Ancient & Medieval Ideas

In the Bible

In the Bible, possession of the Land is tied to moral behavior.


The Rabbis developed an elaborate system of tithing produce, mostly to provide livelihood for priests and Levites.

In the Talmud

In rabbinic literature, Israel was of primary importance--even as the Diaspora grew.

In Medieval Thought

The Land of Israel was an abstract object of speculation and imagination.


Medieval kabbalah offers various approaches to the Land of Israel.

Modern Zionism

Secular Zionism

From religious idea to secular ideology.

Religious Zionism

Religious Zionists believe that the Jewish return to Israel hastens the Messiah.

The Miami Platform

A Reform declaration of Zionist belief.

Clash of Nationalisms

Arabs in Zionist thought.

Gush Emunim

Settling all the land.



New historians' critiques of Zionist discourse.

Ultra-Orthodox & Anti-Zionist

Groups like Neturei Karta and Satmar bitterly oppose the modern State of Israel.

Meir Kahane

The founder of the Jewish Defense League pushed the boundaries between spiritual leader, politician, and terrorist.

Questioning Zionism

Since the beginning of modern Zionism, some Jews have stood in opposition to it.

Israelis and the Jewish Tradition

In this book, David Hartman grapples with issues that divide Israeli secular and religious Jews.

Books & People

Judah Halevi

A philosopher, poet, and lover of the Land of Israel.

Theodor Herzl

The foremost leader of Political Zionism.

Abraham Isaac Kook

According to Kook, Jews can only reach their full spiritual potential in the Land of Israel.

Broken Vessels

Rabbi Kook on nationalism and religion.

Yeshayahu Leibowitz

This Israeli philosopher saw problems with both secular and religious Zionism.