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Religious Zionism  - Definition

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Religious Zionism  

1. In modern times, belief that Jewish national revival is a religious as well as political goal, to be realized as Jewish homeland in the land of Israel based on "Torah v'avodah," a synthesis of religious studies with practical labor. The Mizrachi movement and National Religious Party are the political groups associated with religious Zionism.

Mizrachi (Hebrew abbreviation of merkaz ruchani – “spiritual center”) was founded by Rabbi Isaac Jacob Reines in 1902 to serve as an umbrella organization for the Religious Zionist movement. Religious Zionism is an ideology based on the synthesis of a Jewish religious and national outlook and is dedicated to the preservation of Jewish political freedom, the enhancement of Jewish religious life in the land of Israel, and the promotion of Aliyah. The movement is inspired by the slogans of Mizrachi, “The Land of Israel, for the People of Israel, According to the Torah of Israel,” and Hapoel Hamizrachi, “Torah Va’Avodah” (Torah and Labor).

The National Religious Party which claims to be the standard bearer of religious Zionism was initially moderate. It strove for cooperation with secular Zionists. Beginning in the 1970s it became increasingly open to radical right-wing ideologies and the idea of a "halachic state." In 1974 members of the NRP formed the Gush Emunim movement, which believes in "Greater Israel" ideology.

Other branches of modern religious Zionism are less militant than the current ideology of the NRP. They are represented by Rabbi Melchior and Avraham Burg among others.

2. Early proto-Zionist ideas and ideology, exemplified by Rabbis Kalischer, Alkalai and Samuel Mohilewer, and also by the BILU and Hibbat Tziyon groups, which did not necessarily anticipate the ideology of modern religious Zionism.

3. Philosophy of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, first Ashkenazy Chief Rabbi of Mandatory Palestine. Kook believed in the legitimacy of secular Zionism, which was, according to him, performing a sacred mission, and he strove for reconciliation of all parts of the Zionist movement. The NRP claims to be the spiritual heirs of Rabbi Kook.

Synonyms and alternate spellings:

Further Information:   National Religious Party Mizrachi

Hebrew/Arabic pronunciation and transliteration conventions:

'H - ('het) a guttural sound made deep in the throat. To Western ears it may sound like the "ch" in loch. In Arabic there are several letters that have similar sounds. Examples: 'hanukah, 'hamas, 'haredi. Formerly, this sound was often represented by ch, especially in German transliterations of Hebrew. Thus, 'hanukah is often rendered as Chanuka for example.

ch - (chaf) a sound like "ch" in loch or the Russian Kh as in Khruschev or German Ach, made by putting the tongue against the roof of the mouth. In Hebrew, a chaf can never occur at the beginning of a word. At the beginning of a word, it has a dot in it and is pronounced "Kaf."

u - usually between oo as in spoon and u as in put.

a- sounded like a in arm

ah- used to represent an a sound made by the letter hey at the end of a word. It is the same sound as a. Haganah and Hagana are alternative acceptable transliterations.

'a-notation used for Hebrew and Arabic ayin, a guttural ah sound.

o - close to the French o as in homme.

th - (taf without a dot) - Th was formerly used to transliterate the Hebrew taf sound for taf without a dot. However in modern Hebrew there is no detectable difference in standard pronunciation of taf with or without a dot, and therefore Histadruth and Histadrut, Rehovoth and Rehovot are all acceptable.

q- (quf) - In transliteration of Hebrew and Arabic, it is best to consistently use the letter q for the quf, to avoid confusion with similar sounding words that might be spelled with a kaf, which should be transliterated as K. Thus, Hatiqva is preferable to Hatikva for example.

Definitions of Zionism  General History of Zionism and the Creation of Israel   History of Israel and Zionism   Historical Source Documents of Israel and Zionism

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