Zionism is the Jewish national movement seeeking the return of the Jewish people to their Biblical homeland. This involved both political and spiritual aims. Jews of all persuasions, left and right, religious and secular, orthodox and reform, joined the Zionist movement and worked for the creation of the homeland thast was to become Israel. The term "Zionism" was coined in 1893 by Nathan Birnbaum. Only a small minoriy of European Jews supported Zionism. A much larger number turned to socialism as the route toward the creation of an egalitarian society. Wesern Jews were generally satisfied with the improvements in their condition and the progress toward empancipation. More resonance ocurred among the huge, largely assimilatec Jewish population in Tsarist Russia--the Pale of Settlement. Not all Zionits were wed to Palestine, but the emotional ties eventually made Palestine the focus od the movement. Small scale settlement began in the 1880s. This becae more organized after te foundation of the World Zionist Orgamization. The British made an ambiguou commitment to a Jewish homelad with the World War I Balfour Declaration. The Russian Revolution and the development of the Stalinist state isolated the Russian Jewish community. Zionism was a fringe movement n Europe after World War I, but with the rise of Hitler and the NAZIs Jews began to turn to any way of leaving Germany. For most European Jews there were few opportuniies to reach Palestine before bding engulfed in the NAZI holocaust. After the War with the surviving Jews of Europe, Zionism was no longer a fringe movement.
The British even after the Wr attempted to limit Jewish immigration. Rising communal conflict forced the Brigish to withdraw. Israel decaled its independentce (1947) promting an invasion by the neigboring Aran states. The first in a series of Middle-East wars.
Zionism is the Jewish national movement seeeking the return of the Jewish people to their Biblical homeland. This involved both political and spiritual aims. Jews of all persuasions, left and right, religious and secular, orthodox and reform, joined the Zionist movement and worked for the creation of Israel. The term "Zionism" was coined by Nathan Birnbaum (1893). He is considered the father of Zionism. He died in the Netherlands (1937).
There were two major Jewish groups in the 19th century, Ashkenazim and Sephardim. Ziomism was a political movement that emerged from the Ashkenazim. This was the Jews of European origin. Very few Sephardim were involved in the Zionist movement during the early years. There were an estimated 10.5 million Jews worldwide in 1900. About 9.5 million of those Jews were Ashkenazim and about 5.2 million of the Ashkenazim lived in the Russian Empire's Pale of Settlement. At the time as a result of Tsaeist oppression, large numbers of Jews were fleeing Russia. Two of the major destinations were Germany and America. Until the 1880s, America had only a small Jewish population. The emigration from Russia of the late 19th abd early 20th century was to create an important American Jewish community.
The Jewish people over tume experienced periods of benign toleration followed by rulthless suppression. Anti Semitism became a prominent aspect of European life during the Medieval Era. Throughout the Medieval era Jews were the target of persecution by the Catholic Church. The history of the Jews and the extent of perscution has varied widely from country to country. Many states expelled the Jews entirely. The most famous such event was Spain's expulsion of the Jews (1492). Other countries also expelled the Jews, including England. There were a few islands of toleration, the most prominent being the Netherlands. Historically Islam was more tolerant to Jews and other Christian sects than the Cathloic Church. In the late Medieval era, Jews in Poland andRussia were the target of horific pogroms. Only in the 19thcentury did Jews begin to gain full civil rights in Western Europe. The most horific explosion of anti-Semitism was the NAZI attemp to eradicate European Jewery during World War II. After the War anti-Semitism declined, a trend based on having witnessed what anti-Semitism can lead to.
The first written record of what might be called the beginning of the Zionist movement first appeared in the mid-19th century. At the time Europe was undergoing an upsurge of both nastionalism and demands for liberal political reform that was unsetting the conservative order established after the Napoleonic Wars by the Congress of Vienna. hese currents were to lead to the 1848 Revolutions.
Jews were not immune from these political and social currents. A reliogious revival that most affected Jews in the 1840s. Eastern European and the Balkan Jews were moved by the belied that the messianic era had finally arrived. Some Jews saw this revivl as a kind of Jewish nationl revival not unlike the other nationalist movements sweeping Europe, including the movement for unification in Germany. Several different authors addressed this subject. Two of the most important was Rabbi Judah Alkalai and Rabbi Zevi Hirsch Kalisher. Kalisher desctibed a Jewish nationalism that was evolving from the Jewish enlightenment that had begun in Revolutinary France (1791). There for the first time in Europe, Jews received full emancipation and other civil rights. Alkalai over time shifted his writing from a religious writing depicting a miraculous messiah to a Jewish redemption resulting from actyal works and efforts. These efforts he insisted would create the conditions for the messiah's arrival. These and other authors promoted Jewish national unity. It was Kalisher who emphasized the idea of a return to Palestine which at the time was an Ottoman province.
There have been many different concepts of Zionism. Writers like Alkalai conceptualized a Jewish national movement that was largely religious in nature. Along with the nationlism and liberalism that were sweeping Europe in the 1840s was socialism, a reaction to the Industrial Revolution that was transforming the European economy and along with creating emense wealth and social progress had left many workers in abject poverty. One associate of Karl Marx was Moses Hess, a German Jew and ardent Zionist. Many Jews were attracted to socialism because of its message of a idelic future without oppressive government. Some approached with an almost religious fervor. Hess was the first major spokesmen for the socialist wing of Zionism. He called for the creation of a Jewish socialist commonwealth in Palestine. [Hess] Jews in the mid-19th century were making enormous progress. Restrctions were being repealed and many Jews in countries like Ebgland, France, and Germany were fully participating in national life. Hess saw a Jewish Palestine as needed because he did not think anti-Semitism had disappeared in Europe. Rather he saw emancipation precisely because it removed restrictions on Jews increased contacts and competition with gentiles which would fuel future anti-Semitism. Hess believed this posed great dangers for Jews and could only be prevented by autonomous Jewish Palestine. At the time because of the success Jews were experienced in Germany, his writings had very limited appeal. Jews both in Germany and other European countries played a very importasnt role in the development f socialism. Many looked Judiasm and Zionism as anacronisms. One observer contends that the communism/socialism enraced by so many was as Arthur Koestler puts it "The God that Failed." The utopian new world of democracy and equalitynever arrived. Rather communism turned ingo a terrible despotism carrying out mass executions and a dreadful Gulag. Ironically it was the much smaller almos fronge movement that succeeded. One author writes. "Who, in those early inflamed decades in the history of modern revolution, would have imagined that it was not the socialist revolution of the deracinated Jews, but the nationalist revolution of the reracinated Jews, that would come out on top? But the cause to which Luxemburg and Trotsky gave their lives is itself dead, and, in those redoubts where it still exists, it owes its existence increasingly to deals with the running dogs of capitalism. The cause, indeed, has become known as "the God that failed," after the title of a bitter book by six apostates from communism. In his contribution to that clarifying book, Arthur Koestler wrote that "I served the Communist Party for seven years--the same length of time Jacob tended Laban's sheep to win Rachel, his daughter. When the time was up, the bride was led into his dark tent" and turned out to be not Rachel but Leah. Jacob worked another seven years to win the hand he had first been pledged; but Koestler was spent and would do no more. He was through with Laban." [Peretz]
Palestine in the mid-19th century when Jewish writers began conceiving pf returning was a province of the declining Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Turks conquered Palestine (1516).
Local governors appointed by the Ottomans collected revenues which were forwarded to Constntinople.
Thee Ottomans promoted important public works. Suleiman the Magnificent rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem (1537). The Druse attenpted to establish their own state in northern Palestine during the early Ottoman era. Napoleon conducted one of his earliest campaigns in the Middle East, seizing Cairo and areas in Palestine (1798). He took Jaffa, Ramle, Lydda, Nazareth and Tiberias, but wa unable to take Acre. A Royal Navy squadron under Nelson destoyed the French fleet and made Napoleon's position untenable. Mehemet Ali of Egypt seized Palestine from the Ottomans. His son Ibrahim Pasha leading Egyptian troops took Acre (1831). The local Palestinian population revolted (1834). After considerableturmoil, the Ottomans regained control of Palestine (1840). The Palestinian Arab population played a role in the political reforms seeking to modernize the Ottoman Empire (1876 and 1908). Ottoman Palestine consisted of two administrative areas. There was the autnomous Sanjak (district) of Jerusalem which was subject to the High Porte in Constantinople. The Sanjak included an area from Jaffa to the River Jordan in the East and from the Jordan south to the borders of Egypt. The other area was part of the Willayat (province) of Beirut. This part was composed of the Sanjak of Balka (Nablus) from Jaffa to Jenin, and the Sanjak of Acre, which extended from Jenin to Naqura. Palestiniaqn Arabs had many important political and military posts under Ottoman rule. The Ottoman Empire was evolving in the late 19th century abd the plitical reforms resulted in a constitution and parliment. There were Arab representatives in the Parliament. In the first Parliament, the President of the Council of the House of Representatives was a Jerusalem Deputy , Yusif Dia Pasha Al Khalidi. The administration of Arab territories was entrusted to elected Administrative Councils. Those Councils were elected and existed in the provinces, districts, and sub-districts. Those Councils were vested with extensive powers in administration, finance, education, and development. The Ottoman Empire was, however, by the 19th century politically unstable. While the Empire was controlled by Turks, they were a minority within the Empire which included large number of Balkan Christians, Armenians, and Arabs. The Young Turks that seized control of the Government were not about to relinquish control to non-Turkish groups. Palestine remained under Ottoman rule until World War I. It is difficut to know the political attitudes of Palestinians to Ottoman rule. It was from the desert tribes, supported by the British, however, that effective resistace to Ottoman rule came after the Ottomans entered the War on the side of the Central Powers.
Religious Jews attracted to Zionism from the beginning foused on Palestine. Of course the religious attraction was obvious. For Jews it was the promissed land offered by God himself.
Political Zionists were less strongly attracted to Palestine. They had come to the conclusion that there was no future for Jews in Europe. Anti-Semetic laws still existed in many countries, especially the Russian Empire where more than half of European Jews lived. Even in countries where Jews were legally emancipated there was continuing anti-Semitism affecting Jewish life. Thus political Zionists wanted a homelan, but not necesarily Palestine. The religious attraction was so string that Palestine gradually became the main focus of Zionists. Creating a homeland within Europe posed a range of problems. Jewish thinks concluded that the Great Powers might be convinced to approve or acquiese in a Jrewish himeland in Palestine. Besides the religious significance, there were political advantages. Palesine was located in the Ottoman Empire which by the late 19th century was declining and it was increadingly obvious that it would be partioned. Ziomist thinkers also comcluded that the Great Powers would likely favor a Jewish Paestine because many of their Jews would emigrate ths solving what some saw as their Jewish problem. Jews among themselves debated as to whether the new Jewish homeland would be a religious or secular entity.
Russian Anarchists assasinated the reformist Tsar Aleaxander II (1881). His son was a traditionilst who was doubtful if not opposed to his father's reforms. Out of his anti-Semetic feelings and in part to gain popularity fot the Tsardom, Alexander fomented terrible pogroms. It was at this time that the Ocrana fabrcated the Protocols of the Elders of Zion which still circulate to this day. New restrictions were placed on Russian and Polish Jews. As a result, huge mumbers of Jews fled west, many to America and Germany. Russian repression also fueled new interest in Zionism.
There were few Jews un Russia, but Russian expansion into the Ukraine (17th century) and Poland (18th century) brought millions of Jews into the Tsarist Empire. From the beginning, Tsarist officials were hostile toward these Jews. After the Napoleonic Wars, most of Europe began moderating policies toward Jews and emancipating them, although the Frefus Affairs showed that there was still latent anti-Semtism even in Western Europe. Russian policies were just the opposite. Tsar Alxander III launched a campaihn against Jews complete with cossock pograms. This occurred just a Zionism was beginnuing gto form. Large numbers of Russian and Polish Jews (Poland at the time was cintrolled by Tsarist Russia) were pushed to emigrate. Some emiograted to western Europe, but this as not easy. The one country open to large scale migration was the United States and Jews came in large numbers. America in a few decades webntfrom a country with few Jews to a country swith one of the larfest Jewish populations. As Zionism gained influence, small numbers of European Jews emigrated to Ottoman Palestine. The numbers were a small fraction of the number of Jews seeking refuge in America.
One of the most important early proponent pf political Zionism was Leo Pinsker, an Odessa physician. The pogroms initiated by Alexander III had a fundamental impact on Russian Jews.
Jewish maskalim like Pinsker had believed that the future for Jews was in persuong a seculasr path.
The Tsarist Pogroms changed his mind. He concluded that that anti-Semitism was not a dieing historical phenomenon, but rather an all too modern phenomenon that was beyond ny future triumphs of "humanity and enlightenment." [Pinsker] He concluded that Jews must unite and organize to create a national homeland wherever it was possible to establish one.
The First Aliyah or immigration is notable for the small number of individuals involved.
Leo Pinsker's writing attracted considerable attention. One group which noted his work was Hibbat Tziyyon (Lovers of Zion). This was a group devoted to Hebrew education and national revival. Unlike Pinsker, they were focused on Palestine. They were impressed with Pinsker's vision of a territorial homeland. Pinsker eventually became the leader of the Hibbat Tziyyon movement. They actually organized a Jewish settlement in Palestine. Baron Edmond de Rothschild financed the settlement. Rothschild himself was not a Zionist, but he was concerned about the tragic condition of Russian Jews.
The first efforts were an agricultural settlement at Rishon LeZiyyon, south of Tel Aviv, and Zikhron Yaaqov, south of Haifa. The number of Jewish settlrs was only 10,000 settlers by 1891. This of course was only a small fraction of the vast Jewish outpouring to America.
Despite the small numbers this was the first European Jewish Jewish bridgehead in Palestine with the political objective of creating a himeland.
The individual who turned the Zionist movement into an important fofce was a most unlikely Jewish leader, let alone a key participant in the Jewish nationl movement. He was born and raised in Budapest in a German-speaking, non-religious family. Theodor Herzl (1860- ) was a thoroughly assimilated Austrian Jew. He trained in Vienna to be a lawyer but turned to journalism as well as trying his hand as a playwright. Herzl showed little interest in Judiasm or Jewish culture as a young man. He had not read early Zionist writings. He even noted in his diary that he would not have written his book had he been familiar with Pinsker's Auto-Emancipation. Herzl worked in Paris as a correspondent for a Viennese newspaper. It was here for the first time that he preceived just how pervasiveness of anti-Semitism was. He also began to blieve that emancipation and secularization was not ending anti-Semitism, but rather spreading it. The end of the ghetto was increasing contact and competition with gentiles. And French society was increasingly blameing Jews, emancipated assimilated Jews, for socio-economic upheaval of industrialization and modern life. It was the Dreyfus Affair (1894) that caused Hertzl to finally conclude that European anti-Semitism could not be controlled. Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a career Jewish army officer, was tried for treason. Dreyfus despite evidence to the contrary was found guilty of selling military secrets to the Germans. (It was later found that another French officr with social connections was the culprit.) He was eventually cleared after several years on the notorious Devil's Island off the coast of French Guiana, but his career was ruined. The Dreyfus Affair divided French society. Open anti-Semitism which had been below the surface appeared as demonstrations and riots throughout France. What shocked Herzl most was that some of the most fervent propoents of anti-Semitism were French intellectuals as well as the social, and political elites. Herzl had thought that it was the uneducated and traditional element that was the bastion for anti-Semitism. Many Frenchmen who question the Army courtmartial did not speak out. The great Zola when he dared to speak was hounded out of France. Herzl concluded that if anti-Semitism existed in France, there was no place in Europe that Lews would not be seen as an alien people. His solution was a secular Jewish state. He published Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State) (1895). Herzl was not wed to Palestine. Nor did he desire to create a state with the Hebrew language or the Jewish religion. Herzl was among the Zionist thinkers who thought he could convince te Great Powes to support a Jewish homeland because it would reid them of their troublesome Jews. Herzl met with the pope, princes of Europe, the German kaiser, and other world figures. He received not commitments, but the fact that he was received gave him consideable prestige. The irony was that the assimilated Herzl made little progress in concincing lkargely assimilated Western European Jews, but his message was received with consideable interest by the largely unassimilated Jewish masses in the Russian Pale. Herzl brought few new ideas to Zionism. His major contribution was the beginning of Zionist organization. He organized the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland (1897). The Congress adopted the goal: "To create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by Public Law." Another outcome was the founding of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) to work toward this goal. The WZO consisted of a general council, a central executive, and a congress. A congress was held every 1-2 years depending n circumstances. Societies were organized around the world. One of its primary activities was to promote Jewish settlement in Palestine. The WZO registered a bank in London and established the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemet) to finance the purchase of land in Palestine. The First Zionist Congress was important not only for its work in Palestine, but because for mny Jews it was the Jewish naional organization since the Roman Legions destroyed the Second Temple and drove the Jews out of Palestine (70 AD).
Zionist thinkers pursued many different approaches, both religious and secular and within those basic trends a wide range of ideas. Jews in many countries were primarily urban. Jews like most ancient people as is clear from the Bible were primary darmers and hearders. Medieval laws, however, restricted in both the Islamic world and Christian Europe
restricted (commonly prohibited) Jews from purchasing land. Thus by modern times, Jews mostly lived in towns and villages. A strong thread which developed in Zionism, influenced often by Socialist more than Jewish religious roots, was a return to the land. Various authotrs conceived of a range of ideological constructs. One important Zionist thinker was Ber Borochov who was influenced by Moses Hess. Borochov saw Zionism as the opportunity to created a society that would be fundamentally an "inverted pyramid". He saw the "proletariat" (both Jewish and Arab) as the foundation of society. A. D. Gordon discussed similar concepts. He seems to have been more influenced by romantic volkisch nationalist concepts rather than Socialism. Gordon wanted a society based on a rural Jewish peasantry. The concept of the kibbutz flowed from these and other ofen idealistic Zionist writers. The first kibbutz was Deganiah--some times reffered to as the mother of kibbutzim. It was founded on the the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee (1909). This was the same year that other Zionist settlers founded the city of Tel Aviv. Deganiah was founded by 10 men and 2 women led by Joseph Baratz. They purchased the land from a Persian family that lived in Beirut. Actually Degania was a kvutza and not a kibbutz because of its small size. Also the children did not sleep communally, but with their parents. Many other kibbutzim followed. The kibbutz hase variously been described as a communal village or collective farm. Here newly arrived Jews from Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa were taught farming and a range of manual skills.
World War I broke out in Europe (August 1914). Palestine at the beginning of the War was a part of the Ottoman Empire. The population was largely Arab with some Jewish settlements as a result of the European Zionist movement. The Germans sought to bring the declining Ottoman Empire into the War to draw Russian and British resources from the two main fronts of the War. The Ottomans joined the Central Powers (October 1914). They had suffered significan territorial losses in the Balkans and the Caucauses at the hands of the Russians and saw allying themselves with the Germans was one way of regaining lost territory from the beleagered Russians. The War quickly turned into a disaster when the Ottoman army invading the Russian Causcasses was decisively defeated. The Ottomons launched an offensive from Palestine soon after entering the War (November 1914). They crossed the Sinai and at some locations reached the Suez Canal, but were beaten back by the British. The British encoraged an Arab Revolt in Arabia which developed into a major threat to the Ottomans. The Arab Revolt assisted by T.E. Lawrence helped weakened the Ottomon position in Arabia and Palestine. Palestine turned from an Ottoman backwater into the frontline of World war I. The British made commitments to the Arabs about an independent Arab state after the War. They made condflictging commitments to their French ally. Zionists were initially split by the War. There were Zionists in all the major beligerant powers. The Balfour Declaration would largely change this. Thr British mounted a major offensive Against the Ottomans in Palestine. The British Egyptian Expeditionary Force commanded by Field Marshall Edmund Allenby af first made little progress against the Ottomons. The British finally took Jerusalem (December 1917). Australian Light Cavalry played an important role. The Ottomon Army in the Levant was was finally broken at the Battle of Megiddo (September 1918). The British with the Arab Army on its right then moved to seize Damascus. The British during the War made conflicting commitments to the Arabs, Zionists, and even the French. The result was that after the War they found maintaing order in the Palestine Mandate a very difficult under takibng. The Palestinian Arabs were unwilling to participate in Mandate institutions.
The Tsaist regimes anti-Semetic policies, including vicious pograms, turned many Jews to emigration or revolutionary solutions. Many Jews were attracted to socialism because it seemed to expouse universal values. Even so, huge numbers of Jews served loyally in the Tsarist Army during World War I. Many of the early Bolshevicks that seized cintrol of Russia were Jews. They were for the most part not sympathetic to Ziomism. The Bloshevicks were atheists and wanted to remake Europeanm society, neither of which was compatable with with the basic Zionist vision, although there was an important socialist wing to Ziomism. The Bolshevicks began turning the Soviet Union into a closed society, a process Stalin intensufued when he seuized control (late-1920s). Thus not only was one of the largest Jewish populations in Europe was baically closed to Zionism, but Soviet policy was to eradicate religion, both Christianity and Judaism. large numbers of Soviet Jews would grow up with little or no knowledge of Jewish traditions.
The British in estanlishinbg the Mandate inherited a breing conflict between Arabs (Palestinians) and Jews and the two sides competed for soverignity. The Bitish made an effort to establish a democraric state with majority Aran rule. The Plaestinians led by the Grand Mufti resisted this becus the Briyiish were insistin on constitutiinal guarantees for nminority rights. The Palestinian launched two viloent efforts to drive out the British and Jews (1920-21 and 1936-39). The Grand Mufti obtaine NAZI support for the second effort. The British attempted to control the violence. [Lier and Muller] The violence continued after Workld War II. British policy was influebced by a desire to develop good reklatiions with the Arabs, especially after increasing qyuantuties of oil was dicovered. The British assumed that the HJews has noreal chance of establishingh a Jrwisg state, surrounded as they were by Arab states with well-armed armies.
Only a small minoriy of Jews in Germany and other European nations were commited to Zionism in 1933 when the NAZIs seized power.
German Jews were some of the most assimilated in Europe. Under Bismarck they had received full civil rights. Most Jews saw themselve as Germans and a part of the national fabric. Many were not even pracrising Jews. The major Jewish organizations, while not oposed to a Jewish homeland, did not promote Zonism as many felt that it would weaken the Jewish presence in Germany. [Heim] German Jewish attitudes began to change after the NAZI takeover. In particular some parents began to see Palestine as a possible option for their children. The process was at first lest pronounced in other countries which did immdiately appreciate the NAZI threat. Although there were Zionist movements in these countries, especially Poland, they were generally not supported by the main Jewish organizations.
An account of Zionism during World War II is primarily an account of developments in Palestine. This is because Hitler and the NAZIs within soon conquired most od Europe, including the areas with large Jewish populations which had been the heart of the Zionist movement. The British Government on the eve of World War II was concerned about its strategic position in the Middle east. The Middle East provided the link (through Suez and Egypt) between Britain and its most important colony--Egypt. The Moddle East alsp possessed vast oil resources Britain needed to fight the War. The disorders in Palestine fomented by the Grand Mufti affected attitudes toward the British in key coutries (Egypt, Iran, and Iraq). The British Government to repair the damage published a White Paper that essentially terminated its commitment to the Jews made during World War I with the the Balfour Declaration (May 1939). The British White Paper forsaw the creation of an Arab state within 10 years. The British committed to begin appointing Palestinian (Arab) ministers to begin taking responsibility as soon as "peace and order" were restored. The British offered to allow 75,000 Jews to enter Palestine over the next 5 years. (This after Kristalnacht and Munich when German, Autrian, Czech, and other Jews were desperately trying to reavh saftey from the NAZIs). After the 5 year period, Arab consent would be needed for any futher Jewish immigration. The British indicated their interntion to restrict any further land sales. The White Paper was seen as a way of essentially securing Arab support during the coming war. In this it failed. Anti-British feling was very deep in many Middle Eastern countries, especilly Iran, Iraq, and Egypt. The White Paper did very little to change these attitides. The AHC rejected it. The Jewish Agency in Palesrine rejected it even more forcefully, calling it a total repudiation of Balfour and Mandate obligations. When Hitler launched the War by invading Poland (September 1939), David Ben-Gurion, chairman of the Jewish Agency, stated "We shall fight the war against Hitler as if there were no White Paper, and we shall fight the White Paper as if there were no war."
he Holocaust was a crime without presidence in modern history. The NAZIs targeted the Jews for death camps. Many were killed by SS Einsatzgruppen in large-scale actions at first in Poland and than on a larger scale in the Soviet Union. Others Jews were concentrated in Ghettos for slave labor and eventual dispatch to the death camps. Tragically it was not just the Germans involved, but in many countries the local population led by Fascist groups were all to willing to participate in the robbery and killing. Jewish children were among the first to be killed by the NAZIs. They had no economic value which could be exploited. They also were the seed for the future of the Jewish people. The NAZIs also saw them as a force for future retribution if they were not killed. The NAZIs are estimated to have murdered over a million Jewish children. One can not forget the images of the starving Jewish children on the Warsaw Ghetto whose parents had been killed. A great body of litterature exists on the Holocaust including the experiences of the children.
The Zionist Movement emerged from the Jewish experience in Western Europe. Great progress was made in emancipating Jews in Western Europe (throughout the 19th century). Jews became integrated into the national life, especially in Western European countries. Jews in Eastern Europe, especially the Russian Empire which included Poland were still denied extensive particiption in national life. And even pogroms contunued. It was thus in Eastern Europe that Zionism made its greatest progress. There was at the time an outlet, Jews could move to western Europe or emigrate to America. Only in America was Jewish emigration unlimited. Zionist debated the idea of a Jewish state. But even in Western Europe Jews found descrination as exemplified in the French Drefus Affair (1905). Only in America which was by no means free of decrimination did Zionism make no real headway. A call for a Jewish state thus gained support anong European Jews. It was, however, the NAZI Holocaust that created a steely determination among Jews that a Jewish state was indispensable. The NAZIs until 1939 had pursued a policy of dremigration. The NAZIs were willing to allows Jews to leave and in fact adopted policies to drive Jews out of Germany, even revoking their citizenship, confiscating property, and denying them all legal protections. In some cases they even expelled Jews. The problem was that Jews could not find countries willing to accept large numbers of Jews. Many Jews did leave Germany and more would have had they been able to find countries to accept them. American emigration policy became more restrictive after World War I. This was not directed specifically at Jews, but it did significantly limit the major haven for European Jews. And the problem of finding countries willing to accept Jews continued even at the Evian Confference (July 1938) when it was becoming increasingly clear where the NAZIs were headed. If a Jewish state had existed, millions of lives could have been saved. This was the idea that was on Jewish minds after World War II when partition and an independent Jewish state surfaced. Arab violence and the lack of a democratic tradition or the idea of minority rights only increased the determination of the Jews who had reached Palestine.
One of the most intractable conflicts of the 20th century is the conflict between Jews and Arabs over Palestine. The problem began in the 19th century, although the two groups trace their claims to the land back to Biblical times. Most Jews in the 19th century lived in Europe and accept for Russia after centuries of isolation and repression had schieved a high degree of integrtion in civil society. Most Jews had been emancified and were full citizens. Pogroms in Russia during the 19th century had driven many Jews to Western Europe and America. This resulted in rising anti-Semitism, but this was partially restrained by the force of law. Most Jews saw their future as Europeans. Zionism gained grown with the Russian Pogroms, but until the rise of the NASIs in Germany Zionism was supported by only a small minority. The NAZI Holocaust shatered Jewish society throughout Europe. Many of the surviving Jews turned to Zionism and in 1948 managed to obtain United Nations recognition for a new Jewish state in Palestine. This basic outline is historical fact. Virtually everything else about the conflict is a manter of contention. An unusual aspect of the current Isreali-Palestinian conflict is that children (Arab and Jewish) are not only the victims of the conflict, but they are also participating in the violence. We have all seen the images of rock-throwing Palestinian boys, some as little as 6 years old. Palestinian youth have carried out suicide bombing attacks killing Isrealis of all ages.
Lier, Daniel M. and Daniel Muller. Zionism and the British Mandate.
Herzl, Theodor. Judenstaat (1896).
Hess, Moses. Rome and Jerusalem (1862).
Peretz, Martin "The God that did not fail" The New Republic(September 8-15, 1997).
Pinsker, Leo. Auto-Emancipation (1882).
Navigate the Children in History Website:
[Return to the Main Judiaism page]
[Return to the Main Israel page]
[Introduction] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Climatology] [Clothing] [Disease and Health] [Economics] [Freedom] [Geography] [History] [Human Nature] [Ideology] [Law]
[Nationalism] [Presidents] [Religion] [Royalty] [Science] [Social Class]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Children in History Home]