Jewish Political Studies Review Abstracts - Volume 9, Numbers 1 & 2 (Spring 5757/1997)
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Jewish Political Studies Review Abstracts

Volume 9, Numbers 1 & 2 (Spring 5757/1997)

Zionism at 100

Bernhard Felsenthal: The Zionization of a Radical Reform Rabbi - Leon Jick

This article traces Bernhard Felsenthal's ideological and institutional odyssey from extreme radical Reform to committed Zionism. In the face of the overwhelming opposition of his Reform colleagues, Felsenthal endorsed and embraced the nascent Zionist movement and devoted his final years to its support.

This is Only the Fact, But We Have the Idea: Solomon Schechter's Path to Zionism - David B. Starr

In 1905, after much hesitation, and in spite of significant opposition from lay supporters of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Solomon Schechter declared publicly his allegiance to Zionism. This essay explores his path to that occurrence, and argues that three factors influenced his course of action. First, the events of 1904 and 1905: Herzl's death, the Russian pogroms in the fall of 1905, and the continuing interest in territorialism, all of which suggested a need for leadership and a program that could unify world Jewry. Second, Schechter's rethinking of his antipathy for Herzlian political Zionism, which he opposed as irreligious, but which now struck him as less salient than Zionism's utility in the fight against Jewish assimilation. Third, Schechter's emergence as a communal leader, which led him to consider new platforms from which he could propound his views on manifold issues in Jewish life. This represented a significant change from his years in England, when he held many of the same ideological positions, as revealed in personal correspondence, but circumstances and his own role were quite different.

The Unknown Essays of Vladimir Jabotinsky (Research Note) - Louis Gordon

While most of Vladimir Jabotinsky's articles have been published in various volumes of collected writings and have thus been available to scholars for years, a number of his essays remain unknown to both scholars as well as his disciples. This is largely due to the fact that the Revisionist party's archives were destroyed during the bombing of London, but also because of the wide range of publications in which Jabotinsky published. This article introduces four recently discovered essays, "Self- Administration for Palestine" (1920), "The Justice of the Jewish Claim" (1921), "Shall the Jewish Middleman be Spared" (1930), and "The Jewish Mission, the Religious Ideals of the Jew and of the Aryan Compared" (1923), and discusses how they add to our understanding of Jabotinsky as well as their continued relevance for our own era.

The Jewish Farmers in Belarus During the 1920s - Leonid Smilovitsky

Revolution and civil war in Russia (1917-1921) precipitated far-reaching changes in the life of Belarus Jewry. The shtetls (settlements) were extremely overpopulated and Jews eventually sought and found an escape. In 1923, 18 percent of Soviet Jewry lived in Belarus. This essay describes the attitude of the authorities to the problem of Jewish land tenure regulation in the New Economic Policy, creation of individual farms, cooperatives and collective farms, and attitudes to that of the Belarussian peasantry. Despite the fact that the Jewish population in Belarus was mainly urban, beginning in the mid- 1920s Jewish agriculture began to be taken seriously. The number of collective farms founded by Belarussians decreased from 287 to 235, while at the same time Jewish ones increased from 127 to 145, although the majority of Jews preferred to work in a private economy. The Jewish farmers were very enterprising and made use of various agronomical and technical innovations.

Zionist activists, not without reason, were strongly opposed to Jewish land tenure in Belarus, considering it to be a Bolshevik trick. At the beginning of the 1930s, Jewish farmers were forcibly absorbed by the Belarussian general collective farms during Stalin's collectivization policy. Its agricultural institutions gradually degenerated and by the end of the decade most were liquidated.

Shlichim from Palestine in Libya - 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.

Changing Concepts of Movement Democracy: The Case of the Israeli Labor Movement - Nathan Yanai

This article identifies and analyzes three concepts of democracy that have developed in the history of the Israeli Labor movement: institutional, competitive and pioneer. The institutional concept originated in the Labor party, and the Federation of Labor (Histadrut); the competitive concept was fully articulated by members of the circle of young leaders of Mapai in the 1950s; and the pioneer concept was developed by the collectivist kibbutz movement. The differences among the three concepts are discussed in relation to the suggested distinction between a system of democratic choice and a system of democratic approval. The former recognizes elections as a sufficient source of legitimacy; the latter, adds to it other tests (normative and constructive). Accordingly, the system of choice is open to competitive election, while the selection of leaders in the system of approval is carried out by an inner circle, and the formal election is turned into a ritual act of approval.

The article discusses the clash between the institutional and competitive concepts of democracy in Mapai (1930-1968); the kibbutz and the pioneer approach; the collective charismatic assertion of founding leaders; and finally, the current victory of the competitive concept of democracy that was coupled with the weakening of the historic institutions of the Israeli Labor movement -- party organization, Histadrut, and kibbutz.

Jewish-Israeli Identity among Israel's Future Teachers - Yair Auron

The question of Jewish-Israeli identity is one of present-day Israeli society's cardinal and pressing issues. The identity of a citizen of Israel is not that of a purely Israeli identity, nor is it a purely Jewish identity. It is, in varying degrees, a synthesis of Jewish and Israeli components, depending on the particular subgroups or subidentities. Stress develops around the relationship between Jewishness and Israeliness and around the relationship between Jewish religion and Jewish nationality. Our findings revealed four distinct models of Jewish-Israeli identity: 1) Non-religious (secular); 2) Traditionalist (religious tradition-oriented); 3) National religious (State Religious sector); 4) Ultra-Orthodox (Independent sector). A meaningful shift has occurred in the attitude of Israeli youth toward the Holocaust. The Holocaust has become a major factor, at times the uppermost factor, of Jewish identity. However, the meaningful shift in attitudes toward the Holocaust does not involve a shift in attitude with regard to other periods in the history of the Jewish diaspora, nor is there any change in attitude toward Jews living in the diaspora.