Shivat Tzion- The Return To Zion
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1. You will gain some understanding of the history of modern political Zionism
2. You will begin to realize the hardships and challenges which faced the pioneers in
3. You will begin to understand that
This Chapter and You...
Introduction to Unit on
On May 14,1948, with the establishment of the State of Israel, the long exile of nearly 2,000 years came to an end. Although the Romans and those who followed them tried to eradicate every Jewish connection to
This yearning would never have been fulfilled if certain events were not set in motion over 50 years before the birth of the state. In 1897, in
Herzl was wrong. It took 51 years!
Political Zionism was born, stimulating wave after wave of Jewish immigration to
This chapter will help you understand the enormous contributions and sacrifices of those pioneering Jews who helped settle
"Im Tirzu aiyn zu agadah"
"If you will it, it is no dream"
What is Zionism?
Zionism is the modern expression of the ancient Jewish heritage.
Zionism is the national liberation movement of a people exiled from its historic homeland and dispersed among the nations of the world.
Zionism is the revival of an ancient language and culture, in which the vision of universal peace has been a central theme.
Zionism is the embodiment of unique pioneering spirit, of the dignity of labor and of enduring human values.
Zionism is creating a society, however imperfect it may still be, which tries to implement the highest ideals of democracy - political, social and cultural, for all the inhabitants of
Zionism is, in sum, the constant and unrelenting effort to realize the national and universal vision of the prophets of
Yigal Allon address the United Nations General Assembly in September 1975:
`Buber has written, "
1. Do you consider yourself a Zionist? Explain.
2. What is your own definition of Zionism?
Theodor Herzl, the founder of Modern Political Zionism, was born in 1860 in
Theodor Herzl - A Modern Moses
Excerpts from The Resurrection of
He was a Jew and therefore guilty....
In the press box, the
A few moments slip by. There is a deathly silence in the chamber. All eyes are fixed on the little door. Suddenly the accused appears. The stares focused on him are charged with extraordinary tension. Trim silhouette, erect, somewhat taller than average, tightly clinched into the elegant dark uniform of an artillery officer, with the three gold stripes of his rank on his sleeve, head bent, Dreyfus passes through the crowd of spectators, ascends the three steps to the defendant's seat, pauses in front of the Court, bows stiffly and briefly. When he takes his seat, I can clearly see his face. He looks ten years older than his actual age. They say this change took place during his imprisonment. His close-cropped hair is grizzled and beginning to retreat in premature baldness. His nose is definitely aquiline, ears prominent, face and chin well-shaved, the thick mustache is trimmed short, the mouth reveals his suffering. He wears pince-nez glasses. The demeanor of Dreyfus is calm and firm.
The name of the journalist who wrote this account was Theodor Herzl. He was born in
All the unleashed fury had been directed at Dreyfus. Had it been possible, the general public would have tarred him, quartered him, and subjected him to I know not what tortures. Why? These were no longer cries of revenge against a military betrayal, which, as a rule, hardly excites people in peace time. This angry outburst was of an entirely different nature, like the excesses of a mob or of a people in revolt. They did not disguise their accusations. They did not yell, "Down with Dreyfus!" but, "Down with the Jews!"
From the conservative right to the extreme left, one hears only a single cry: "Out with the Jews!" There is an atmosphere of unrest, and those who are primarily involved in this matter are blind and deaf. They keep saying it will blow over. To be sure, all this will blow over, but how?
It was then that Herzl, (the visionary prophet, conceived the idea that salvation could only come from
The Dreyfus trial represents more than just a miscarriage of justice. It expresses the wish of a great majority of the people of
I have been working for some time at a labor of incalculable size. I do not know yet whether I shall bring it to a successful conclusion. It looms like a gigantic dream. And yet for days and even weeks, it possesses me to the point of making me lose my mind. It is always with me, it hovers over banal conversations, it looks over my shoulder at this funny sort of journalistic work, it upsets me, it goes to my head....
This book was to become a fact. It was not a novel, but a vision, realistic and prophetic at the same time, of a Jewish state yet to be, conceived in all the details of its organization. It was not to be called The Promised Land, but The Jewish State.
1. Assume you were assigned today to cover a trial similar to the Dreyfus Trial. How would you react?
2. What would you do about these feelings?
3. How did Herzl react? Can you understand why?
4. Herzl went on to establish the modern Zionist Movement which culminated in the birth of the State of Israel. Is this an answer to the question: Can one man change the course of history? How could that apply to you?
This is a brief history of the Jewish resettlement of
Excerpts from: The Return to
There can be no doubt whatsoever that the re-establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 is one of the most important events in Jewish history. That a nation cut off - in the main - from its land for nearly two thousand years should regain its sovereignty is amazing enough. That it should do so immediately after suffering the worst disaster any people in recorded history has ever suffered and, from a military point of view, against overwhelming odds, compounds the astonishment and indeed awe that any spectator must feel. With good reason, many people, both Jews and gentiles, saw the hand of God in the miracle of 1948.
Still, it would be wrong to understand these events as though they occurred in a vacuum. Love of
The story of the Return is fascinating and exciting, and it is hardly possible to understand and evaluate the meaning of the State of Israel or what the Jews feel about it without knowing that story and the conditions in which it unfolded.
Zionism in its modern sense was born in August 1897, when the First Zionist Congress adopted Theodor Herzl's "Basel Program" which declared that "Zionism seeks to secure for the Jewish people a publicly recognized, legally secured home in
The Hibbat Zion Movement
Lilienblum Smolenkin became leader of Hibbat Zion ("Love of Zion"), a loosely organized movement of Hovevei Zion ("Lovers of Zion") societies in
The First Aliyah
Carrying their theories into practice, small groups of Hovevei Zion made their way to Eretz
These villages would have collapsed at the outset, however, had it not been for the aid extended to them by Baron Edmond de Rothschild of Paris, who had become active in Jewish affairs immediately after the pogroms of 1881.
The Old Yishuv
When the vanguard of the First Aliyah arrived in 1882 there were between 20,000 and 25,000 Jews in the country, two-thirds of whom lived in
The great majority of the old "yishuv" were strictly Orthodox and accepted the authority of the rabbis, who were opposed to all modern trends and resisted the winds of change that were blowing in from Europe. The help of Jewish philanthropists abroad was readily accepted so long as it did not involve any change in the traditional way of life: attempts to establish modern schools and to train Jews for productive employment in agriculture and handicrafts was met with fierce resistance by the leaders of the "halukkah" regime. Nevertheless, even among the "old `yishuv'" (as the pre-Zionist Jewish community came to be called), there were those - including the editors of the first newspapers published in
The Second Aliyah
The first impetus for the new wave of immigration - which lasted till the outbreak of World War I and is known as the Second Aliyah - came from the
It was this new society - this workers' commonwealth - that the young immigrants of the Second Aliyah wished to build. To correct the lop-sided occupational structure of the Jews they came up with the concept of "kibbush ha-avodah" (the "conquest of labor"), meaning that the Jews themselves would carry out all the economic tasks necessary for the functioning of their new society. This ideal was linked with that of "halutziyyut" (pioneering), which inspired the individual not only to support the national revival but to be ready himself to settle in the homeland as a "halutz," or pioneer, prepared to do any kind of work, however arduous, unaccustomed or dangerous, that might be required at the time, to build this new national society.
The Emergence of the Kibbutz
The early "kevutzot" had small memberships based upon the idea that the community should be small enough to constitute a kind of enlarged family. After World War I, when larger numbers of pioneers arrived, larger communal villages, combining agriculture with industry, were founded, for which the name "kibbutz" was used. Today, however, the distinction between the two terms has all but disappeared. By 1914 there were 11 "kevutzot" established on Jewish National Fund land under the responsibility of the Zionist Organization, and the number grew to 29 by the end of 1918.
The "kevutzah," or kibbutz, is a voluntary collective community, mainly agricultural, in which there is no private wealth and which is responsible for all the needs of the members and their families.
Not all of the Second Aliyah immigrants worked on the land. Some of them joined the old "yishuv" and settled in the four "holy cities," especially in
The pioneers of the Second Aliyah brought with them high standards of Jewish and general culture, lofty ideals, and a deep conviction that ideals are proved only through living by them. Included in its numbers were several leading personalities, who were destined to be future leaders in the State of Israel.
Effect of World War
World War I had a disastrous effect on the "yishuv" and brought the Second Aliyah to an end. In the first three years of the war,
On October 31, 1917 the British opened an unexpected offensive and took Beersheva, going on to
The Balfour Declaration
On November 2, 1917, Balfour issued the famous letter to Lord Rothschild which has since become known as the Balfour Declaration. It read as follows:
His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
The Declaration was approved on April 24, 1920, at the Allies' conference at
The impact of the Balfour Declaration on Jewish public opinion was immediate, and enthusiasm spontaneous. In many countries there were huge demonstrations displaying the Union Jack side by side with the Zionist flag. For the first time since the Dispersion a great power had given official recognition to the Jewish people's claim to Eretz
The Jewish State in the Making
The outbreak of the war in 1914 had brought the Second Aliyah to an end; when immigration resumed in 1919 the world was a very different one. The Czarist regime had been overthrown in
The Third Aliyah
Many of the immigrants of the Third Aliyah (1919-23) were members of Zionist- Socialist youth organizations. On the whole, they came better prepared than their pre-war predecessors. Many had undergone agricultural training, they spoke Hebrew better than the Second Aliyah pioneers, and they came in organized groups.
The "halutzim", then, were the leading element in the Third Aliyah. They did not merely find their places in the existing economic and social structure; they were a creative force, which transformed the character of the "yishuv" and played a prominent part in its leadership. Golda Meir was part of the Third Aliyah and so were Eliezer Kaplan, Meir Ya'ari,
In all, the Third Aliyah brought in some 35,000 immigrants, almost nine-tenths of them from
The Fourth Aliyah
Whereas there were many similarities between the Third Aliyah and the Second, the Fourth Aliyah (1924-28) was quite different in social composition from all of its predecessors. Mainly because of the ban on emigration from Soviet Russia there was a drop in the influx of "halutzim." On the other hand, there was a rise in the immigration of storekeepers and artisans, mostly from
1. According to this article, what was an "Aliyah"? How many were there? Who arrived in
2. What was Hibbat Zion?
3. What was the Balfour Declaration
4. List the hardships faced by early settlers in
The following dates mirror the previous narrative concerning the Jewish return to
A State in the Making: 1838-1948
1838 Moses Montefiore proposes founding a Jewish state.
1854 Jewish Hospital established in
1861 Mishkenot Sha-ananim, first neighborhood outside
1863 First Hebrew periodical, Havaselet, published.
1878 Petah Tikvah, founded by Jews from Old City of Jerusalem.
1887 Baron Edmond de Rothschild establishes Zichron Yaacov.
1894 Dreyfus trial spurs Theodor Herzl to formulate political Zionism.
1895 Herzl publishes Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State).
1897 World Zionist Organization (WZO), founded at First Zionist Congress convened by Herzl in
1903 Offer by
1904 Second Aliyah begins, mainly from
1906 First Hebrew high school established in Jaffa.Bezalel School of Arts and Design opens in
1909 Degania, first kibbutz, founded on shores of Lake Kinneret.Tel Aviv, first modern Jewish city, established north of Jaffa.Jewish self-defense movement, Hashomer (The Watchman), is organized.
1914 World War I begins;
1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement, secret British-French pact for division of Holy Land, excludesarea west of Jordan River from Arab independence.
1917 Balfour Declaration pledges British support for establishment of "Jewish national home in
1919 Weismann-Feisal Agreement accords mutual recognition of Jewish and Arab rights in Palestine.Third Aliyah begins, mainly from
1920 Mandate for
1921 Emir Abdullah of Hejaz invades TransJordan and is established as its ruler by
1922 League of Nations, "recognizing...the historical connection of the Jewish people with
1924 Technion-Israel Institute of Technology opens in Haifa.Fourth Aliyah begins, primarily from
1929 Arab militants perpetrate massacre of Jews in
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