About the Book
Since the classic collection of Zionist writings, Arthur Hertzberg’s The Zionist Idea, was published some sixty years ago, Israel has metaphorphized from a shelter for some three million Jews fleeing persecution worldwide to a a a high tech powerhouse and robust laboratory for Jewish living. In this millieu, political firestorms often drown out certain fundamentals: Israel’s collective rights as a nation state; acknowledgement of both Jewish and Palestinian land claims; Israel’s long-extant dual mission—to save Jewish bodies and redeem the Jewish soul; and, furthermore, the wide range of Jewish visions—19th century to 21st century, Left to Right, secular to religious, Israeli to Diasporean—for the kind of state Israel ought to be.
Building upon Hertzberg’s classic, The Zionist Ideas is the most comprehensive Zionist collection ever published. Over 170 passionate visionaries (4x more than Hertzberg, now including women, mizrahim, and other overlooked thinkers) are organized by three time periods, then subdivided into six schools of Zionist thought—Political, Revisionist, Labor, Religious, Cultural, and Diaspora— shedding light on the surprisingly diverse and shared commitments to realizing Israel as a democratic Jewish state: Part I explores the backstories, dreams, and legacies of the pre-1948 pioneers who founded the Jewish state: Theodor Herzl, , A. D. Gordon, Vladimir Jabotinsky, Abraham Isaac Kook, Ahad Ha’am, Henrietta Szold…. Part II, 1949-2000, delves into the builders who actualized and modernized the Zionist blueprints: David Ben-Gurion, Isaiah Berlin, Golda Meir, Menachem Begin, Joseph Ber Soloveitchik, Leon Uris, Mordecai Kaplan….Part III showcases today’s torch bearers, those now reassessing, redirecting, and reinvigorating the state: Aharon Barak, David Grossman, Ayelet Shaked, Benny Lau, A.B. Yehoshua, Jonathan Sacks….
This mosaic of voices will engage equally diverse readers in reinvigorating the Zionist conversation—weighing and developing the moral, social, and political character of the Jewish state of today and tomorrow.
This magnificent work is the perfect follow-up to Arthur Hertzberg’s classic The Zionist Idea. Combining, like Hertzberg, a scholar’s eye and an activist’s ear, Gil Troy demonstrates that we now live in a world of Zionist Ideas, with many different ways to help Israel flourish as a democratic Jewish state.
A revived Zionist conversation, a renewed Zionist vision, can help create a Jewish state that reaffirms meaning for those already committed to it, while addressing the needs of Jews physically separated from their ancestral homeland, as well as those who feel spiritually detached from their people. How lucky we are to have this new book, filled with old-new ideas, Theodor Herzl style, to guide this important and timely conversation.
– Natan Sharansky, from the Foreword