Table of Contents
Roots and Precursors
The Roots of ZionismPolitical Zionism
Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Kalischer
The Chovevei Tzion Movement
Supporters of Colonization
Notable Figures in the Early Zionist Movement
The Zionist Organization
Zionism in Action
Chaim Weizmann & the Balfour DeclarationThe Government of the State of Israel
The British Mandate
Ben-Gurion & Independence
The Political PartiesJewish Opposition to Zionism
Non-Messianic Religious Zionism
Messianic Religious ZionismZionism Today
This booklet grew out of materials that I prepared for a class on Zionism given in a Modern Orthodox Jewish day school. The material was designed to be covered in five sessions, each covering one of the major sections, “Roots and Precursors”, “Political Zionism”, “Zionism in Action”, “The Israeli Government”, and “Religious Zionism.”
A number of important changes have been made in the material in preparation for publication. Among these was an attempt to raise the level of the material to one more appropriate for adult readers. Nevertheless, it must be confessed that the material still has much of the didactic tone of classroom curriculum materials. I hope that readers will not find this off-putting.
One of the difficulties I faced while compiling this material is that I am not myself a Zionist (in the political sense). In principle, of course, this should not be a problem. Facts are facts! Human nature being what it is, however, I had to be very careful not to let my personal ideological position improperly color my presentation of the subject.
In preparing this material for publication, I felt that it was necessary to include a section on traditional Jewish opposition to Zionism. Not only is this important and relevant information in its own right, it also provides essential context to the positions taken by religious Zionism.
I have ended my discussion of the history of the Zionist movement with the founding of the State of Israel. Although, of course, Zionism continues to exist to this day, the nature of the movement fundamentally changed with the founding of the state. It is critically important to understand that the meaning of the term “Zionism” has evolved, and today is often used to mean simply that one is concerned about the continued well-being and security of the State of Israel. In this booklet I use the term in its original sense, to refer to the movement to establish a secular Jewish homeland in the land of Israel.
It is my hope that this small booklet will provide, in an easily accessible manner, some of the essential context and background information that is often missing in many discussions of this topic in the press.