An Introspective View Of The Cultural Battle In The Zionist Movement.

1811 words - 7 pages

Without question, the underlying key element of the Zionistic movement is the survival of Jewish people. This concept raises the controversial issue of why do we find it so vital to preserve Judaism. While the general consensus is that the Jews are the chosen people, a divided opinion still exists. One side argues that the Jews must always preserve religious tradition and holiness, while the other side maintains that the Jewish people must preserve their identity and uniqueness as a nation.(Beit-Hallahmi, 58) Despite the national bond that the Jewish people have felt for eternity, the Zionistic movement endured a severe cultural debate, which may even exist in today's society.It is clear that although both Ahad Ha'am and Theodor Herzl shared the common goal of restoring the loss of Jewish identity, their Zionist ideologies and methodologies differed greatly.Herzl felt that the loss of Jewish identity was due to the fact that they did not have a homeland to call their own, while Ha'am felt that it was due to the lack of Jewish cultural knowledge and appreciation of values. Herzl began taking political action, while Ha'am devoted his energies into encouraging Jewish education and a spreading of culture. As well, each leading figure left behind a unique legacy and impact on generations to come.The ideologies of Theodor Herzl and Ahad Ha'am differed greatly on the topic of a Jewish state, and the solution to restoring a lost identity. In The Jewish Question, an essay written by Herzl, he expresses his concern regarding the anti-Semitism and persecution that the Jews faced, no matter how many there were or the country they inhabited (200). Yet Herzl made his strongest argument quite clear - the lack of a Jewish homeland aroused persecution and anti-Semitism, as it differentiated the Jewish people and made them appear as outsiders (Apisdorf). Active in politics and a prominent Zionist, Herzl believed the time had come for a solution, introducing his visions with the motto "If you will it, it won't be a fairy tale" (Pawel, 99). The Jewish people had faced such great hostility, and it was these persecutions that brought a feeling of unity and recognition of their strength (Herzl, 203). Herzl decided that a chartered settlement would erase much hatred towards the Jews (Jacobs), who were now ready with all the appropriate resources to form a state of their own. This was not impossible, nor unrealistic (Herzl, 203). Herzl firmly believed that Palestine was the appropriate location for a Jewish homeland, as it contained the rich historical values of the people (Herzl, 204). Acknowledging that the formation of a state would be a lengthy process of many decades (203), he proposed forming societies of intellectuals, who would organize international law and political policies, and help begin executing the new state in a logical manner (203). Herzl saw visions of Jewish communities all over the world uniting to organize foreign powers and manage immigration, with...

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