October 2, 2000 | Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg
April 2, 1991
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.