Zionism and the Creation of a New Society

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Oxford University Press, Jun 11, 1998 - History - 304 pages
Israel is a modern state whose institutions were clearly shaped by an ideological movement. The declaration of independence in 1948 was an immediate expression of the fundamental Zionist idea: it gave effect to a plan advocated by organized Zionists since the 1880s for solving the Jewish Problem. Thus, major Israeli political institutions, such as the party structure, embody principles and practices that were followed in the World Zionist Organization. In this respect, Israel is similar to other new states whose political institutions directly derive from the nationalist movements that won their independence. History and social structure are inseparably joined; the contemporary social problems of the new state are clearly rooted in its history, while the shape of its future is being decided by the very policies through which it is trying to solve these problems. At the same time, there are many unique aspects to the birth of Israel. The problem to be solved by acquiring sovereignty in Israel (and establishing a free Jewish society there) was the problem of a people living in exile. The first stage, therefore, was to return to the people a homeland to which they were intimately attached, not only in their dreams but in the minute details of their ways of life. This important book studies the birth of the State of Israel and analyzes the elaborately articulated and variegated ideological principles of the Zionist movement that led to that birth. It examines conflicting pre-state ideals and the social structure that emerged in Palestine's Jewish community during the Mandate period. In particular, Zionism and the Creation of a New Society reflects upon Israel's existence as both a state and a social structure--a place conceived before its birth as a means of solving a particular social malady: the modern Jewish Problem. Jehuda Reinharz and the late Ben Halpern carefully trace the development of the Zionist idea from its earliest expressions up to the eve of World War II, setting their study against a broad background of political and social development throughout Europe and the Middle East.

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The late Halpern (emeritus, Near Eastern studies, Brandeis) wrote The Idea of the Jewish State in 1961. Coauthored by Reinharz (president and professor of modern Jewish history at Brandeis), the noted ... Read full review

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1 The Social Sources of Zionism
2 The Setting
3 The Yishuv Old and New
4 Settlers and Patrons
5 The Conflict of Tradition and Idea
6 Zionism and the Left
7 The Young Workers
8 Growth of the Zionist Parties
9 The Hegemony of Labor
10 The National Home
11 The Transition from Yishuv to State
A Note on Bibliography

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Page 279 - Jehuda Reinharz, Fatherland or Promised Land: The Dilemma of the German Jew, 1893-1914 (Ann Arbor, Mich., 1975); Stephen M.
Page 274 - Henry J. Tobias, The Jewish Bund in Russia from its Origins to 1905 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1972).
Page 277 - Abstracts of ORBIS articles appear regularly in Historical Abstracts and America: History and Life, both of which are publications of the American Bibliographical Center, as well as in International Political Science Abstracts, published in Paris by the International Political Science Association.

About the author (1998)

Jehuda Reinharz is Richard Koret Professor of Modern Jewish History and President of Brandeis University. He is the author, editor, and coeditor of numerous volumes, including Essential Papers on Zionism (1996), Chaim Weizmann: The Making of a Statesman (OUP, 1993), Chaim Weizmann: The Making of a Zionist Leader (OUP, 1985), and Israel in the Middle East (OUP, 1984). Dr. Reinharz is also General Editor of the "Studies in Jewish History" series published by Oxford University Press. Ben Halpern (1912-1990) was Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. Among his distinguished studies of the modern Jewish experience are A Clash of Heroes: Brandeis, Weizmann, and American Zionism (OUP, 1987), The Idea of the Jewish State (1969), Jews and Blacks (1971), and The American Jew: A Zionist Analysis (1956).

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