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Spinoza, though not a major figure in Zionist thought, recurs persistently in the works of Zionist writers. What is the significance of Spinoza for them? Some see him as an inspiring character; others see him as a Zionist before his time. The article examines, first, how a Jew who abandoned his people could inspire those dedicated to their people; and, secondly, whether Spinoza can in any way be called a Zionist. It is concluded that Spinoza, though no Zionist, embraced some key elements of Zionist thought, and thus might fairly be called a “proto-Zionist,” and that the later Zionists were indeed influenced by these teachings of Spinoza.


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