The origin of the word "Zionism" is the Biblical word "Zion", often used like synonymous of Jerusalem and of Earth of Israel (Eretz Israel). Zionism is an ideology that expresses the wishes of the Jews of the whole world towards his historical homeland - Zion, the Earth of Israel.
The hope of the comeback to his ancestral homeland was supported firstly by the Jews exiled to Babylonia approximately 2.500 years ago behind - a hope that subsequently became true. ("Along with the rivers of Babylonia, we were sitting down and crying, remembering Zion". Psalms 137:1). This way, the political Zionism, which arose in the XIXth century, invented neither the concept nor the practice of the comeback. Rather, it appropriated of an ancient idea and of an active movement and adapted them so that they were answering to the needs and to the spirit of the moment.
The nucleus of the Zionist idea appears in the Declaration of the establishment of the State of Israel (May 14, 1948), which it supports, between other things, that: "Eretz Israel was the cradle of the Jewish people. Here there was forged his spiritual, religious and political identity. Here it achieved for the first time his sovereignty, creating cultural values of national and universal meaning and bequeathed to the world the eternal Book of the Books.
After having being exiled by the force of his ground, the people kept loyalty during all his dispersion and it never stopped praying and waiting for his comeback for her for the restoration of his political freedom."
The bases of the Zionism
The idea of the Zionism is based on the long connection between the Jewish people and his ground, a tie that began almost 4.000 years ago behind when Abraham settled in Canaán later known as the Earth of Israel. The wishes for Zion and the Jewish immigration continued along the period of exile that continued to the Roman conquest and to the destruction of the Temple in the year 70 EC.
In the Zionist thought there is central the concept of the Earth of Israel as the place of the historical birth of the Jewish people and the conviction that the Jewish life in any other place is a life in the exile. Moses Hess, in his book Rome and Jerusalem (1844), it expressed this idea: "Two periods shaped the development of the Jewish civilization: the first one, after the liberation of Egypt, and the second one, the comeback of Babylonia. The third one will come with the redemption of the third exile". For centuries in the diaspora, the Jews supported a strong and singular relation with his historical homeland and showed his wish towards Zion by means of rituals and literature.
Although the Zionism expresses the historical tie that relates the Jewish people to the Earth of Israel, the modern Zionism might not have arisen like active national movement in the XIXth century without the anti-Semitism of the epoch, which they preceded centuries of pursuit.
With running of the centuries, the Jews were expelled from practically all the European countries - Germany and France, Portugal and Spain, England and Wales - an accumulative experience that had deep impact, especially in the XIXth century when the Jews had left the hope of a fundamental change in his lives. From this way there arose Jewish leaders who went to the Zionism as result of the virulent anti-Semitism in the societies who were surrounding them. This way Moses Hess terrified before the blood libel of Damascus (1840) turned into father of the Socialistic Zionism; Leon Pinsker shaken by the pogroms (1881-1882) that continued to the murder of Czar Alexander II, assumed the leadership of the movement of Jibat Tzión; and Teodoro Herzl, who as journalist in Paris attended the virulent anti-Semitic campaign of the case Dreyfus (1896) organized to the Zionism as a political movement.
The Zionist movement was trying to solve the "Jewish problem", the problem of an eternal minority, a fastened village to repeated pogroms and pursuits, a community without hearth which foreign character was underlined by the discrimination in any place in which the Jews should settle. The Zionism inhaled to face this situation by means of a comeback to the historical homeland of the Jews - the Earth of Israel.
The history of the aliá, big part of which was in direct answer to acts of murder or discrimination against the Jews, they serve as firm evidence to the Zionist argument according to which the Jewish state in the Earth of Israel, with a Jewish majority, is the only solution to the "Jewish problem".
Emergence of the political Zionism
The political Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people arose in the XIXth century inside the context of the liberal nationalism that then was dragging Europe.
The Zionism synthesized two targets of the liberal nationalism, liberation and unit, inhaling to liberate the Jews of the strange, hostile and oppressive domain, and to restore the Jewish unit by means of the meeting of the exiles of four limits of the world in the Jewish homeland.
The emergence of the Zionism like political movement was also an answer to the defeat of the Haskalá, the Jewish iluminismo, in solving the "Jewish problem". In accordance with the Zionist doctrine the reason of this defeat was that the emancipation and personal equality was impossible without an emancipation and a national equality, since the national problems need national solutions. The Zionist national solution was the establishment of the Jewish national state with a Jewish majority in his historical homeland, doing reality like that the right of the Jewish people to the self-determination. The Zionism does not think that the "standardization" of the Jewish condition is opposite to the targets and universal values. He advocated the right of every people in the ground to have his own hearth and supported that only one sovereign people might be an egalitarian member in the family of the nations.
Zionism: a movement pluralista
Although the Zionism was basically a political movement that was aspiring to the comeback to the Jewish homeland with freedom, sovereignty and safety for the Jewish people, also he promoted a reaffirmation of the Jewish culture. An important element in this awakening was the renaissance of the Hebrew, for a long time restricted to the liturgy and the literature, like a living national language for his use in the government and in the army, in the education and in the science, the market and the street.
As any other nationalism, the Zionism was interrelated with other ideologies, what formed currents and subcurrents inside the Zionism. The combination of nationalism and liberalism gave birth to the liberal Zionism; the integration of the socialism made the socialistic Zionism arise; the Zionism miscellany with a deep religious faith created the religious Zionism and the influence of the European nationalism inspired a nationalistic right faction. In this aspect, the Zionism has not been different from other nacionalismos that also embraced diverse liberal, traditionalist tendencies, (leftist) Socialists and conservative (right-wing).
Zionism and Arab nationalism
Most of the founders of the Zionism knew that in Palestine (the Earth of Israel) an Arab population was living (although some of them spoke ingenuously of "a ground without people for a people without ground"). Nevertheless, only few of them thought that the Arab presence was a real obstacle for the fulfillment of the Zionism. In that time, at the end of the XIXth century, the Arab nationalism was still not evident of any form, and the Arab Palestinian population was dispersed and was apolitical. Many Zionist leaders believed that since the local community was relatively small, the friction between she and the Jews who were returning might be avoided; also they were sure that the subsequent development of the country would benefit both peoples, gaining this way the Arab support and the cooperation. Nevertheless, these hopes were not fulfilled.
Contrary to the declared positions and the expectations of the Zionist ideologists who would have aspired to achieve his targets across pacific means and cooperation, the renewed Jewish presence in the Earth stumbled over a politically active Arab opposition. During some time to Zionist many it they was a difficult comprehension and to accept the depth and intensity of the dispute, which turned in fact into a shock between two peoples that they were considering to the country like proper - the Jews by virtue of his historical and spiritual connection, and the Arabs due to his centenary presence in the country.
During the years 1936-1947 the struggle for the Earth of Israel became more intense. The Arab opposition happened to be more extreme on having increased the growth and development of the Jewish community. Simultaneously, the Zionist movement considered to be necessary to increase the immigration and the development of the economic infrastructure of the country to save the biggest possible quantity of Jews of the hell Nazi in Europe.
The inevitable shock between Jewish and Arab led to the UNO to recommending, on November 29, 1947, the establishment of two states in the area to the west of the river Jordan - the Jewish one and another Arab. The Jews accepted the resolution, the Arabs pushed it back.
On May 14, 1948, in accordance with the resolution of the UNO of November, 1947, the State of Israel was established.
The establishment of the State of Israel marked the fulfillment of the target of the Zionism of obtaining a hearth internationally recognized and legally guaranteed for the Jewish people in his historical homeland, in which the Jews were free of pursuits and could develop their own lives and identity.
From 1948, the Zionism has seen like his task the continuation of the promotion of the "meeting of the exiles", which sometimes has demanded extraordinary efforts to rescue Jewish communities in physical and spiritual danger. Also it fights to preserve the unit and continuity of the Jewish people, as well as to emphasize the centrality of Israel in the Jewish life in any place.
Throughout the centuries, the desire of the restoration of the Jewish people in the Earth of Israel has been a bond that has supported the close Jewish people. The Jews of any place accept the Zionism as a fundamental beginning of the Judaism, support the State of Israel like the basic achievement of the Zionism and turn out to be enriched culturally, socially and spiritually for the fact that Israel - a member of the family of the nations - is a vibrant and creative achievement of the Jewish spirit.
Source: MFA - Foreign Office of Israel