Publications by Rachel Simon
Contacts between the Jewish communities of Palestine and the diaspora continued throughout the ages by shlichim (emissaries) who were sent from Palestine. This essay examines the background, goals, and activities of shlichim to Libya in the twentieth century, taking the earlier period as a background. In addition to traditional emissaries, an increasing number of Zionist ones were sent to Libya, at first imitating the practices of traditional ones. Gradually, the Zionist emissaries tried to transform the community and prepare it for emigration to Israel professionally, socially, culturally, and politically.
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The development of the Zionist movement in Libya was an evolutionary process which brought changes in ways of thinking and behavior without detaching completely from tradition. New social and economic elements entered public life (lower middle class and women) and changes took place in education (modern Hebrew language and literature and modern Jewish history). This is not to say, however, that those social elements did not have any part in public life beforehand, but now their involvement became a mainstream one. Similarly, traditional education did not cease, and the old political guard continued to exist: the official communal leadership was manned by it, and Zionist leaders were observant Jews who were backed by many rabbis. Despite the growing involvement of women, they hardly reached leadership positions. The impact of the Zionists. Read More »