>>The Forerunners of Zionism
The Forerunners of Zionism 2018-02-19T22:12:02+00:00


Some background information

The Jewish people yearned for Zion in its long years of Diaspora. This yearning to return is an inseparable part of the belief and the culture of the Jewish people throughout its history in the Diaspora. If the Jewish people has always been Zionist, how is it possible to decide when Zionism started?

The Forerunners of Zionism

What is Zionism? When did it start?

Zionism is a Jewish national movement which began in the second half of the nineteenth century. Its goal was to establish a Jewish democratic state in the Land of Israel. There were a number of different streams and philosophies within the movement. Zionism as a national movement began with the taking of actual steps to return to Zion. Before then, there had been yearnings, prayers, tears and the Aliyah of individuals who dreamed of a return to Zion. The Zionist movement was different in that, for the first time, there was a taking of responsibility for the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. This Zionist awakening was part of nationalist movements which were sweeping through Europe.

The Forerunners of Zionism and “The Return to Zion” Movement

The Hibat Zion (Lovers of Zion) movement was preceded by The Forerunners of Zionism who influenced the formation of the Zionist movement.
In the nineteenth century, three people, whom today we call the forerunners of Zionism, were active. They were Rabbi Yehuda Alkalai, Rabbi Zvi Hersh Kalisher and Moshe Hess. All these people shared the belief that the redemption of the Land of Israel would be achieved not through miracles, but through natural means. Therefore, they took practical steps to return the Jews to their land.
The first organized attempt to settle the Land of Israel was led by the Return to Zion movement, which was founded by Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Kalisher, who was the moving force behind the movement. Rabbi Elijahu Guttmacher and Rabbi Yehuda Alkalai helped him on both the philosophical and practical level.

Rabbi Zvi Hersh Kalisher

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He was born into a family of rabbis. He served as the rabbi of Thorn, in what was then Prussia. Rabbi Kalisher believed that the Emancipation movement and the involvement of Jews in international politics and banking was a sign that the Jews could establish a state of their own. He believed that the redemption of Israel would not happen at once as the result of divine intervention, but would come about in several stages, which would be dependent on the first stages. They would involve the support of other nations as well as the Jews’ active involvement in redeeming the Land of Israel.
Rabbi Kalisher believed that the agricultural and economic development of the Land of Israel would enable large numbers of people to make Aliyah. In addition, he attached great importance to the observance of sacrifice on the Temple Mount as part of the redemption.He did not believe there was any religious basis to prevent such sacrifices. Nevertheless, when he understood that there was much opposition to his view of sacrifices, he abandoned the idea and focused on the importance of the command to settle the Land of Israel. He expressed his ideas of settling the Land of Israel in his book, Derishat Zion, 1862.

אז מה עוד צריך לדעת על מבשרי הציונות?

 

Rabbi Yehuda Alkalai

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He was born in Bosnia. At the age of eleven he moved to the Land of Israel. When still very young, he was ordained as a rabbi in Jerusalem. In 1825, when he was 27 years old, he was sent to be the rabbi of a city near Belgrade in Serbia. He returned to the Land of Israel and died in Jerusalem in 1878.
Influenced by the blood libel in Damascus in 1840, he wrote The Offering of Judah, in which he calls for Jews to “ascend” to the Land of Israel. Through his writings, he encouraged people to come to the Land of Israel. In addition, he was in contact with the Ottoman regime, The Alliance israélite universelle and banks in order to advance the idea of establishing a Homeland for the Jews in the Land of Israel. In Jerusalem, he established the Society for the Settlement of Jews in the Land of Israel.

Moshe Hess

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Moshe Hess was a writer and philosopher, among the forerunners of Labor Zionism. He was one of the first leaders of the Socialist movement in Europe. In his book, Rome and Jerusalem: The Last National Question (1862), he expressed his nationalistic views. Hess based his belief in Jewish nationalism on the “nationalistic spirit” that characterized the ancient Jewish state. In order to safeguard this spirit and prevent it from disappearing, he believed that the Jews must return to the Land of Israel, acquire land, build agricultural settlements and industrial and commercial enterprises. Hess did not limit himself to sketching theoretical plans, but worked hard to realize his ideas. However, he was unable to do so as his ideas failed to attract attention. His book was almost completely forgotten until it was published again years later, at which time The First Zionist Congress recognized it as one of the cornerstones of political Zionism.

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This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

הבהרה חשובה :

אתר זה מיועד למטרות למידה בלבד, ולא לשום מטרה מסחרית.

בשימוש באתר זה, הנך מצהיר שכניסתך לאתר היא לצורך לימוד וקבלת סקירה על חידון הציונות והמורשת בלבד ולא לכל מטרה אחרת.