Studying Zionism

Spring Bet Midrash kicks off tonight at 7:00 in the Library at Ohev, and continues to meet at that time and place for the ensuing four weeks. We continue our exploration, begun in last Fall’s Bet Midrash, of “Facets of Zionism.” The course is structured around readings from the newly published work, The Zionist Ideas, by Gil Troy.

The operative idea behind the course is tracing the pursuit of building a modern Jewish state in our ancestral homeland, from its birth and early popularity as advanced by Theodore Herzl, all the way down to the present day and visions of beyond. Though Zionism has spawned many and varied facets (a good many of which animate the various political parties vying for seats in the Knesset in April’s upcoming Israeli elections), one may perceive Zionism’s original 2-stage development within Israel’s first 40 years, when two major parties held power: Labor (for nearly the entire first 30 years) and Likud. These two parties are direct offshoots of two distinct types of Zionism, Political as espoused by Herzl, and Revisionist as espoused by Zev Jabotinsky.

In a very small nutshell, Political Zionism aspired to a charter for a Jewish state in any reasonably spacious area of the Holy Land; Revisionism on the other hand would settle for nothing less than a Jewish state comprising the entire Land of Israel — including not just the West Bank, but also the East Bank (of the Jordan River), which was the ancestral home of the Tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh.

Love to have you join us. Copies of our textbook are available for $18; I can sell you one at class. For those attending, tonight’s subject is Revisionist Zionism. Readings are 67-74, 220-224, and 409-411.