The Old Young Guard

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How then does one explain the fact that so ideologically freighted a movement produced some of Israel's most inspiring fighters and patriots? According to Ber Borochov, an early theoretician of Marxist Zionism, the true internationalist perspective did not ignore national differences, but worked through them. In this view, Zionism was a necessary, if temporary, stage in a long, historical process whose ultimate goal was to do away with nations as we know them.

It's hard to believe that most members of Yad Mordechai, raised on sacrifice to the Jewish state, really believe this any longer. Besides, capitalism in the form of private industry was introduced into the kibbutz over the course of the past decade, and it appears that real estate will soon follow. But that just goes to show that while both the movement and the kibbutz are deeply entwined in Israeli history, they also remain rich in the internal contradictions and ambiguities that characterize secular and left-wing Israeli identity as a whole.

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Aryeh Tepper

Aryeh Tepper completed his doctorate in Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in July, 2010. He presently writes for Jewish Ideas Daily.