Zionism: Jewish Nationalism Re-implemented in the Nation State Structure - Herzl's The Jewish State and playing the game of nations. The great Zionist ideologies of Labor, Revisionism and the National Religious
Cost: 500 NIS for entire course, or 50 NIS per session (15 sessions altogether)
This course is an historical overview of the epics, challenges, successes, failures and what is often referred to as the “Redemption” of the Jewish People through the Zionist ideal and its implementation in modern times.
We will begin with the Tanakh and the Brit or Covenant and how our ancestors grappled with their adversaries including local clashes and invasions by foreign empires. These challenges did not abate, especially once we were thrown into the Diaspora for a second time after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70CE and the failure of the Bar Kokhva Rebellion.
Never losing sight of the “Promise” the Jewish People persevered throughout the centuries despite persecution and large scale assimilation as experienced in both the Christian and Muslim Worlds. The demands of Enlightenment came next – How far would the Jewish People go in sacrificing their collective identity in order to secure equal rights?
By the late 19th century modern political Jewish nationalism was presented by Herzl and development began in the ancient homeland. But was it just a hollow nationalism? After 2000 years how does one define true Jewish content and inculcate it into the rebuilt Jewish State? What of universal values? After all, the Jewish People had always been influenced by others. The question was “What to adopt and what to reject?” Furthermore, how would we defend ourselves and play the game of nations?
Simultaneously two other players entered the field – The Bolshevik Revolution and its promises of a perfect Utopian world and the liberal democracies led by the US with their guarantees of full community and individual equal rights. By the late 20th century we were down to two options – Diaspora communities living in liberal democratic societies and the rejuvenation of the Jewish People in the Land of Israel.
So where are we today? Israel’s Jewish population is numerically almost the size of the Diaspora. Assimilation appears to be the greatest threat to the Diaspora yet many ask if we will overcome the security and demographic challenges we face at the outset of the 21st century in the State of Israel. As concerns relations with the Arabs – One state or two? The greatest dilemma continues to exist, “How do we ensure the continued existence of the Jewish People?” for our descendants going unto the furthest generations.
About Yisrael Ne’eman
Yisrael Ne’eman is an historian and political analyst focusing on the development of the Israeli State and the Arab Muslim Middle East. He received a BA in Middle Eastern Studies from Rutgers University and completed an MA in Modern Jewish History at the University of Haifa. His areas of specialization include the Middle East Conflict, Jewish History and Israel/Zionist Ideologies.
Yisrael is an instructor at the University of Haifa since 1991 and lectures in Contemporary Israel: History and Society during the year while leading a field study program Israel: A Mosaic during the summer. He teaches Jewish History, Ancient History/Archeology and The Development of Middle East Nationalism at the Technion and engages students with similar topics at the Givat Haviva Jewish-Arab Peace Center.
Yisrael received his Israel national tour guide license in 1992.
Moving to Israel in 1977, Yisrael served in the IDF as a combat medic from 1978 to 1980 and as a reservist he saw six tours of duty in the First Lebanon War in the 1980s where he was the senior NCO of a battalion aid/evacuation station. Until his discharge from the reserves in 2001, Yisrael spent over 21 years as a senior combat medic on the Lebanese and Golan borders.
Yisrael and his family joined the Eshchar community village in the Lower Galilee in 1988 where the mixed religious/secular ideology of community Judaism dominates daily life. Yisrael has been on the local council at various times serving for twelve years, ten of them as chairman. Major development plans under his auspices brought dozens more families into the town. Advocating a “good neighbor” policy he worked with the Bedouin community of Arab Al-Na’im to establish municipal borders, cross-community cooperation, planning and future development for both communities sharing their joint Galilean hilltop.
Over the years Yisrael has given lectures and seminars abroad, in particular focusing on Arab-Israel relations and the rise of Jihadi fundamentalism in the Middle East. He published his first book Hamas Jihad: Antisemitism, Islamic World Conquest and Manipulation of Palestinian Nationalism in 2016. Info including the Introduction and Q & A can be accessed from his website atwww.hamasjihad.com.