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|Author: Simon Herman|
Zionism is more than the expression of a positive attitude to Israel and it also connotes more than Aliyah. Zionist ideology represents an all-encompassing approach to the problems of the Jewish People.
While the wound inflicted by the holocaust can never be healed, the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 reinvigorated a people which might have otherwise remained broken and demoralized. No Jew can remain impervious to the existence of the Jewish state; he is inevitably required to take up a stand. Support for Israel is widespread throughout the Jewish world; on no other issue is there a broader consensus. The question that needs to be asked is whether and to what extent this pro-Israel sentiment is integrated into a Zionist ideology, for on this depends, in our view, the depth of its influence on the identity of the Jew and on the quality of Jewish life everywhere. Zionism means more than pro-Israel support in the diaspora and more than Israeli patriotism in Israel.
Zionism was for many years the guiding, inspiring idea in Jewish life, even though only a minority of Jews were affiliated with Zionist organizations. It united a dispersed people in pursuit of a common goal, canalized their energies and served as a beacon of hope across years of travail. The establishment of the State of Israel was a triumph for Zionism. Some saw it, indeed, as the fulfillment of Zionist aspirations, but others understood that this was just a step -albeit a most important one -along the road to Jewish redemption.
The dramatic quality of the upbuilding of the Jewish State in the face of constant attack from its Arab neighbors, the magnitude of the task of the ingathering of the exiles, have made the State the focus of attention. An understandable anxiety not to antagonize the non-Zionist circles which extend their support to Israel (in fundraising campaigns and otherwise) has caused Zionists to slur over ideological issues, and to present Zionism as little more than a safely non-controversial pro-Israelism.
With the exacerbation of the Arab Israeli conflict Zionism has increasingly become the object of a fierce onslaught from the foes of Israel and of the Jewish people. When in November 1975 a majority in the General Assembly of the United Nations, composed of the Arab and Soviet blocs and including a number of African and South American states, passed a resolution stigmatizing Zionism as "racist", Jews everywhere saw the attack on Zionism as directed against the Jewish people, against the very existence of Israel, and against the essence of their Jewish being. There was an impressive demonstration everywhere of support for Zionism. At the same time, while the word Zionism is more freely invoked than ever before, the sentiments which were aroused could be described as pro-Israel rather than as reflections of a renewed interest in Zionist ideology. Such pro-Israel sentiment is important in itself, but much of the enthusiastic support may evaporate unless it takes the more enduring form of a clear Zionist ideological commitment.
In the face of the anti-Zionist onslaught attention is being properly given to the exposition which is best when it is un-apologetic of the true nature of Zionism for those who are prepared to listen, in non-Jewish as well as Jewish circles. Our concern in this analysis is with Zionism as a specific expression of Jewish identity, with its role from the internal Jewish standpoint what contribution it can make in providing coherence and direction to contemporary Jewish life, particularly in period of stress and confusion.
The classical Zionist theories of Pinsker, Herzl, Ahad Ha'am and others were based on an analysis of the Jewish situation of their time and had special pertinence to the countries of Europe in which the bulk of Jewry was located. The developments in Jewish life have confirmed the validity of their basic theses, and much of what they wrote still applies to the Jewish condition. But cognizance has also to be taken of major transformations in that condition. While maintaining its fundamental principles, Zionism has to adapt itself to meet the changing Jewish needs. Otherwise it will become an abstract, outdated ideology unrelated to the fate and future of the Jewish people. The holocaust, the demographic shift to new centers in the West, the establishment of the State of Israel -all these render essential a continuing process of reinterpretation.
In this process of reinterpretation Zionism also cannot ignore the ideologies in the world around it which now impinge on Jewish life. In relation to some of these ideologies it will need to show how and why it differs, in relation to others it may show how it accords. Just as it should not fear to do battle where it differs, so where it accords it should not fail to indicate the peculiarly Jewish quality which enters into its own ideology. Thus, in keeping with the temper of the times, Zionism is nowadays frequently described as a movement of national self-liberation. It is such a movement, but a simplistic equation of it with other similar movements in the contemporary world is misleading if there is no reference to its special distinguishing features the persistent longings and strivings of a dispersed people across centuries to return to a homeland from which it saw itself as exiled, the way in which the relationship to a distant homeland became part of the very texture of Jewish life. It is also a movement which has to Israel a center of concern, although in a way different from that which Ahad Ha'am predicted. This process has, however, charged American Jewish life with a sense of responsibility for Israel, and has often made Israel the substance of Jewish program and activity." This statement seems to us to summarize the nature of the relationship of a large section of American Jewry to Israel. It is pro-Israelism, but not Zionism.
There is no comprehensive study of the attitudes to Israel and Zionism of a representative sample of the American Jewish community. Such empirical studies as have been conducted on specific sectors of the population show that the great majority support Israel, but only a minority designate themselves as Zionists and only a very small number are prepared to consider settlement in Israel.
David Sidorsky has expressed the position as follows: "Support of Israel in a non-ideological way, that is, without a philosophy of Jewish history or a coherent set of principles but with a sense of moral purpose and pragmatic policies, has become a major aspect of the American Jewish consensus. The obvious question to put to the thesis is whether the distinction between a pro-Israel consensus and a Zionist ideology is a distinction without a difference."
The Difference Between Zionism and Pro-lsraelism
What is the difference between pro-Israelism and a Zionist ideology?
It is often maintained that the difference between the pro-Israel Jew and the Zionist is to be found in the latter's decision to immigrate to Israel. In the minds of many, Zionism and aliya (immigration) are coterminous. But while the decision to immigrate represents the apex of a Zionist development, it does not exhaust the scope of a Zionist ideology. Nor is every oleh (immigrant to' Israel) a Zionist. There are cases where this practical step may be taken for reasons unconnected with Zionist ideology. Moreover, while the recognition of the central role of aliya and the obligation to encourage it are essential elements in a Zionist ideology, it is debatable whether the term "Zionist" should be limited as was urged at one time by David Ben Gurion and by others only to those who feel themselves personally obligated to immigrate. In the case of American Jewry (and, indeed, in regard to most Jewries in the western world) it would mean that only a small fraction of the community would be entitled to titled to call themselves Zionists. There seems to us to be cogency to the argument that the appellation Zionist should be accorded also to those who when joining a Zionist organization are still at the beginning of a process which may eventually lead to a fuller acceptance of a Zionist ideology and to aliya.
Our submission, then, is that Zionism is more than the expression of a positive attitude to Israel (although, of course, it is this too), and it also connotes more than aliya (although aliya occupies a central position in the Zionist conception). The view we are advancing is that a Zionist ideology represents an all-encompassing approach to the problems of the Jewish people. Presented in these terms Zionism is more likely to be seen by Jewish communities everywhere as designed to meet their needs. We would contend that a Zionism of this kind could give direction to Jewish life, could result in increased support for, and heightened involvement in, Israel, and could ultimately lead to an increased aliya.
We shall seek to elaborate the constituent elements of such a Zionist ideology on the basis of a reading of the writings of Zionist thinkers and the resolutions of the Zionist congresses, the supreme legislative body of the World Zionist Organization. The analysis of the ideological issues and of the validity of differing viewpoints will inevitably reflect the particular Zionist bias of the author. In recent years social scientists have given increased attention in their studies to the place of Israel in Jewish life, but there has been little reference to the role of Zionist ideology. And so the social-psychological analysis we undertake moves in what is largely an uncharted field.
The essential constituents of a Zionist program are contained to a large extent, although not in completeness, in the resolution of the Zionist Congress held in Jerusalem in 1968. This resolution, termed the Jerusalem Program, states the aims of Zionism as follows:
The unity of the Jewish people and the centrality of the State of Israel in Jewish life;
The ingathering of the Jewish people in its historic homeland, Eretz Yisrael, through aliya from all countries;
The strengthening of the State of Israel which is based on the prophetic vision of justice and peace;
The preservation of the identity of the Jewish people through the fostering of
Jewish and Hebrew education and of Jewish spiritual and cultural values;
The protection of Jewish rights everywhere.
The propositions stated in this form are likely to be acceptable to a large section of the Jewish people. There is need, however, to spell out and amplify the ideological implications of these elements as part of an overall approach to contemporary Jewry. Indeed, it is necessary to stress that what characterizes Zionist ideology is not anyone of the elements in isolation but the combination of these elements integrated into a comprehensive view of Jewish life. Such elaboration and amplification would reveal that there are ideological issues in regard to which both con fusion of thought and differences of opinion exist.
The Zionist movement allows for the different religious, social, and political emphases reflected in the programs of the political parties which function within its framework. We shall seek to distil what seems to us to be the essence of a Zionist approach without entering into the various emphases, important though they be.
Elements of a Zionist Ideology
(1) One people with common history and destiny. Basic to a Zionist view is the affirmation of Jewish peoplehood; it sees Jews as one people, bound together by a common history and destiny.
The recognition of the unity of the Jewish people engenders a sense of mutual responsibility and paves the way for an understanding by Jews of the need for united action. It becomes the task of Zionists to show that the Zionist program represents the most effective form of such concerted action.
(2) Israel as the Jewish national center. Zionism has differed from other movements (such as diaspora nationalism) affirming Jewish peoplehood in that it regards Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, as the Jewish national center. It seeks equality of national status for the Jew through the establishment of Israel as the Jewish State. (The anti-Semitic part of the world denies to the Jewish collective in Israel the equality which it formerly denied the individual Jew.
(3) The precariousness of Galut. Zion ism looks at Jewish minority existence in the diaspora in terms of galut, exile. Galut has been the condition characterizing Jewish life for a large part of Jewish history and it is a term laden with many associations and meanings. Our use of it here is in accord with the following two definitions taken together: "Galut is the distance of a collective from its home land; it is marked by a lack of objective possibilities to shape the collective life of a collective unit, to the extent such a shape is humanly possible," and "Where ever Jews live as a minority, where they are not politically or socially independent, where they rely on the good graces of the non-Jewish majority and are subject to the everyday pressures of its civilization and mode of life, such a place is galut."
In this sense all Jewish communities out side of Israel are in galut. But there are gradations to galut. A Zionist approach .I attuned to the realities of contemporary Jewish existence needs to differentiate between the problems of the Jewish minority in a democratic, pluralistic society such as that of the U.S.A. and between the long nightmare of persecutions and expulsions which was the lot of Jews in so many countries in Europe and the Middle East the same time, Zionism, while drawing, a distinction between parts of the galut, underlines the features common to all the parts: the dependence on the good graces of the non-Jewish majority and the erosion of Jewish identity through assimilation into the majority culture.
While the Jerusalem Program explicitly affirms the unity of the Jewish people a proposition which is widely accepted even by many non-Zionists it makes no reference to the issue of exile. The concept of galut is not only unacceptable to non-Zionists but is also a source of controversy among Zionists themselves, more particularly in the United States. The non-Zionists generally are anxious to avoid a concept which is seen by them to question their "at homeness" in America and they wish to stress the differences rather than the communalities between their position in the free world and the condition of Jews in lands where they are subject to persecution or the grosser forms of discrimination. On the part of a number of American Zionists, too, there has been a reluctance to think of their community as part of galut and they have argued for the use of the term tfutzot, dispersion.
The Zionists who do subscribe to the conception of galut differ in regard to the policy to be followed in relation to it. One section urges a radical approach that galut should be "liquidated" as speedily as possible and all Jews be urged to proceed to Israel. Among the Zionists in this category are those who "negate" the exile shlilat hagalut) to the extent of derogating efforts to stimulate local Jewish activity d at times (much less so now than in he earlier years) expressing contempt for many of the manifestations of Jewish life n the galut. Other Zionists, while they are aware of the precariousness of the Jewish minority condition, hold the view that the galut will continue to exist for many years to come, and maintain that the encouragement of aliya and the strengthening of the Jewish identity of Jewish communities everywhere should proceed hand in hand. It would seem that the latter is now the prevailing view, and we shall later discuss its implications.
(4) Aliya. The encouragement of aliya is the primary task of a Zionist move ment; it seeks to remove from the galut and gather into Israel as large a part as is possible of the Jewish people. A goal of this kind, challengingly difficult but attain able, involving so radical a transformation in the life of an individual, is what gives Zionism its peculiar dynamic quality as a movement and this it can do even in American society where popular, self-propelling movements do not easily arise.
(5) Continuity and change. In its political expression Zionism represents the great revolution in Jewish life the liberation from the shackles of diaspora existence and the active reshaping of the Jewish condition. It is the essence of the Zionist credo that Jews themselves can and should control their destiny.
At the same time Zionism reflects continuity as well as change. Only when it is presented as part of the broad stream of Jewish history and tradition can there be a full comprehension of its cultural and spiritual dimensions.
Representing as it does a crystallization of longings and strivings rooted deep in the historic consciousness of the Jewish people, it has the capacity to generate forces which it could not easily arouse if it were merely an exotic growth or a strange new phenomenon.
The strength of Zionism lies precisely in the fact that it represents a balance between a past, present, and future orientation to the condition of the Jewish people. A program which is ostensibly Zionist but does not maintain this balance is of questionable depth and durability. This may, in part, account for the transient nature of some of the Zionist groups which appeared on the American campus in re cent years. While the radical student revolt found some Jewish students in the ranks of the anti-Zionist New Left, others sought to develop Zionist conception adapted to the social and political temper of their generation. The weakness in the Zionism they advocated arose in man instances from the excessive present-orientedness which these students shared in common with other sectors of radical youth.
(6) Land and people. Israel is so much at the core of Zionism that a wide-spread tendency exists to define Zionism as the upbuilding of the Jewish State. This results in a confusion about the aims of Zionism which it is important to avoid. The upbuilding of the State has to be seen as only the means, albeit the indispensable means, to the achievement of a goal which relates to the Jewish people in its entirety. It is then more clearly under stood that Zionism is concerned with the fate of Jews everywhere, and a particular community appreciates that Zionism relates also to it and not just to other Jews.
While Zionism exposes, as we have noted, the limitations of Jewish life in the galut, it has to take into account the fact that, even with an increased rate of aliya, considerable sections of the Jewish people are likely to, remain in the diaspora in the foreseeable future. Not only have they to be aided in the protection of their rights and this the Zionist movement in the Jerusalem Program explicitly undertakes to do but the communities remaining in the diaspora have to be stimulated into the active expression of their Jewishness in whatever form the circumstances permit.
The issue is clarified by focusing attention on the ultimate aim of Zionism, which may be broadly defined as the redemption, geulah, of the Jewish people. This in the Zionist view means that as many Jews as possible should settle in the Jewish homeland, and it may also entail a complete exodus of Jews from countries in which danger threatens. But in so proposing Zionism is concerned with the whole without overlooking any of the parts, and from the very nature of these aims it cannot neglect any Jewish community anywhere.
A Zionist conception must accordingly seek to present land and people in proper perspective; it constantly has to keep within its vision the people for whose sake the land is being built. It mobilizes a Jewish community for action not on a philanthropic basis but as an interdependent part of the Jewish people engaged in a task which relates to the welfare of all its parts.
In terms of such a Zionist approach there is no balancing up as do some non-Zionists and anti-Zionists of the amount of support extended to Israel lest it diminish support for the institutions of the particular diaspora community. A community cannot be "overcommitted to Israel." In a community acting in terms of this Zionist conception dynamic forces are liberated, invigorating all phases of its life; while it extends more support to Israel, it also gives more attention to Jewish education and to community organization.
We would submit that a close and mutually fructifying Israel-Diaspora relationship can most readily develop if it is based on the conception of one Jewish world of which all the Jewish communities are interlocking, interdependent parts. Israel and the diaspora are often needlessly juxtaposed in a way which undermines this conception of one Jewish people and one Jewish world. At the same time, the conception of one Jewish world should not obscure but rather project into proper perspective the special status and quality of that part of it which is the Jewish state.
(7) Pertinence to all facets of communal life. To see Zionism merely in a general way as affecting the Jewish future is not enough. It has to enter into a number of regions central to the life of a Jew, wherever he may be; it has to result in more than just a peripheral involvement of the Jew. Insufficient attention has been given to spelling out the implications of Zionism for the problems which agitate the Jew of our day in the free countries. It can be shown to have an approach to the problems of Jewish education, to the organization of the Jewish community, to the fight against assimilation on the one hand and against antisemitism on the other; it introduces a staunchness and a dignity into the life of the Jew. Such a "holistic" Zionism would be felt by the Jew to be deeply meaningful, and not just an easily discardable appendage to his life.
Many Zionists do play a part in the life of the community, but the form of their participation in its activities often does not differ from that of the non-Zionists. What is important here is whether they participate as Zionists who bring a Zionist approach to bear on the problems of the community.
It should become the task of those students of Zionism who regard it as more than pro-Israelism to elaborate the Zionist approach in the various areas of Jewish life. We shall here briefly indicate the direction in which a Zionist approach points in two such areas the cultural life of the community and its fight against anti-Semitism.
a) Cultural Distinctiveness
Zionism represents a proud, unabashed expression of a Jewish identity, a readiness to be different. In accord with its concern for the creative survival of the Jewish people, Zionism stimulates the cultural distinctiveness of the Jewish community. One of the clearest expressions of this distinctiveness is the use of Hebrew, which has become the symbol of the Jewish national revival. Quite apart from what the possession of a national tongue does to break down barriers between Jews everywhere, and what it does to provide Jews with a key to the storehouses of their history and literature, it is a bond between the Jew and the center of Jewish life which is Israel.
The absence of a common Jewish language limits the communication that should take place between all sectors of the Jewish world. Since the holocaust the role of Yiddish, at one time a major unifying language, has tragically declined; the role of Ladino is limited as well. The revival of Hebrew as a living language was a major Zionist achievement but. while it is now taught everywhere in the diaspora, only a small number of Jews acquire an adequate reading and speaking knowledge of Hebrew. American Jewry, largest of the Jewish communities, is unilingual. The closer linking together of Jews everywhere requires that Hebrew become the second language of Jews in the diaspora, and this needs to be a major goal even if one difficult to attain of a Jewish education seeking to play its part in fostering the conception of one Jewish people and of one Jewish world.
So, too, Zionists acting in terms of a Zionist approach are more likely than others to encourage the intensive forms of Jewish education. This generally means the establishment of Jewish day schools and the development of a curriculum which gives the desired attention to the teaching of Hebrew, to the role of Israel in Jewish life, and to the condition of Jewish communities in all parts of the world. Zionists will also foster the growing recognition that a Jewish education in the diaspora is in complete unless complemented by a study visit to Israel.
b) The Fight Against Anti-Semitism
Zionism looks at anti-Semitism in the perspective of Jewish history and recognizes that there can be no comprehension of the roots of this endemic hatred unless there is reference to the historical background. In terms of this perspective a Zionist approach, while not ignoring local variations, sees anti-Semitism in any community as part of a problem transcending boundaries of time and space. In contradistinction to the Zionist viewpoint non-Zionists in the free societies are more likely to regard anti-Semitism in their country as a local aberration differing in kind from anti-Semitism elsewhere and amenable to solution by appropriate measures in the field of inter-personal relations.
It is precisely because of their under standing of the deeper roots of anti-Semitism that Zionists are less prone than non-Zionists to make the refutation of any and every anti-Semitic allegation a main item in the agenda of Jewish life. When they engage in the fight against anti-Semitism or other forms of prejudice, they are more likely than non-Zionists to boldly assert their role as members of the Jewish group and will be readier to cooperate as a Jewish group with other groups on the basis of the common interests involved. Their stance in the fight against anti-Semitism is upstanding and unapologetic, and they are less likely than non-Zionists to attribute anti-Semitism to Jewish behavior or characteristics.
Psychologically Zionism adds a dimension to the Jewish self which enables Jews to meet the non-Jew on a basis of equality. There was unevenness in the encounter as long as the Jewish group was a home Jess entity unequal among peoples. It was to this change in the stature of the Jew that a Zionist leader referred when he observed to a non-Jewish colleague, "Zion ism is that which enables me, a Jew, to speak to you, a non-Jew, as man to man"1 In recent years there has been confusion about how the establishment of a Jewish state has affected anti-Semitism, and in the reinterpretation of Zionism this issue needs to be clarified. The establishment of the Jewish State did not, as some had hoped, put an end to anti-Semitism; it may have changed the stereotype, the perception, of the Jew in some Gentile minds, but it did not eradicate the feeling component, their hatred of the Jew. Indeed, anti-Semitism has found a new focus an attack on the collective existence of the Jew in Israel. Physical dangers still confront the Jew in Israel; what the Jewish state has accomplished is to radically alter the condition in which the Jew faces up to any attack. He is not a member of a dependent minority subject to the whims and caprices of a non-Jewish majority, but is part of a Jewish majority actively determining its own mode of life and shaping its own destiny.
Facing up to Conflict
A Zionism of the sort we have outlined, boldly facing up to the issues in Jewish life, is bound to sharpen opposition in certain quarters. There is no merit in stirring up unnecessary controversy, but at crucial points Zionism dare not avoid taking a stand. Such ideological conflict is not dysfunctional; on the contrary, it clarifies the issues, defines the lines of battle, and strengthens the dedication of adherents to a cause. Developing a series of propositions originally propounded by the sociologist, Georg Simmel, Lewis Coser has drawn attention to the social functions of conflict. "Internal social conflicts which concern goals, values, or interests that do not contradict the basic assumptions upon which the relationship is founded tend to be positively functional for social structure. Such conflicts tend to make possible the readjustment of norms and power relations within groups in accordance with the felt needs of its individual members or sub-groups. In addition, conflict within a group frequently helps to revitalize existent norms; or it contributes to the emergence of new norms. In this sense, social conflict is a mechanism for adjustment of norms adequate to new conditions."
While nothing is gained from an unduly vociferous, strident militancy, a silence on the crucial Jewish issues, because of fear lest they become sources of conflict, is distinctly harmful. Such an approach drains Zionism of its vitality, and is a disservice to Jewish life. Assimilation in its many insidious guises is all the more dangerous in our days because there is often no head on collision between it and Zionism.
Un-Zionist trends of thought which have developed among Jewish communities, particularly in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War, make imperative the clear enunciation of fundamental Zionist principles. These un-Zionist attitudes often appear in circles which are genuinely pro Israel.
Since the Yom Kippur War many Jews have become perturbed by the apparent vulnerability of Israel and its dependence on the U.S.A. There is a tendency to think of Israel as "another Jewish community in need of aid." While Israel does indeed require support in the task which it has undertaken on behalf of the entire Jewish people, it is necessary to stress the differences between the situation of the sovereign Jewish state beset with grave difficulties but shaping its own future and between the situation of dependence in which a Jewish minority finds itself in the diaspora.
The term "holocaust" (in Hebrew, Sho'ah) is increasingly extended to apply to a contingency which could develop in Israel. Here again, while the apprehension of Jews is understandable, it is important to avoid the confusion of thought which such an extension of the term "holocaust" reflects. There is a clear distinction between the danger confronting Israel and the position in which European Jewry found itself or the position in which a defenseless Jewish minority threatened with destruction might again find itself. The Jewish state faces grave perils and it has no illusions about the intentions of its enemies. It is not, however, in the position of being helplessly subject to' the male violence of a non-Jewish majority; it is precisely such a situation which the Jewish state was set up to avoid.
While the consciousness of interdependence brings with it a sense of mutual responsibility among Jews throughout the. world, these responsibilities need to be more clearly defined. The failure to understand the extent of the responsibility is evidenced by the form in which some Jews in the diaspora criticize "the quality of life" in Israel. Israel aspires to develop a just, liberal, democratic Jewish society but it still falls far short of being a society of this kind. Many deficiencies are to a large extent reflections of the social ailments which the various groups who comprise Israel's population have brought with them from their countries of origin just as some of the meritorious qualities reflect the contributions of those groups. It is in deed something of a miracle that an Israel composed of these variegated strands has been able to achieve as much as it has. For Jews to say, as some do, "we would like to settle in Israel but are deterred by the quality of life in Israel" reflects a fundamentally un-Zionist approach and a failure to understand that the quality of life in Israel is the responsibility of all Jews wherever they be. And so, if American Jewry or any other western Jewry would wish the country to be built more fully in their own image, they can only hope this to be so if they come in larger numbers. In deed, these Jewries gave expression to the sense of mutual responsibility by extending their unreserved aid. But this expression did not go beyond a certain point it did not express itself in a large-scale aliya which would have made so significant a difference to the position of a beleaguered Israel and to the future of the Jewish people as a whole.
Israel, in its turn, has responsibilities which need to be more effectively implemented. The well-being of Jewish communities wherever they be must be regarded as a primary concern. As a Jewish state it has the possibility of serving as the spiritual and cultural powerhouse of the Jewish world. If Hebrew is to become the second language of the diaspora, Israel will have to fulfill its share in the development of such a program.
In a period when many Jews tend to be overly pessimistic a Zionist approach can make an important contribution to morale. It provides an historical perspective in which the present difficult situation may be viewed as part of a continuing, and as yet uncompleted, struggle moving for ward from stage to stage through a series of trials and tribulations. The burdens and the obstacles ahead can be more readily faced if they are perceived as challenges to be overcome by dint of steadfast effort and perseverance as have the difficulties of the past. A Zionist conception infuses the strivings of the present with a sense of the worthwhileness of the goal to be attained in the future.
On Becoming a Zionist
Zionism derives from Judaism and cannot be separated from it. It finds its fullest expression in the individual for whom it represents the culmination of a sound Jewish education. A leading Zionist thinker, Hayim Greenberg, has summed it up as follows: "Without such education, Zion ism may be a doctrine, a convincing theory, a program, a plan, an undertaking of desperate urgency, an appeal to sentiment, a noble humanitarian enterprise, but not a profound creative experience." "Jewish education "is not necessarily limited to formal schooling or to a systematic course of studies. It may be, and often is, obtained through a variety of informal channels.
While Zionism flows most readily from a Jewish education, many individuals who were minimally Jewish and located on the outskirts of their group have in the past moved in a Zionist direction as the result, for example, of a traumatic event in the life of the Jewish people such as the holocaust or the attack on Zionism in the international sphere, or as a result of a revealing incident in their own personal experience such as the shock of an unexpected encounter with anti-Semitism. Their Jewish education in such instances began after they entered a Zionist frame work. As wrote one such Jew (the French Jewish writer, Bernard Lazare), who became a dedicated Zionist after the Dreyfus affair: 'I awoke to find myself a Jew and I did not know what it was to be a Jew."
In the presentation of a Zionist program account has to be taken of the developmental level of the community to which it is addressed. In any given sector of a diaspora community a certain balance or equilibrium exists between the forces making for greater conformity to the norms of the Jewish minority sub-culture and the forces making for greater conformity to the norms of the general culture. This equilibrium is likely to be established at different levels for different sectors of the Jewish community. The more the balance of forces moves to the Jewish side of the scale, the easier it is to influence the Jews in question in a Zionist direction. The approach to any sector or individual has to be attuned to their place on the scale.
Becoming a Zionist means more than the acquisition of a body of knowledge of Jewish history, of Hebrew, of developments in Israel. Such knowledge is indeed indispensable if Zionist convictions are to have deep roots; moreover, a Zionist attitude may be, and often is, an outgrowth of such knowledge. But the knowledge it self is not sufficient. And, indeed, there are very knowledgeable Jews, and sometimes fluent Hebraists, who are not Zionists. Becoming a Zionist means adopting an action-oriented ideology a way of perceiving the Jewish people and its problems, a way of eva luating the solutions proposed for these problems, and, in addition, a way of action in regard to their solution. A change from a non-Zionist to a Zionist position involves a change in (a) perception, (b) values and valences (attractions, aversions), and (c) action. There are problems specific to the change in each of these components. Moreover, although a change affected in one component sometimes leads to changes in the others, this does not necessarily always happen.
If we examine Zionist education in terms of these three components, we can appreciate the fallacy in the commonly-held view that by simply disseminating appropriate information we make people Zionists. It is true that the provision of new facts where previously there was ignorance or misconception may sometimes set in motion a process leading to a Zionist viewpoint. The path of Zionist education would be relatively smooth if this were always so. But we know how often the most rational of arguments in favor of Zionism falls on deaf ears.
The facts may not be accepted as "facts," and, even if they are accepted as such, they are frequently distorted by the perceiver to fit an existing viewpoint. And even when the change in perception takes place, it does not necessarily lead to a change in likes or dislikes. (A visitor to Israel may acknowledge the achievements of the country, but may still persist in his unfavorable attitude to it.) And when values and valences do change, the appropriate action does not always follow.
The process of educating towards an action-oriented ideology is therefore complex; it often requires a total change, i.e., in all three components we have discussed. Such total change is generally achieved by a person's acceptance of a group with the appropriate ideology as his source of reference.
The Group as Agent of Change
In a study of the attitudes of American Jewish youth to Zionism we found that the Zionists among them did not have Zionist convictions at the time they entered Zionist groups. The joined because they had been approached by a friend or acquaintance to do so; they remained because they found the activities or the company of the other members congenial. They may have been predisposed to join such a group by virtue of home influence or of Jewish education. But at the time of joining they were not Zionists. Gradually they accepted the norms and standards of the group, and these being Zionist norms, they became Zionists.
Similarly in the study we conducted in the United States on a Zionist youth camp, to which both Zionist and non-Zionist. Similarly in the study we conducted in the United States on a Zionist youth camp, to which both Zionist and non-Zionist campers came, it was found that by the end of their stay the non-Zionists were moving towards a Zionist standpoint. The, camp constituted a "cultural island" with Zionist norms, and the campers who were its inhabitants were influenced by the quality of its social climate. It was not sufficient to be physically present in the camp; the question was rather Whether the cam per accepted the group with which he was associated as his reference point. Even then it was necessary to enroll the campers on their departure from the camp in Zionist groups so that their newly-acquired attitudes would be buttressed against countervailing influences in the environment.
The roots of Zionism are deeper when they are an outgrowth of early socialization processes. A home with an intensive Jewish atmosphere may create a predisposition favorable to later Zionist development; if both parents are Zionists, and are so in more than a merely formal sense, they may exercise a formative influence on Zionist attitudes. Similarly, the Jewish school may provide the foundations of the kind of Jewish education on which, as we have observed, Zionism can most effectively build. But if these influences are to persist and to be extended, the young Jew has to become a member of an organized Zionist group and this will most appropriately be a group composed of his peers.
There are, of course, cases of individuals who become and remain Zionists without social support. (Even here, the lack of social support is usually more apparent than real -such individuals generally have some source of reference.) The general rule, however, is that Zionist education requires Zionist groups. Becoming a Zionist is, in fact, a process of growing into a group which is Zionist.
While general Jewish organizations may introduce Zionist elements into their programs, they cannot fulfill the functions served by a Zionist organization with clearly defined Zionist norms. Moreover, the very act of joining a group designated as Zionist implies a psychological commitment. Even if the Zionism of the individual has limited content, the commitment is important, in that it indicates an identification with certain forces in Jewish life, rather than with others.
This does not mean that no Zionist educational effort should be directed towards the members of general Jewish organizations. But this effort will have only limited outcomes unless the organization itself becomes Zionist or the members join Zion its units.
There are Zionists who can be said to have grown up as such, and they almost automatically react in terms of a Zionist orientation in many phases of Jewish life of Weizmann and Herzl have often been contrasted on this score. Weizmann had his roots deep in the Jewish life of East Europe and his Zionism was an organic growth, with cultural and spiritual dimensions to it. Herzl came late onto the Jewish scene and his Zionism had more of a purely political character. Weizmann sought to develop a Zionism which would synthesize the practical work of settlement, cultural activities and the political effort. Indeed, Weizmann writes critically in the early years of the century of some of the Zionists in West Europe whose Zionism he describes as being "completely devoid of Jewish content, unstable, wavering and hollow."
Ideology does not playa significant role in American life and there are limitations to the extent to which an ideological Zionist commitment will be embraced by large sections of the community. The possibility does exist, however, of educating small groups to an acceptance of a Zionist ideology.
Even in the heyday of Zionism in East Europe, halutziut, pioneering settlement, was embraced by relatively small groups only, but they gave tone to the movement as a whole and set the sights for wider circles.
A program for the development of a Zionist ideology need not, as some fear, disrupt the broad consensus which exists around support for Israel. The presence of nuclei of dedicated Zionists in the community may serve to move this consensus to a higher level, even if it still then falls short of the fuller ideological commitment.
The Zionism of Israel's Youth
Just as in the diaspora no clear distinction is drawn between Zionism and support for Israel, so in Israel the term Zionism is often used to include all that relates to the upbuilding of the country. The Zionist outlook of the founders of the State bore the imprint of the ideologies they had brought with them from the countries of their origin and the immigration from East Europe in particular had a formative influence on the Zionism which developed in Israel. The years following the establishment of the state were years of immersion in the tasks of immigrant absorption, land settlement and defense, and little attention was given to the ideological implications of Zionism. The Zionism of the generation born in Israel still has a vague, amorphous character, and it becomes necessary to consider what elements enter into it.
It was natural that a people returning to a homeland from which it had been exiled for centuries should in the education of the younger generation place the emphasis on the love of the land. A popular form of such education were the tiyulim, the excursions into the countryside, exploring every nook and cranny, often with Bible in hand. There is, however, a growing recognition that it is necessary to foster a love not only for the land but for the Jewish people in the countries of the dispersion. The Hebrew literature which had negated the galut had also impaired for the young generation the image of the Jew who remained in what was regarded as a degrading condition. Eloquent expression was given to this problem by the third president of the State of Israel, Zalman Shazar, on the occasion of his inauguration. In the diaspora, he observed, a people yearned through the centuries for its distant homeland; the young generation of Israelis who have grown up in that homeland are now required to define their relationship to a people in the far-flung lands of the diaspora.
The feeling of Jewish interdependence which exists among a large section of Israeli youth provides a foundation on rich the school, the youth movements d other educational agencies can proceed to build further. The Ministry of Education is indeed revising curricula to low for a fuller attention to the study of Zionism and of contemporary Jewry. The extensive educational services of the Israel army are placing special emphasis on the subject of Zionism; their publications, their training courses, their seminars for soldiers of all ranks now have Zionism as key topic. The climate of opinion that presently prevails in Israel -further stimulated by the reaction to the U.N. resolution of November 1975 stigmatizing Zionism constitutes a favorable background for these educational efforts.
Correlates of the Self-Definition as Zionist
The great majority of Israelis regard themselves as Zionists. In a survey conducted luring July-September 1973 by the Israel Institute of Applied Social Research, 82 percent of the urban population over the age of twenty declared themselves Zionists. When the survey was replicated in October, after the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, 90 per cent so declared themselves.
In our 1974 study of a country-wide sample of 1,875 eleventh graders (16-17 year olds) in the state school system 80 per cent declared themselves Zionists. It may be assumed that if the study had been carried out after the U.N. resolution of November 1975, the percentage defining themselves as Zionists would have been even higher.
Our study shows that the percentage of Zionists is higher among the datiim, the religiously observant (93 per cent) than among the non-religious (72 per cent), with the mesoratiim, the traditionalists, (80 per cent) occupying an intermediate position. Significant differences appear between students declaring themselves Zionists and their non-Zionist peers in each of the three categories. The Zionists rank higher than non-Zionists on all criteria of Jewish and Israeli identity. There is, indeed, a close correlation between Jewishness, Israeliness, and Zionism.
The valence, or attractiveness, of being Jewish and of being Israeli is higher for the Zionists. They, more than the non-Zionists, regard their Jewishness and Israeliness as interrelated, feel themselves to be in the position of the survivors of the holocaust, are interested in a large-scale aliya from the United States, and are opposed to yerida, emigration from Israel. Zionists, more than non-Zionists, regard themselves as an inseparable part of the Jewish people, although it should be noted that on this as on other questions a small minority do not subscribe to what is a basic Zionist proposition despite their self-definition as Zionists.
Of particular importance is the substantial difference in the strength of the Jewish and Israeli identity of the Zionist students as compared with their non-Zionist fellow-students in the non-religious category. On some of the scales the Zionists in the non-religious category outrank not only the non-Zionists in their own category but also the non-Zionists in the traditionalist category.
The Zionism of the young Israelis differs from that of their parents or grandparents, many of whom knew the galut from personal experience. The "revolt against the galut," the desire to terminate their condition of dependence on the good-will of the non-Jewish majority, was a significant element in the Zionist outlook of the older Zionists. The Zionism of the younger generation is largely Israel-centered. When asked in what way they were. Zionists, some of the young Israelis we interviewed in our study replied that they were such by virtue of the fact that they were living in Israel, were ready to serve in the army and fulfill all the duties of citizenship. They were equating Zionism with Israeli patriotism. Others did indeed go beyond this and declared that their Zionism found expression in their desire to see more Jews immigrate to Israel and in their readiness to do what they could to aid in the process of klita, the integration of the new immigrants. Still others came closer to a more comprehensive definition when they stated that their Zion ism was reflected in their conception of Israel as a Jewish state designed to serve as the homeland of all Jews.
When asked what Zionism meant in the case of Jews abroad, the majority equated Zionism with aliya and a minority with support for Israel.
The students have been impressed by the support extended so spontaneously and unwaveringly to Israel by Jewish communities throughout the world at the time of both the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War. While this has resulted in a more favorable attitude to those communities, our interviews with the students indicate that they still lack an understanding of the nature of the diaspora of today. Their view of this diaspora is based largely on what they have heard from their parents about the communities from which they came (mainly Europe, the Middle East, North Africa) and what they have read in the Hebrew literature which they have studied in school and which relates mostly to the communities of East Europe. There are serious lacunae even in their knowledge of these communities. They do, however, empathize with the plight of Jews subject to persecution or gross discrimination (as in the U.S.S.R. and in the Arab countries) and they feel themselves closer to such Jews. What they do not comprehend are the subtler dilemmas, the peculiar unease and the Jewish strivings of the communities in the western democracies. American students visiting Israel sorrowfully reported in the inter views we conducted with them that the Israeli students whom they met did not understand the problematics of Jewish life in the United States.
The Zionist Perspective
The popular impression existed some years ago that Zionism had become a term of derision among Israel's youth. While this impression was an exaggeration of the situation, it did derive from the fact that a number of young Israelis tended to label as "Zionist" any excessively declamatory statement about patriotic intention. There is little trace of this derision at the present time. Zionism has a variety of meanings for Israeli youth but the connotation is generally positive. At times, indeed, the connotation is too broad, it embraces all that is idealistic and patriotic and deprives Zionism of its particular meaning.
While significance attaches to the declaration of the majority of the young Israelis that they are Zionists, their Zionism gene rally lacks, as we have indicated, a clearly defined content and a proper orientation to the Jewish people in the diaspora. What distinguishes a Zionist from a non-Zionist in Israel is the perspective in which the Zionist views the Jewish state. He sees it as part of the Jewish historical continuity, as the homeland of the entire Jewish people, and as having as its primary function the redemption of that people. Nathan Rotenstreich has expressed this view of Zionism as follows: "Zionism is not the state itself nor even what is done inside its borders, but the historic meaning the state has for Jews."
In recent years Israel's foes have launched a vehement propaganda campaign disputing the right of the Jewish people to its land. By way of reaction, increased attention is being given in the education of the young Israeli to the exposition of the Jewish historical association with the land of Israel. But this has to be seen as only one item in a Zionist education and not as its full substance.
Inside Israel an intense debate is proceeding, as to what parts of the land presently under Israel's control should constitute its inalienable possession and what parts, if any, may be ceded as part of a future peace settlement. Without detracting from the importance of this issue or entering into the merits of the arguments advanced by the contending parties, we would state that it does not appear to us to relate, some maintain, to the essence of the Zionist perspective. Zionists may and do range themselves on either side of the debate for reasons which are not incompatible with the Zionist perspective.
What has been said in this paper about the elements of a Zionist ideology in the diaspora applies mutatis mutandis to Zionism in Israel. Zionism in Israel, like Zionism in the diaspora, has to be based on a recognition of the unity of the Jewish people and of the central role of Israel as the Jewish state in the life of all sections of that people. The propositions which follow are a restatement of what is in essence contained in the Jerusalem Program as it would apply to the Zionism of a Jew located in Israel.
(a) The Jews of Israel and the Jews of all countries of the diaspora belong to one interdependent Jewish people and share the responsibility for their common future.
(b) Israel is the homeland not only of the Jews already resident in it but of the entire Jewish people, and the right inherent in every Jew to come to settle in this homeland.
(c) A primary responsibility of Israel as the Jewish state is "the ingathering of the exiles" (kibbutz galuyot).
(d) Israel represents the continuity in the present and into the future of the Jewish historical tradition and is called upon to develop a Jewish culture which is in accord with that tradition and which should be a source of inspiration to Jews throughout the world.
(e) It is Israel's duty to aid in the preservation of the Jewish identity of communities everywhere and to extend them whatever assistance it can in the development of Jewish education and cultural life.
(f) Israel represents not only its own citizens but the Jewish people in the councils of nations. A threat to the security and welfare of any community is a matter of direct concern to it.
The test of a Zionist in Israel would be the acceptance of, and action in accordance with, these propositions.
Zionist Thought and Action
We have referred to the nature of the Zionism of Israel's youth. But there is need for a Zionist revival among all strata in Israel. The Israel Zionist Council. which was established a few years ago, is doing valiant work but it cannot meet the challenge on its own. Among the groups which should share in the responsibility are the hitachduyoth, the organizations of immigrants; they have an important part to play not only in finding channels for the continued expression of the Zionism their members brought with them but also in stimulating Zionism in their countries of origin. We at the universities have certainly not done enough. We need to take an active part in the Zionist movement and contribute to it that combination of Zionist thought and action which is so sadly lacking.
The Institute of Contemporary Jewry, in which the Israel Goldstein Chair is located, has very properly decided to broaden the scope of its Division on Zionism, and its expanded program of research, teaching and training could playa pivotal role in a Zionist revival.
There is a heightened awareness in educational circles about the importance of developing the teaching of contemporary Jewish life in Israel's schools, and it is to be hoped that the teachers who will be required for this task will in increasing numbers avail themselves of the facilities provided by the Institute's broad-based program of contemporary Jewish studies into which the study of Zionism is integrated.
There is an urgent need in Israel, as in the diaspora, to undertake the reinterpretation of Zionism which can meet the needs of the changing Jewish condition. A constant interaction between Zionist nuclei in the diaspora and parallel groups in Israel around the common unifying theme which their Zionism provides would be to the benefit of both. It should be the task of these groups to restore to Zionist thought the intellectual ferment, the sense of zest and challenge, which is necessary to make it the stimulating, directing force which it could be in Jewish life.
The Aversion to Ideology
We have in this paper placed the emphasis on Zionism as an ideology. In his essay on "Ideology as a Cultural System", Clifford Geertz has properly criticized the tendency of some social scientists to adopt an a priori pejorative view of "ideology". It should be the task of the social scientist to subject to scientific examination the function of ideologies as "maps of problematic social reality and matrices for the creation of collective conscience". In stead of projecting a blanket aversion to all ideologies, he should eva luate each ideology on its merits. He may then find in the light of the value premises which underlie his examination that while there are some ideologies which are morally repugnant, there are others deserving his commendation.
Zionism is an ideology based on liberal, humanistic principles. Its analysis of the Jewish condition and the course of action it proposed have, moreover, stood the test of historic experience. Geertz has referred to the attempt of ideologies "to render otherwise incomprehensible social situations meaningful, to so construe them as to make it possible to act purposefully within them". We have sought in this chapter to sketch the contours of a Zionist ideology which we believe can provide this purposeful direction in the complex, changing situations which face a Jewish people located in a world in turmoil.
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