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For at least two thousand years Jews were dispersed all over the world. Some of them inevitably assimilated with other nations. Yet many kept their identity as a nation by staying loyal to their religious faith and by their desire to survive as one people preserving common racial features and cultural traditions. Some European anti-Jewish tendencies and the suspicious attitude to Jews in oriental cultures contributed to their solidarity. For centuries Jews cherished the idea of returning to their native land. But it was only in the 19th century that the idea developed into a political movement called Zionism.
At first the movement was not very popular among Jews. There were supporters, but most rabbis considered the concept of restoring Israel possible only after the coming of the Messiah. The movement started in Russia and spread to other countries. The idea was elaborated first in the book by German socialist Hess who tried to prove that the Jews could create a socialistic state in Israel. Much more popular was another book by Z. Pinsker called "Auto-Emancipation" and published in 1882.
The book revealed the fact that the lack of Jewish own state accounts for social and psychological discomfort experienced by them. Under the influence of this publication clubs and study groups appeared in Russia, Where Jews were mostly persecuted. Russia was the first country from which Jews began to emigrate to Palestine for settling down. Despite the help from several powerful Jewish institutions in Europe, they faced many obstacles and hardships, in the first place because the country was ruled by the Turkish Government hostile to Russians. Enthusiasm of early Russian Zionists was mostly romantic and probably doomed to failure. The basis for mature political Zionism was created by Herzl, who wrote the work "Jews' state" in 1896.
He was a recognized author who summarized and explained the ideas of early Zionists to thousands of German-speaking Jews. In 1897 the first international Zionist Congress was held im Switzerland. At the Congress the goal of Zionism was determined as the establishment for the Jewish people of a home in Palestine guaranteed by public law. This statement implied colonization of Palestine, uniting all Jews, encouraging national awareness. The movement progressed after the Russian revolution of 1905, when lots of Jews emmigrated to USA; yet some chose Palestine. Palestine community established schools, newspapers, theaters, factories, owned by workers and collective farms. Hebrew became the spoken and written language.
However, the hard reality soon discouraged the pioneers. Because of the bad climate, malaria, sandy dessert soil and, what is most important, due to the opposition of Arabs ruled by the Ottoman Empire the began to leave the country. No European Government dared to offend the Turks by supporting the Zionists movement in Palestine. During World War 2 Great Britain began to speak officially for Zionism. The British Government issued a Declaration in which it expressed appreciation of the establishment of a national home for Jews in Palestine. The Declaration emphasized that England is ready to protect the political status and the rights of Jews in Palestine.
At the same time the British promised not to harm non-Jewish Communities. The promise was not properly kept. The modern Arab-Israel conflict originates; to much extent, from that distant time. After World War1 the British reigned in the Middle East and their policy was not consistent. They dominated Arabs and at the same time were suspicious of Zionists settlers. Later they tended to favor Arabs and at the same time encouraged Jews to settle down in Palestine.
These contradictory tendencies could be probably explained by the Jewish political pressure. On London and the League of Nations. In fact we can conclude that at the time the British no longer appreciated Jewish emigration to Palestine and stopped to be pro-Zionist. After many conflicts with Arabs Jewish were seeking the support of USA. In 1942 American Zionists adopted a program calling the British to make Palestine a Jewish state. In 1947 the Jewish-Arab conflict developed into a violent terrorist war.
Despite the protest in the United Nations, which wanted to postpone the formation of Jewish state to cool down the situation, in 1948, May 14, Tel-Aviv formally declared that the parts of Palestine under Jewish control were now an independent state of Israel. They promised the Arabs to ensure peace and called them to cooperation. The main goal of Zionism seemed to have been achieved. Nowadays, Zionism plays the leading role in modern Israel. It preserves and cherishes the Jewish Statehood by all means. Jews emigrate to Israel from all over the world. Zionism means to unite them all for the common faith and nationalism, for the material and spiritual prosperity.
There are achievements in all these areas. Zionism also contributed to the solidarity of Jews all through the world. However, this movement failed to assure stability and peace in the Middle East. During many years of struggle with Arabs, Turks, anti-Zionists the relations between the nations turned into pattern of hatred. Israel is not a state populated by Jews. Zionists ignore the interests of 2.5 million Arabs, they will never have security. No negotiations will help.
The Zionists goal to return The Land of Promise to Jews is still a bit of a dream. Bibliography:.
Research essay sample on Zionism