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What is Zionism:
Israel’s Founding Debates

Do all Zionists share the same vision for the Jewish State? In this course, we will explore the foundational debates and key ideas of the modern Zionist movement. Through stories, speeches, essays, and primary texts, we will try to make sense of the competing strategies for re-establishing Jewish life in the land of Israel. We will return to some of Israel’s founding figures to explore the many forms of Zionism: Is Zionism meant to save the Jews from physical destruction or to renew the Jewish spirit? What is the relationship between Zionism and Judaism? Does Zionism demand that Jews change who they are or is the Jewish State a place for Jews to live with the full richness of their past lives in the Diaspora? By studying figures such as Moses Hess, Theodore Herzl, Ahad Ha’am, Max Nordau, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, and Haim Nachman Bialik, we will probe how different views of Zionism shape the past, present, and future of the Jewish State.