Homeland for the Jewish people For the ongoing debate as to the nature of the State of Israel, see Jewish state
A homeland for the Jewish people
is an idea rooted in Jewish history, religion, and culture. In the early 19th century, the Napoleonic Wars
led to the idea of Jewish emancipation
This unleashed a number of religious and secular cultural streams and political philosophies among the Jews in Europe, covering everything from Marxism to Chassidism. Among these movements was Zionism
as promoted by Theodor Herzl
In the late 19th century, Herzl set out his vision of a Jewish state
and homeland for the Jewish people in his book Der Judenstaat
. Herzl was later hailed by the Zionist political parties as the founding father of the State of Israel
The Jewish aspiration to return to Zion
, generally associated with divine redemption, has suffused Jewish religious thought since the destruction of the First Temple
and the Babylonian exile
Although persecution of Jews was not limited to Europe, the modern movement for the creation of a secular homeland was perceived as a solution to the especially widespread anti-Semitism within Europe.
This became the centerpiece of secular political Zionism.
The Zionist movement was preceded by several Jewish groups that had already popularized the move to the Land of Israel
. For example, Israel ben Pereẓ of Polotsk
and hundreds of other Jewish groups settled in Israel from Europe, developing communities in Jerusalem, Hebron and around much of the country. This was in addition to the already existing communities of Sephardi and Ashkenazim in Tiberias, Tsfat and across the rest of the Jewish "Holy Land". Zionists, however, worked within the existing international legal framework, obtaining international legal rights in 1922. They also armed and defended themselves.
The modern legal attempts to establish a national homeland for the Jewish people began in 1839 with a petition by Moses Montefiore
to Sa'id of Egypt
for a Jewish homeland in the region of Palestine
Relation to Zionism
The book Der Judenstaat
(The Jewish State
, 1896) by Theodor Herzl
The draft of the objective of the modern Zionist movement submitted to the First Zionist Congress
of the Zionist Organization in 1897 read: "Zionism
seeks to establish a home for the Jewish people
in Palestine secured under public law." One delegate sought to insert the phrase "by international law",
which was opposed by others. A compromise formula was adopted, which came to be known as the Basel program
, and read:
Zionism aims at establishing for the Jewish people a publicly and legally assured home in Palestine.
the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.
The phrase "national home" was intentionally used instead of "state" because of opposition to the Zionist program within the British Cabinet. The initial draft of the declaration referred to the principle "that Palestine should be reconstituted as the National Home of the Jewish people."
In 1919 the general secretary (and future President) of the Zionist Organization
, Nahum Sokolow, published a History of Zionism (1600–1918)
He also represented the Zionist Organization at the Paris Peace Conference. He explained:
The object of Zionism is to establish for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by public law. "... It has been said and is still being obstinately repeated by anti-Zionists again and again, that Zionism aims at the creation of an independent "Jewish State" But this is wholly fallacious. The "Jewish State" was never part of the Zionist programme. The Jewish State was the title of Herzl's first pamphlet, which had the supreme merit of forcing people to think. This pamphlet was followed by the first Zionist Congress
, which accepted the Basle programme – the only programme in existence."
Britain officially committed itself to the objective set out in the Balfour Declaration by insisting on its forming the basis of the Mandate of Palestine
(which it could have avoided), which was formally approved by the League of Nations
in June 1922, and which formalised British
rule in Palestine which had started in 1917. The preamble of the Mandate declared:
Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on 2 November 1917
, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people...
In the late 1930s, the British Zionist League considered a number of other places where a Jewish homeland could be established. The Kimberley
region in Australia was considered until the Curtin
government (in office 1941–45) rejected the possibility.
With the support of the then Premier of Tasmania
, Robert Cosgrove
(in office from 1939), Critchley Parker proposed a Jewish settlement at Port Davey
, in south west Tasmania.
Parker surveyed the area, but his death in 1942 put an end to the idea.
Moves to statehood
In 1942, the Biltmore Program
was adopted as the platform of the Zionist Organization, with an explicit call "that Palestine be established as a Jewish Commonwealth." In 1946, the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry
, also known as the Grady-Morrison Committee
, noted that the demand for a Jewish State went beyond the obligations of either the Balfour Declaration or the Mandate and had been expressly disowned by the Chairman of the Jewish Agency as recently as 1932.
The United Nations Special Committee on Palestine said the Jewish National Home, which derived from the formulation of Zionist aspirations in the 1897 Basel program has provoked many discussions concerning its meaning, scope and legal character, especially since it had no known legal connotation and there are no precedents in international law for its interpretation. It was used in the Balfour Declaration and in the Mandate, both of which promised the establishment of a "Jewish National Home" without, however, defining its meaning. A statement on "British Policy in Palestine," issued on 3 June 1922 by the Colonial Office, placed a restrictive construction upon the Balfour Declaration. The statement excluded "the disappearance or subordination of the Arabic population, language or customs in Palestine" or "the imposition of Jewish nationality upon the inhabitants of Palestine as a whole", and made it clear that in the eyes of the mandatory Power, the Jewish National Home was to be founded in Palestine and not that Palestine as a whole was to be converted into a Jewish National Home. The Committee noted that the construction, which restricted considerably the scope of the National Home, was made prior to the confirmation of the Mandate by the Council of the League of Nations and was formally accepted at the time by the Executive of the Zionist Organization.
The Partition Resolution of the UN General Assembly died at birth when rejected by the Arabs. The UNGA has only the power to recommend.
In 1919 Harry Sacher wrote "A Jewish Palestine the Jewish case for a British trusteeship. In 1920 at San Remo the Allied Principal war powers selected this method. The Palestine Mandate is the trust agreement. Evidence of the intention of the settlors of the trust shows it was their intent to permit the Jews to settle immediately but not to rule until the defined territory contained a Jewish population majority and the capability to exercise sovereignty. Such evidence is the lodestar of the interpretation of the trust. Legal dominion in the collective political rights to self-determination vested in the Jewish People, the trust beneficiary, partly in 1948 and partly in 1967.
Founding of the State
The concept of a national homeland
for the Jewish people in the British Mandate of Palestine was enshrined in Israeli national policy and reflected in many of Israel's public and national institutions
. The concept was expressed in the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel
on 14 May 1948 and given concrete expression in the Law of Return
, passed by the Knesset
on 5 July 1950, which declared: "Every Jew has the right to come to this country as an oleh
This was extended in 1970 to include non-Jews with a Jewish grandparent, and their spouses. These declarations were widely condemned and considered racist by Palestinians.
While nowadays the concept of a Jewish homeland means almost always the State of Israel under some variation of its current borders, in the course of Jewish history
after ancient Israel and Judah
there have been other proposals
. While some of those have come into existence, others never came to be implemented.
Character of proposed state
There has been ongoing debate in Israel on the character of the state, regarding whether it should enshrine more Jewish culture
, encourage Judaism
in schools, and enshrine certain laws of Kashrut
observance. This debate reflects a historical divide within Zionism
and among the Jewish citizens of Israel, which has large secular
minorities as well as a majority of people who lie somewhere in between.
Secular Zionism, the historically dominant stream, is rooted in a concept of the Jews as a people that have a right to self-determination
. Another reason sometimes submitted for such establishment was to have a state where Jews would not be afraid of antisemitic
attacks and live in peace. But such a reason is not a requirement of the self-determination right and so is subsidiary to it in secular Zionist thinking.
, who believe that religious beliefs and traditional practices are central to Jewish peoplehood
, counter that assimilating to be a secular "nation like any other" would be oxymoronic
in nature, and harm more than help the Jewish people. They seek instead to establish what they see as an "authentic Jewish commonwealth" which preserves and encourages Jewish heritage.
Drawing an analogy to diaspora Jews
into other cultures and abandoned Jewish culture, whether voluntary or otherwise, they argue that the creation of a secular state in Israel is tantamount to establishing a state where Jews assimilate en masse
as a nation, and therefore anathema to what they view as Jewish national aspirations. Zionism is rooted in a concept of the Jews as a nation, in this capacity, they believe that Israel has a mandate to promote Judaism, to be the center of Jewish culture and center of its population, perhaps even the sole legitimate representative of Jews worldwide.
Partisans of the first view are predominantly, though by no means exclusively, secular or less traditional. Partisans of the second view are almost exclusively traditional or Orthodox, although they also include supporters who follow other streams of Judaism or are less traditional but conservative and would not object to a more prominent state role in promoting Jewish beliefs – although not to the point of creating a purely Halachic state
The debate is therefore characterised by significant polarities. Secular and religious Zionists argue passionately about what a Jewish state should represent. Post-Zionists
and Zionists argue about whether a Jewish state should exist at all. Because Israel was created within the sphere of international law as the instrument for Jewish self-determination, these polarities are captured by the questions such as, "should Israel maintain and strengthen its status as a state for the Jewish people, or become a state purely for "all of its citizens", or identify as both? And, if both, how to resolve any tensions that arise from their coexistence?. To date, Israel has steered a course between secularism
and Jewish identity
, usually depending on who controls the Israeli High Court of Justice
On 19 November 2008, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni
addressed the United Jewish Communities
General Assembly in Jerusalem. In her speech, she argued: "These two goals of Israel as a Jewish and a democratic state
must coexist and not contradict each other. So, what does that mean, a Jewish state? It is not only a matter of the number of Jews who live in Israel. It is not just a matter of numbers but a matter of values. The Jewish state is a matter of values, but it is not just a matter of religion, it is also a matter of nationality. And a Jewish state is not a monopoly of rabbis. It is not. It is about the nature of the State of Israel. It is about Jewish tradition. It is about Jewish history, regardless of the question of what each and every Israeli citizen does in his own home on Saturdays and what he does on the Jewish holidays. We need to maintain the nature of the State of Israel, the character of the State of Israel, because this is the raison d'etre of the State of Israel."
- ^ Napoleon and the Jews: Ben Weider, CM, PhD: Conference given at: International Congress of the International Napoleonic Society Allessandria, Italy June 21–26, 1997
- ^ William Bridgwater, editor-in-chief and focused on a homeland for Jews. The Columbia-Viking Desk Encyclopedia Jews, p. 906. Second Edition, Dell Publishing Co. [New York] 1964.
- ^ "The Avalon Project : Declaration of Israel's Independence 1948". Retrieved 21 May 2016.
- ^ "Rights and obligations". ynet. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
- ^ Butcher, Tim (28 June 2006). "Hamas U-turn on Israel's right to exist". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- ^ Sovereignty over the old city of Jerusalem: a study of the historical, religious, political and legal aspects of the question of the old city: Gauthier, Jacques Paul – Genève : Institut universitaire de hautes études internationales, 2007. 1142 pp.
- ^ Berlin, Adele (2011). The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion. Oxford University Press. p. 813. ISBN 9780199730049.
- ^ A. Arnin, in: B. Karu (ed.), Sefer Vitebsk (1957), 209–12; S. Ogurski (ed.), 1905 in Vaysrusland (1925), 164–71; Prestupleniya nemetsko-fashistskikh okkupantov v Belorussii (1963), 285–86.
- ^ Herzl, Theodor (1988) . "Biography, by Alex Bein". Der Judenstaat [The Jewish state]. transl. Sylvie d'Avigdor (republication ed.). New York: Courier Dover. p. 40. ISBN 978-0-486-25849-2. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
- ^ Jubilee Publication (1947). The Jubilee of the first Zionist Congress, 1897–1947. Jerusalem: Executive of the Zionist Organisation. pp. 108 pages, 2 leaves of platesPublished simultaneously in Hebrew, French, Spanish and Yiddish
- ^ "Jewish Virtual Library: The First Zionist Congress and the Basel Program".
- ^ "Sykes-Picot Agreement". Retrieved 21 May 2016.
- ^ Barzilay-Yegar, Dvorah (4 May 2017). A National Home for the Jewish People: The Concept in British Political Thinking and Policy Making 1917-1923. Vallentine Mitchell. ISBN 978-1-910383-32-2.
- ^ Stein, Leonard (1961). The Balfour Declaration. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 470.
- ^ "History of Zionism : 1600–1918". Internet Archive. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
- ^ History of Zionism (1600–1918), Volume I, Nahum Sokolow, 1919, Longmans, Green, and Company, London, pp. xxiv–xxv
- ^ "The Avalon Project : The Palestine Mandate". Retrieved 21 May 2016.
- ^ "The Uganda Proposal (1903)". www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org.
- ^ "First to Twelfth Zionist Congress (1897–1921)". www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org.
- ^ "Haven". Retrieved 6 November 2010.
- ^ Duffy, Conor (18 January 2010). "The plan for a Jewish homeland in Tasmania". The 7.30 Report. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 6 November 2010.
- ^ See Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry – Chapter V, the Jewish Attitude, 
- ^ See the report of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, UN Document A/364, 3 September 1947
- ^ "Text of Law of Return".
- ^ 
- ^ Wootliff, Raoul. "Israel passes Jewish state law, enshrining 'national home of the Jewish people'". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
- ^ Kershner, Isabel (19 July 2018). "Israel Passes Law Anchoring Itself as Nation-State of the Jewish People". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 19 July 2018. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
- ^ "The High Court of Justice Against the Israeli People". Haaretz. 11 January 2019. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
Shatz, Adam, "We Are Conquerors" (review of Tom Segev
, A State at Any Cost: The Life of David Ben-Gurion
, Head of Zeus, 2019, 804 pp., ISBN 978 1 78954 462 6
), London Review of Books
, vol. 41, no. 20 (24 October 2019), pp. 37–38, 40–42. "Segev's biography... shows how central exclusionary nationalism
were to Ben-Gurion
's vision of the Jewish homeland
, and how contemptuous he was not only of the Arabs
but of Jewish life outside Zion
. [Liberal Jews] may look at the state that Ben-Gurion built, and ask if the cost has been worth it." (p. 42 of Shatz's review.)
Last edited on 18 April 2021, at 05:28
Content is available under CC BY-SA 3.0
unless otherwise noted.