Jewish Political Studies Review Abstracts - Volume 3, Numbers 1-2 (Spring 5751/1991)
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Jewish Political Studies Review Abstracts

Volume 3, Numbers 1-2 (Spring 5751/1991)

Land, State and Diaspora in the History of the Jewish Polity - Daniel J. Elazar

The Jewish people represents the classic state-and-diaspora phenomenon of all time. Indeed, the term "diaspora" originated to describe the Jewish condition. In the 3500 years of the existence of the Jewish people, Jewish states have existed for roughly 1000 years, while Jewish diasporas have existed for at least 2600 years. For some 1500 years the Jewish people existed as an exclusively diaspora community. Nevertheless, the Jewish people not only preserved their integrity as an ethno-religious community, but continued to function as a polity throughout their long history through the various conditions of state and diaspora. This essay analyzes the unique characteristics of the Jewish people, particularly in the context of a world Jewish polity. An historical survey traces the patterns of development of the Jewish polity and its institutions from its original foundings through the beginning beginnings of diaspora and up to the present day.

The Jewish Experience of Oppression as Portrayed in the Old Testament: Leadership and Survival Strategies - Shirley Castelnuovo

This article examines two bargaining (accommodationist) types of leaders, the shtadlan and the court Jew, using Hebrew Bible and post-Biblical stories. Its focus is the notion of obligation as a way of understanding how leadership types can maximize the survival strategies of an oppressed group. Leaders organize, articulate, propose strategies, represent their group to the oppressor, and in general are critical to the survival and identity of the group. Different types of leaders differently affect a group's sense of its identity and sense of efficacy. This difference relates to the way obligation ties between members and between members and leaders are reconfirmed and validated.

The Bible and Intra-Jewish Politics: Early Rabbinic Portraits of King David - Stuart A. Cohen

This essay explores some of the concerns which might have influenced early rabbinic reconstructions of the private life and public career of King David. David and his monarchy were treated as vehicles for constitutional polemic, transposed into symbols of a particular type of ruler and regime. Three specific instances recorded in the Babylonian Talmud which lend themselves to political interpretation are discussed. When linked to allied early rabbinic dicta on the exercise and distribution of political power, they illustrate separate facets of what appears to have been an integrated constitutional doctrine. That doctrine is outlined and the purposes to which it was put are demonstrated.

Rabbinic Views on Kingship - A Study in Jewish Sovereignty: A Precis - David Polish

The debate over the nature and authority of Jewish governance did not first emerge with the creation of the State of Israel. It has its earliest roots in the Book of Deuteronomy and continues through the centuries in Rabbinic literature. The basis for the debate was the issue of whether kingship was divinely ordained (a mitzvah), and whether the people could have a king and still remain different from "all the nations."

Ben-Gurion and Jewish Foreign Policy - Giora Goldberg

This essay examines the Jewish basis of David Ben-Gurion's foreign policy. For Ben-Gurion, Israel was the sum and substance of everything Jewish. Therefore, his foreign policy was totally Israel-centric -- ideological when it came to matters of Israel's centrality and pragmatic when it came to Israel's survival. Ben-Gurion developed a unique interpretation of Judaism which enabled him to adopt policies and make decisions that would be compatible with his own version of Judaism while at the same time serving the collective interests of the new Jewish state. Such foreign policy issues as non-alignment, reaction to the alleged Jewish doctors' plot in the USSR, rapprochement with West Germany, attitudes towards South Africa, anti-Semitism in the diaspora, and the Eichmann trial are analyzed in this light. In practice, when Israeli interests contradicted the interests of Jewish communities in the diaspora, Ben-Gurion tended to favor Israel's interests. Yet, in cases where Israeli interests were not at stake, Ben-Gurion was ready to support the Jewish cause.

The Changing Character of American Jewish Leadership: Some Policy Implications - Jonathan Woocher

The study of policy-making in the Jewish community is a generally neglected area in contemporary research on Jewish life. One way to begin exploration of this domain is by looking at the characteristics of Jewish communal leaders, those who play the greatest role in policy-making. Over the past few decades leadership characteristics have been changing. Research and impressionistic evidence confirm that Jewish organizational leaders are more Jewishly-oriented, more focused on "survival" issues, and more formally socialized into leadership roles than in the past. These changes have a number of implications for both the substance of communal policies and the dynamics of policy-making which bear further study.

The Jewish Community of Cuba: Between Continuity and Extinction - Margalit Bejarano

The rise and subsequent decline of the Cuban Jewish community in the twentieth century embodies a unique chapter in the study of diaspora Jewry. Beginning with a group of U.S. Jews in a Spanish-speaking society, home to Ladino-speaking immigrants from the Ottoman Empire, a haven for Jews fleeing the Holocaust, witness to a mass exodus in the wake of the Castro Revolution, the Cuban Jewish community today continues to maintain a limited Jewish communal life under difficult conditions. Because Cuba lacks any tradition of religious antisemitism, there is no reported local antisemitic feeling, even though Cuba has taken a prominent anti-Zionist stand. Factors that threaten its disappearance as an organized community include demographic decline due to emigration, aging and assimilation; the lack of spiritual leadership; the poverty of Jewish educational and cultural activities; and the hostility of the majority society toward identification with religious institutions.

The Mizrachi Entrance into the WZO Educational Enterprise in the Diaspora - Henry F. Skirball

The basic ambivalence of Mizrachi/Poalei Mizrachi toward institutionalized Zionist education in the diaspora, which from the beginning of the twentieth century was deemed to be primarily secular in nature, evolved from a non-participatory stance to an active -- even aggressive -- participation via what it termed "Jewish" or "Torah education," which was considered by them to be ipso facto true Zionist education. During the initial three years of the State of Israel, Mizrachi/Poalei Mizrachi exploited the political realities of both the state and the World Zionist Organization in order to establish as a base its own separate WZO Department of Torah Education and Culture for the Diaspora.