Religious Zionism can be traced to the "augurers of Zion" (Mevasrei Zion, precursors of Hibbat Zion), including Rabbis Yehudah Alkalai, Zvi Kalischer, Shmuel Mohilever, and Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin. Based on a fusion of Jewish religion and nationhood, it aims to restore not only Jewish political freedom but also Jewish religion in the light of the Torah and its commandments. For Religious Zionism, Judaism based on the commandments is a sine qua non for Jewish national life in the homeland.
In 1902, in response to the decision of the Fifth Zionist Congress to consider cultural activity as part of the Zionist program, Rabbis Reines and Ze'ev Yavetz established the Mizrachi organization (mizrachi being the Hebrew abbreviation of merkaz ruhani-"spiritual center"). Mizrachi held its first world convention in 1904 and composed the movement's platform, which concerned itself principally with observance of the commandments and return to Zion. In Palestine, Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook gave Religious Zionism his personal and spiritual endorsement, regarding settlement in the Land of Israel as the beginning of Redemption.
Religious Zionism has pledged much of its efforts and resources to constructing a national-religious education system. Hapoel Hamizrahi branched away from the main movement (1922) to focus on Orthodox rural settlement in Palestine under the slogan "Torah va'Avodah" (Torah and Labor). In 1956, the two movements, Mizrachi and Hapoel Hamizrahi, united under the umbrella of the National Religious Party, active in Israeli politics today.