HA-NO'AR HA-IVRI-AKIBA, pioneering and scouting Zionist youth movement with special attachment to the traditional values of Judaism. The movement was founded in Cracow as an organization of Jewish students in non-Jewish high schools. In 1924 Akiba united with similar youth organizations in western Galicia and assumed the character of a pioneering Zionist youth movement. A group that left the movement constituted the nucleus of the youth movement of the *General Zionists, Ha-No'ar ha-Ẓiyyoni. Akiba was active in Poland and to a lesser degree in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Palestine between the two World Wars, during the Holocaust, and almost until the establishment of the State of Israel. Its pioneering members began to settle collectively in Palestine in 1930. They were among those who fought for Jewish labor in Petah Tikvah, Be'er Ya'akov, Ekron, and Ẓaderah and were among the founders of Neveh Eitan, Usha, Bet Yehoshu'a, Bustan ha-Galil, Benei Zion, and elsewhere.
Before the Holocaust, the membership of the movement reached 30,000. At the 21st Zionist Congress (1939), the last before the war, the movement was represented by six delegates. The ideological foundation of Akiba was based on the following principles: both assimilation – as a pragmatic means to solve the Jewish problem – and the leftist movements – especially Communism – lead to the destruction of Judaism. The efforts of assimilationists for generations have ended in failure, and the same is true of leftist movements, which denied Jewish national identity. Akiba advanced the desire to create an original Jewish experience through a pioneering way of life in Ereẓ Israel and viewed Zionism as the perpetuation of Jewish history.
Akiba educated its members toward a positive attitude to the traditional Jewish way of life. This emphasis was important among semi-assimilated youth who had been drawn away from Judaism. Its guiding principle was that even those who doubted the values of faith must agree that the traditionally religious way of life embodies the original creation of the Jewish people and its unifying quality was still valid in the present. Therefore behavior in public and in Jewish institutions should not contradict the traditional way of life. During the Holocaust, the leaders of Akiba were among the heads of the Jewish fighting organizations and participated in the armed revolts in the Cracow ghetto (1942) and the Warsaw ghetto (1943). The ideological leader of the movement was Yoel Dreiblatt.
Ha-Tenu'ah ha-Halutzit be-Aguddat ha-No'ar ha-Ivri Akiva (1940); Y. Dreiblatt, Ziv Mo'adei Yisrael (1946); G. Davidson, Yomanah shel Yustinah (1953); Sefer Cracow (1953), 263–70, 286–9; Cracow Memorial Journal (1968), 939–45. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Orenstein et al. (eds.), Mishnat ha-Ẓiyyonut shel Agudat ha-No'ar ha-Ivri "Akiva" (1986); B. Jehieli, Akivah, Ẓemikhata, Hitpatḥuta u-Leḥimata bi-Shenot ha-Sho'ah (1988).
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.