The Sinai Campaign

Israel's First Military Offensive.

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This debate between activist and conciliatory approaches had deep roots. Zionists had always bemoaned the powerlessness of Diaspora Jews and tended to idolize military heroes from the ancient past: King David, the Maccabees, Bar Kochva. As far back as the 1890s, Zionist leader Max Nordau had called for the raising up of a new generation of proud, physically powerful "muscular Jews" as a means of regaining national self-respect. In the 1920s, Vladimir Jabotinsky argued for the creation of an unassailable military force--an "iron wall"--as the indispensable first step in the establishment of a Jewish State. The emergence of the Arab-Israeli conflict added resonance to the idea – pervasive and controversial today no less than in 1956--that complex political problems are amenable to simple military solutions.

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Matt Plen

Matt Plen is the Chief Executive of Masorti Judaism in the UK. He has taught and trained educators in diverse institutions in Israel, the UK and the USA and is currently researching his doctorate on Critical Pedagogy and Jewish Ideologies of Social Justice.