Zionism: Hovevei Zion
The first Hovevei Zion (
Lovers of Zion) organizations were established in 1881-1882 with the aim of furthering Jewish settlement, particularly agricultural settlement in Eretz-Israel. The groups varied not only in size but in their activity. Some were interested in philanthropic work while others were intent on immigration to Eretz-Israel.
From its inception, the Hovevei Zion groups in Russia sought to erect a countrywide legally recognized framework. After arduous negotiations, in which the authorities demanded that the society be set up as a charitable body, its establishment was approved, early in 1890, as
The Society for the Support of Jewish Farmers and Artisans in Syria and Eretz-Israel, which came to be known as
The Odessa Committee.
In 1892, the organization had approximately 14,000 sympathizers in Russia. Among its leaders were Rabbi Samuel Mohilever (18241898), Moshe Leib Lilienblum (1843-1910) and Leon Pinsker (1821-1891).
Following the publication of Herzl's Der Judenstaat in 1896, and the establishment of the World Zionist Organization, most of the branches of Hovevei Zion aligned themselves with the new movement.