>>>The People of the Second Aliyah
The People of the Second Aliyah 2018-02-19T22:12:00+02:00

The People of the Second Aliyah

Abraham David Gordon


A.D. Gordon was the spiritual mentor of the people of the Second Aliyah and the spiritual leader of the party, Hapoel Hatzair (The Young Worker). He believed that the “Diaspora parasitism” and the non-involvement in productive work were the greatest affliction and the root of the problems of the Jewish people. Therefore, a central part of his plan to remedy the situation was to connect the Jewish people to physical and agricultural labor. It was the experience (a word which he renewed) of labor, he believed, that linked the individual to the hidden aspects of nature and being, which, in turn were the source of vision, poetry, and the spiritual life. Furthermore, he also believed that working the land was a sacred task, not only for the individual but for the entire Jewish people. Agriculture would unite the people with the land and justify its continued existence there. He espoused the idea that: “The Land of Israel is acquired through labor, not through fire and not through blood.”

“If my voice could be heard, I would call on everyone who felt he could to come here and work the land of the Land of Israel. For Zion… to be revived, there is no need for those Jews who are stuck in the Diaspora. Zion is ready to embrace dedicated, devoted workers, willing to bear and suffer everything. Those are the ones who should come here and work here. That is the true patriotic work, worthy of being called Zionism, and that is the only one which has the right to bear that name.

The first letter written by A.D. Gordon from the Land of Israel.

Manya Shochat


Manya (Wilbushewitch) Shochat was a leader and revolutionist in Czarist Russia. In the Land of Israel, she was a leader of the Zionist Labor movement in the Land of Israel, one of the leaders of “Bar Giora”, “Hashomer” “The Secret Kibbutz”, “Gdud HaAvoda” (The Labor Brigade), and Kibbutz Kfar Giladi, among others.
After the death of her mother, her brother Nachum Wilbushewitch, who lived in the Land of Israel, sent her a letter in which he wrote that he was sick and he asked her to come and take care of him. Upon receiving the letter, Manya came to Israel on January 2, 1904. When she understood that her brother’s letter was actually a trick to get her to come to the Land of Israel she was very angry and wanted to go back. However, afterwards, she agreed to accompany him on a research expedition to find sources of water in the Land of Israel. Following the expedition, she initiated a settlement plan in the Hauran area on land owned by the Baron Rothschild. She continued to work on this plan for many years, alongside her work in “Hashomer”. While on the expedition, she fell in love with the Land of Israel and decided to stay.
In 1907, Manya traveled to Europe, the United States and Canada, where she learned about the different kinds of communist settlements. That year, she met Israel Shochat, a man of the Second Aliyah, and married him in 1908. Together, they founded the collective organization of Jewish workers, “The Collective” in Segera (Ilaniya), the secret organization, “Bar Giora” (1907) and “Hashomer” (1909).
After the outbreak of World War I, the Ottoman government expelled the couple from the Land of Israel, along with many of their friends, leaders of the Yishuv, leaders of organizations and institutions and leaders of labor parties. They were exiled to Bursa in Turkey, where they remained until the end of the war.

Do you know why this land almost slipped through our hands even though we paid for it in full? The land was bought ten or twenty years ago. It was impossible for Jews to settle the land at once and it was leased to Arabs and in the end, they didn’t want to leave the land.
Yes my dear, the Jews don’t want to work in the Land of Israel and you have to be very careful when telling them the truth. And yet it is very easy to help. Do you want to?

From a letter that Manya sent to Henrietta Szold

David Ben Gurion


David Ben Gurion was a man of the Second Aliyah, the head of the leadership of the “nascent state”, the driving force behind the establishment of the State of Israel, and the declarer of the independence of the State of Israel. After its birth, he led the State for 15 years, until 1963. He served as the first Prime Minister and Minister of Defense of Israel and he was a leader of the labor movement. His understanding of the importance of a national army led him to disband the militias on the eve of the War of Independence and to establish the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
In 1906, when he was only 20 years old, he came to Israel as part of the Second Aliyah. Years later, he said that was the greatest day of his life. The second greatest day was during the Six Day War when the Temple Mount (Har Haba’it) was liberated.
In his first years in the Land of Israel, he worked as a farmer in Petach Tikva, Segera, where he was also a guard, Menahemia, Zichron Ya’akov, Kfar Saba and the Kinneret Farm


He joined the socialist-Zionist party, “Poalei Zion” and was among the leaders of the right-wing faction of the party, He was one of the five members of the Central Committee. In 1907, at the second session of the committee of “Poalei Zion”, which was held in Jaffa, he succeeded in adding the clause, “The party aspires to an independent state for the Jewish people in this land.” He also managed to get elected (together with Israel Shochat) to the two-member committee which would reorganize the party.
In 1917, following the Balfour Declaration and the conquest of the land by the British, he was among those who encouraged people to volunteer for the “Hebrew Brigades”, and he himself was one of the first to volunteer. In 1918, he reached Egypt as a member of the 39th Brigade of the King’s marksmen in the British army and from there, he continued to the Land of Israel. In 1919, together with Berl Katznelson, he founded the party, Ahdut HaAvoda , which merged “Poalei Zion” with unaffiliated groups.
At the beginning of the 1920s, Ben Gurion became one of the most outstanding leaders of the Yishuv. In 1920, he was one of the founders of the HaHistadrut HaKlalit and served as its Secretary General for 15 years. He saw in the Histadrut not only s professional organization which would protect the workers in the Land of Israel, but also a social and economic tool that would establish an framework for self-employed workers. He also saw it as a political institution that would lead the Jewish settlement and would lay the foundations for the future state.

The State of Israel will prove itself not by material wealth, not by military might or technical achievement, but by its moral character and human values.
David Ben Gurion~

דוד בן גוריון

Boris Schatz


Boris (Baruch) Schatz was a Jewish artist and sculptor. He was the founder of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. In 1903, he met Herzl and became an ardent Zionist. One of his concerns was to find sources of income for the Jewish immigrants in the Land of Israel. His idea was to teach them to make artistic utensils and to export them to Europe. From this idea, which was never realized, Schatz raised another idea at the Zionist Congress in 1906. He suggested establishing a school for Hebrew arts and masterpieces.


In 1906, he established a center for arts in Jerusalem, which eventually became the Bezalel Academy, named after the biblical Bezalel Ben Uri, the designer and planner of the Tabernacle and its ritual objects.
Schatz organized exhibitions of the works of his students in Europe and the United States. Those were the first international exhibitions of Jewish artists from the Land of Israel. Schatz (together with Rachel Yanait Ben Zvi and Ze’ev Ashur) also organized the party cell of “Poalei Zion” in Jerusalem and within it, unions of masons and printers. He espoused class solidarity and professional pride of workers – artists. He gathered around him artists, craftsmen, workers and intellectuals in a commune, “The New Jerusalem”. Yitzhak and Rachel Yanait Ben Zvi and the artist, Ira Jan were in the group.

Israel Shochat


Israel Shochat was one of pioneers of the Second Aliyah. He was one of the founders of “Bar Giora” and the popular leader of “Hashomer” until it was disbanded. He was a member of the Labor Brigade and one of the leaders of the secret organization, “Hakibbutz”. He was also active in the Israeli labor movement.
In 1907, together with Yitzhak Ben Zvi, he founded “Bar Giora” at a “Poalei Zion” conference. Shochat worked in the area of defense and was chosen to be head of the organization. Members of the organization assembled in Segera. Most of them were members of the collective that had been founded by Manya Shochat. In 1908 Manya and Israel got married. There in Segera, Israel let Manya in on the secret of “Bar Giora”. After the success of “Bar Giora”, its members extended their activities and in 1909, they formed “Hashomer”. Shochat was chosen as the leader.

רחל ינאית בן-צבי


רחל ינאית בן-צבי הייתה סופרת ומחנכת, אגרונומית בהשכלתה. בן-צבי הייתה מהפעילות המרכזיות של תנועת העבודה, פעילה בהגנה העצמית היהודית ביישוב ואשת ציבור במדינת ישראל. אשתו של איש הציבור, ההיסטוריון ונשיא מדינת ישראל יצחק בן צבי.

ינאית הצטרפה לפעילות במפלגת “פועלי ציון” בנעוריה, בעקבות הזעזוע שעוררו בה הידיעות על פרעות קישינב ב-1903. ב-1905 עברה לקייב, שם נאסרה על ידי השלטונות. לאחר ששוחררה נסעה לגרמניה ולמדה זואולוגיה ובוטניקה באוניברסיטת יֶנה. במהלך לימודיה נסעה לקונגרס הציוני ה-7 בבזל כנציגת עיירתה. בקונגרס בלטה בקרב “ציוני ציון”, שהתנגדו לתוכנית אוגנדה.

ב-1907 הגתה ינאית את הרעיון להקמת קופה לעידוד ההגירה של פועלים יהודים לארץ-ישראל וביסוסם הכלכלי, החברתי והתרבותי במשק של היישוב (לימים קפא”י – קופת פועלי ארץ ישראל), במאמר שפרסמה בעיתון “פארווערטס”. באותה שנה נבחרה לחברת מרכז המפלגה, והייתה ה”חברה” (כלומר אשה) היחידה.

בשנת 1908 עלתה לארץ ישראל בעקבות מכתב שקראה אודות מאורעות תרס”ח‏. לאחר שהות קצרה ביפו, שם התקיימה ועידת מפלגת פועלי ציון, עברה ינאית להשתקע בירושלים בעקבות יצחק בן צבי. היא הייתה חברה בקומונת “ירושלים החדשה” ומהמורים הראשונים בגימנסיה העברית בירושלים. בנוסף להוראה עבדה כפועלת דפוס בבית הדפוס הקואופרטיבי “דפוס אחדות” והייתה בין מנהיגי איגוד עובדי הדפוס, והנהיגה (עם זאב אשור) את השביתה הראשונה של פועלים עברים בארץ ישראל, שביתה שלוותה בהפגנות סוערות נגד בעלי בתי דפוס ערבים ויהודים כאחד שניצלו פועלים והשפילו אותם.

ינאית עסקה יחד עם בעלה לעתיד בשמירה ובהגנה – תחילה בארגון “בר גיורא” ולאחר מכן בארגון “השומר”.

ביקשתי להעלים את סערת רוחי ונשאתי עיני במעלה הכותל – הזמן לא יכול לאבנים, מדברות הן אל הלב ומספרות על העבר יותר מכל ספר ומגילה.
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