In the late 19th century,
the rise of religious and racist antiSemitism led to a resurgence of pogroms in Russia and
Eastern Europe, shattering promises of equality
and tolerance. This stimulated Jewish immigration
to Palestine from Europe.
Simultaneously, a wave of
Jews immigrated to Palestine from Yemen, Morocco, Iraq and Turkey.
These Jews were unaware of Theodor
Zionism or of European pogroms. They were
motivated by the centuriesold dream of
the "Return to Zion" and a fear
of intolerance. Upon hearing that the gates
of Palestine were open, they braved the hardships
of travel and went to the "Land of Israel."
The Zionist ideal of a return
to Israel has profound religious roots. Many
Jewish prayers speak of Jerusalem,
Zion and the Land of Israel. The injunction
not to forget Jerusalem, the site of the Temple,
is a major tenet of Judaism.
language, the Torah,
laws in the Talmud,
the Jewish calendar and Jewish holidays
and festivals such as Shavuot all originated in Israel and revolve around
its seasons and conditions. Jews pray toward
Jerusalem and recite the words "next
year in Jerusalem" every Passover.
Jewish religion, culture and history make
clear that it is only in the land of Israel that the Jewish commonwealth can be built.
In 1897, Jewish leaders
formally organized the Zionist movement, calling for the restoration of the
Jewish national home in Palestine, where Jews
could find sanctuary and selfdetermination,
and work for the renascence of their civilization