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New Essays on Zionism
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HALL OF FAMEon March 3, 2007
This is an outstanding collection of essays on Zionism today.It is divided into three sections , one on 'The Jewish State and Political Theory' a second on 'Zion and the Crisis of Jewish Culture' a third on 'Zion and History' It is edited introduced and contains two especially interesting essays by the historian Michael B. Oren.

In the introduction Oren traces historically the attitudes toward political Zionism displayed through this century. The idea of the Jewish people's creating and making an independent state of their own was according to Oren largely accepted by the Western world until fairly recently. In the 1990's there emerged an effort to deligitimize Zionism. This effort has had major successes in Europe and considerable success on U.S. campuses. Oren says the essays of this book are an effort to counter the delegimitization.

Thus the book 's first essay is an outstanding comprehensive discussion of the historical justification for political Zionism. It is written by legal expert Ruth Gavison. In it she points out that Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. She shows how the Jewish majority has a democratic right to give the cultural and political shading to the country suitable to it. She shows how the effort to deprive the Jewish people of their right to self- determination is continually made by non- democratic Arab states, and by many of Israeli's minority Arab citizens. She describes how the formula 'state for all its citizens' is one aimed to deprive the majority of its right to set the cultural agenda of the State.

Other outstanding essays are written by Natan, Sharansky , David Hazony, Yaron Hazony, Anna Isakova, Arie Morgenstern, Eyal Chowers, Ofir Haivry.

I was especially impressed by Oren's essays on 'Ha-Yedid' the 'friend' the legendary Orde Windgate a great champion of the Zionist cause who trained the famous 'Night Squads' which contended with the Arab terror of 1936-9 .Oren's second essay begins with the historical moment in which Ben- Gurion courageously decided against the advice of almost everyone to declare a Jewish state though he knew it would be invaded almost immediately by Arab armies. Oren talks about his own personal journey to Israel, and the meaning of Zionism for him. It is that the Jews after suffering two millenia of of being subject to others, take their fate in their own hands. For Oren who became a soldier in the Army of Israel Zionism is about Jews taking responsibility for their own destiny.
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on October 17, 2007
A must read.

When I was in grade school, I went to a Baptist school, i.e. a protestant christian school. I heard tell that the outcome of WWII and the holocaust was a permanent home for the jews. They're safe now I thought to myself. Well, hardly, these days, but at least they're not as vulnerable as they would have been without some changes in international perceptions. And perception is key to their existence.

I've heard tell many a time these days that Zionism is the cause of all of Israel's troubles today. Well, if that is wrong, and I am not wrong, people MUST read this book.

In reading this, I was reminded of the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. It was my most memorable experience of my pilgrimage to Israel in 2000. Outside was a rectangular, black, concrete or marble slab which represented the sons of darkness. And the Shrine of the Book represented the sons of light. Inside the shrine as inside this particular collection of Israeli essays, were creative thought, prophecy, insight, energy, dynamic, understanding, history, vibration, life. I'll never forget the symbolic contrast between the two and will rest assured the money I paid for even only that was well worth it. I loved the shrine of the book. The structure of the shrine was that of a torah scroll.

So inside this book, you'll find much information. The first section of the book was hard for me to wade through, was almost too theoretical, but took up half the book. Part II, the shortest section, contained two of my favorite essays in the book, one written by a Russian immigrant, physician, Anna Isakova and the other by Ze'ev Maghen. Reading of Anna's travails in Israel, I was reminded of West Side Story and how immigrants struggle with acceptance within the community. It isn't easy, as she explains. Maghen's essay was a pleasant surprise. I was expecting, from an essay entitled "Imagine: On Love and Lennon", thoughts from "a left wing loon", as Bill O'Reilly terms people of the far left political persuasion. Boy, was I surprised. The essay was inspired by a conversation the author had had with jewish Hari Krishnas in L.A. After conversing with them, he finally exclaimed, "What are you doing here!!!" So the whole essay was written to deal with problems of diaspora jewry and assimilation which by the way is a method by which the ancient Romans, not only militarily, but also socially subjugated its people. So, if you read the essay, you'll find that Ze'ev is not a loon after all, and makes absolute, perfect sense.

I sailed through the final historical section, not too much new for me there.

All in all, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this; it will broaden your horizons, enlighten you on modern Israeli problems, hopefully stirring some innate zionist sentiments within. And yes, salvation is from the jews; they've been fighting terrorism for a long, long, long, long time.
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