti-Israeli. It is also characterized by opposition to the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, a position that is shared by some of the internal opponents of Zionism, including the state of Israel itself which aspires to establish a state for all of its citizens.
|Group||Reason for Opposition|
|Other Jewish National Movements||In the 1880s movements sprung up in Eastern Europe that attempted to find alternative national solutions to the Jewish question. They were roughly divided between Autonomists and Territorialists. The various autonomist factions demanded recognition of the Jews as a national minority with a protected culture and collective political rights in their countries of origin, and had a strong affinity to the Yiddish language: they had significant achievements between the World Wars. Among the autonomists were the Folkists founded by Simon Dubnow, the Bundists who were drawn to socialism and the extreme Yiddishists in the Soviet Union. On the other hand, the territorialists demanded the emigration of Jews from Eastern Europe and the creation of a state or some form of autonomy overseas. The main group was the Jewish Territorialist Organization, headed by Israel Zangwill, which was part of Zionism until it rejected the Uganda Plan in 1903. The Territorialists proposed moving to Australia, South America or some other similar place. In 1935 they joined the Freeland League which continued to operate after the Holocaust to encourange Jewish emigration to Suriname until the project was finally abandoned in 1952. (NB: See http://www.yivoencyclopedia.org/article.aspx/Frayland-lige)|
|Integration into Western Countries||A rejection of Jewish nationalism, the concept of Judaism as a religion and not a nationality, they supported the integration of individual Jews into the liberal Western countries but only as a religious community. This approach was the foundation of Jewish emancipation in Western and Central Europe since the late 18th Century and was widely accepted by the Jewish populations there, of all beliefs and views. The growth of anti-Semitism during the 20th Century and the mass exodus of Jews with a nationalist outlook from Eastern Europe have done much to undermine this approach. It has largely been replaced by philanthropic Zionism, where Jews in liberal countries financially support the Jewish state to redirect waves of immigration by poor Jews who were likely to further inflame anti-semitic sentiments - but it also served as a alternate way for them to self-identify and provide cognitive stability given the weakening of their religious belief and their reliance on good relations with the majorities in their countries.|
|Harediot - the Ultra-Orthodox||From its beginning there were traditional Orthodox Jews in the Zionist movement. However, most of them rejected Zionism mainly because of their opposition to its secularism, but among the more extreme it was a matter of principle to oppose any attempt to end the Exile before the coming of the Messiah. There is the Midrash Aggadah which prohibits hurrying something up, in this case the coming of the age of the Messiah, with an attempt to bring salvation through human action, part of the Shavuot mentioned in the Gemara (the Talmud); when the very real possibility of mass emigration to Eretz Israel appeared, this issue was raised and the anti-Zionist groups regarded it as a very grave and final judgement. There were, however, ultra-Orthodox groups that did not object to the creation of a Jewish state when they testified before the Anglo-American Committee in 1946. The Eda Haredi (see: Edah HeCharedeidis Congregation of God-Fearers) and the Naturei Karta (see: Naturei Karta Guardians of the City) both express strong opposition to Zionism because it violates the religious character of the Jewish people and also oppose its desire to be a nation just "like all the other nations".|
|Canaaniot - the Canaanites||A group of secular Jews in Eretz Israel before the creation of the state and during its early years who called for a return to Hebrew roots and Hebrew culture based on the Bible. This group was most active during the 1940s and 1950s. (See: Canaanism)|
|Post-Zionism||There are two main streams: 1). While Zionism was correct for its time it is no longer relevant since its primary objectives have been achieved, therefore instead the emphasis should be put on creating a civil society in Israel that is egalitarian, just and peace loving. Special attention needs to be given to integrating the non-Jews who live in Israel into Israeli society. 2). Zionism is a form of colonialism that has done a grave injustice to both the Palestinians and the Mizrahi Jews (NB: Oriental and Middle Eastern Jews) and so it must be abandoned and Israel must change to become a state for all of its citizens based on humanistic priciples. Some of the post-Zionist leftists support the two-state solution while others support a single-state solution.|
|Group||Reason for Opposition|
|Palestinian National Movement||Driven by a desire to control all of Eretz Israel (Palestine) and not be subject to rule by others. Those who believe in a two-state solution, Palestine and Israel, want Israel to afford equality for its Arab citizens and refuse to accept the definition of Israel as a Jewish state.|
|Arab National Movement||Support the idea that the territory of Israel is part of the Arab national territory. Opposed to Israel on the grounds that it is a foreign intrusion into the Middle East, an extension of Western Imperialism.|
|Fundamentalist Islam||Believe that Eretz Israel (Palestine) is part of the lands of Islam. Since the state of Israel is on Muslim land the government must be a Muslim government. Jews can live there and maintain their religious beliefs provided that they agree to Islamic rule.|
|Communist and Anarchist Left||Opposed to the idea of nationalism in general and to Zionism in particular. Views Zionism as the most recent form of European colonialism.|
|Anti-Zionist Left||Believes that Zionism is yet another form of colonialism that has subjugated the Palestinians and supports the replacement of the current state of Israel with a state that represents all of its citizens.|
|Anti-Semites||Hatred of Jews and of Israel based on racism.|