While many believe Americans always supported Zionism, Americans Jews have had conflicted feelings with Zionism throughout the years. In this episode, Dr. Daniel Gordis discusses American Jews’ relationship with Israel beginning in 1915 and continuing through present day.
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Israel began as a socialist nation. Dr. Daniel Gordis explores Israel’s socialism including the kibbutz, utilities and medicine. Dr. Gordis also discusses the status of Israeli Arabs and the military authority over Israeli Arabs between 1948-1966 as well as the status of Mizrahi Jews and intellectual life of the country during its early years.
Why do the ultra-orthodox Jews maintain power over certain issues in Israel to this day? Dr. Daniel Gordis answers this question as well as discussing the controversial issue of reparations in the early 1950’s and how it affected Israel.
Directly after Israel won the War of Independence, Israel held its first election. Dr. Daniel Gordis discusses Israelis’ feelings about the election, the parliamentary structure and how the Israeli government actually works through today.
Dr. Daniel Gordis explores the very complex issue of the origin of Palestinian refugees, the reasons that 700,000 Palestinians left Israel during the Israeli War of Independence and the difficult moral questions remaining.
On Nov 29, 1947, the United Nations voted to allow the creation of Israel leading to the War of Independence which ultimately did not end until early 1949. Dr. Daniel Gordis explores the sentiment of the Jewish people in Israel at that time and explains the transformation of the Jewish psyche from the victim hood of Europe to the Israeli that we know today. He also describes some of the difficulties and challenges of consolidating all of Israel’s fighting forces into one cohesive IDF.
In the decade before the establishment of Israel, three paramilitary groups emerged that played a critical role in the state’s establishment. These groups were each run by a man who ultimately becomes one of Israel’s prime ministers: (1) the Haganah, run indirectly by David Ben Gurion; (2) the Irgun (Etzel), run by Menachen Begin; and (3) the Lehi, run by Yitzach Shamir. Dr. Daniel Gordis explores the role of these groups as well as the existential condition of Jews in that time period, and the British abandonment of the regions ultimately leading to control being handed over to the United Nations.
Throughout the first half of the 20th century, waves of Jewish immigrants made Aliyah to the region, each bringing particular experiences and ideas to the land that would become a Jewish state in 1948. Dr. Daniel Gordis describes these waves, the eruption of violence and antisemitism that met them, and first talk of partition, including British establishment of the 1937 Peel Commission, formally proposing two states.
Just 20 years after the first Zionist conference, Great Britain issued the momentous Balfour Declaration in 1917 in support of a Jewish state in Palestine. The next year, thousands gathered at Mt. Scopus to lay the cornerstone of Hebrew University, as Jews begin building the infrastructure of a future, developmentally advanced state. Dr. Daniel Gordis describes the political and cultural momentum.
From the labor Zionism of Ze’ev Jabotinsky to the revisionist Zionism of AD Gordon to the spiritual Zionism of Ahad Ha’am, various interpretations and manifestations of Zionist thought developed through the 20th century and into the 21st. Dr. Daniel Gordis sorts it all out and suggests how each informs Israeli culture and society.