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Does Israel Have a Navel? Anthony Smith and Zionism

Moshe Berent

Ernest Gellner notes that the quarrel between himself and Anthony Smith could be summarized by the question: do nations have navels? According to his modernist outlook, while some nations might have navels, others do not, and in any case it is not important; while in Smith's conception, navels constitute an 'ethnic core', essential for nation-building. Yet in the pre–independence nation-building process, what Smith considers Israel's ethnic core—mainly the concepts of the 'Chosen People' and 'Holy Land'—either did not have the same meaning or did not play the important role that Smith attributes to them. Indeed, Smith's account of Zionism is a post–independence invention and in this respect a further corroboration of modernism.

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Zionism between Raw Force and Eros: Berdichevski's Passionate Relation to the Jewish Political Revolution

Revital Amiran-Sappir

This article deals with the relation of Micha Yosef Ben Gurion (Berdichevski)—one of the central formulators of the Zionist idea and of modern Hebrew literature—to the Zionist political sphere. As a wordly Jewish intellectual, Berdichevski attempted to establish a kind of Zionism that would allow Jewish individuals to engage in it as an act of their desires. In exploring how his carnal inclinations affected his vision of the political, I argue that Berdichevski's perception fails qualitatively by transposing its guiding sensual approach to the formulation of the new Jewish political sphere. As this article will show, Berdichevski's relation to the Jewish political revolution reveals a sometimes limited perception regarding the possibilities of freedom inherent in political activity and often contradicts his own aspiration to nurture the liberty of Jewish individuals.

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The End Point of Zionism

Ethnocentrism and the Temple Mount

Tomer Persico

connection to the workings of the divine realms ( Scholem [1926] 1992: 59–61 ). In writing about the conjured-up “messianic claim,” 1 Scholem alerts his readers to the force of the messianic Eros and Zionism’s susceptibility to its allure, particularly when

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Space, Place and Gender in German Cultural Zionism

Paula Winkler on the Jewish Home

Rose Stair

Early twentieth-century cultural Zionist claims often hinged upon binary distinctions: cultural vs. political Zionism, homeland vs. exile, immaterial vs. material. Entangled with many of these distinctions was a further binary: male vs. female

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A Short Reflection on Martin Buber and Zionism

Howard Cooper

education and Jewish purpose, and his philosophy of dialogue have accompanied my own religious journey for over fifty years. Moreover, his writings on Israel and Zionism are still inspirational, and, I would suggest, still have a contribution to make to our

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Why Were the Founders of Liberal Judaism in Britain Opposed to Zionism?

Lev Taylor

kashrut in favour of personal religious devotion. 7 As in other countries, the Liberals rejected Zionism. 8 The Zionists and the Liberals were both internally heterogenous groups, meaning that it is difficult to speak of either in general terms

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Post-Zionist Studies of Israel - The First Decade

Uri Ram

The present article focuses upon post-Zionism as an emergent counter-hegemonic discourse in contemporary Israel. Offered here are a broad analysis and survey of post-Zionism in the following order: (1) a review of the history of the concept 'post-Zionism' since its emergence in 1993, as well as a retrospective view of its sources; (2) an exposure of manifestations of post-Zionist culture in Israel; (3) an analysis of four dif- ferent theories of post-Zionism; (4) an account of some ideological con- troversies surrounding post-Zionism; and (5) an evaluation of the state of post-Zionism in the mid 2000s and an estimation of its future prospects. In the spirit of critical theory it is argued that post-Zionism should not be weighted in positivistic terms of popularity or effectiveness but rather in terms of an 'immanent' category, which taps undercurrents, and a 'tran- scendent' category, which points to exogenous normative horizons.

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Hitchabrut or Connecting - Liberal Houses of Study in Israel as Political and Spiritual Expression

Adina Newberg

Over the last fifteen years Israeli culture has witnessed the development of batey midrash (houses of Jewish studies) modeled after traditional batey midrash, but without regard for halakhah and open to men and women alike. They represent an attempt to connect and reconnect to the sources of Jewish learning and strive to reconcile uni- versalistic and pluralistic aspects of Israelis' identity with their Jewish identity that has been dormant since the establishment of the state of Israel. With a reflective and pluralistic educational approach the batey midrash present opportunities for exploration of students' relationship to tradition, to Israel and Zionism, God, their communities, their own spiritual path, and the 'other' in all its representations. As the continu- ing conflict with the Palestinians renders existence in Israel ever more difficult, more existential questions arise, requiring a deepening of the Jewish connection so that the two sides' worlds are in dialogue.

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Rabbi John Rayner, Ethical Zionism and Israel

Avi Shlaim

Rabbi John Rayner was an eminent proponent of ethical Zionism. His views about Israel are related in this article to his views about Judaism and Jewish ethics. The three pillars of Judaism are: truth, justice and peace. Rabbi Rayner personified these values to a remarkable degree. The common thread that runs through his countless sermons and articles was the emphasis on the gentler and more outward-looking values of Judaism. It is by cultivating and exemplifying these values, he believed, that Jews could best help humanity find signposts to justice and peace, not only in the Middle East but everywhere. Ethical Zionism, as understood by Rabbi Rayner, is based on Jewish values. The State of Israel is the main political progeny of the Zionist movement. It follows that the State of Israel ought to reflect Jewish values in its external relations. In the event of a clash between Israeli behaviour and Jewish ethics, Rabbi Rayner invariably came down on the side of Jewish ethics. He consistently placed principle above pragmatism and morality above expediency. He was an honest and courageous man who always spoke truth to power.

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Looking at Zionism from New and Challenging Perspectives

Avi Shilon

.95. Three fascinating books recently published demonstrate alternative options for Zionism and its understanding. By reading them we can also get a deep and better understanding of new developments that have taken place in recent decades in Israeli society