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Zionism: Spiritual Zionism

Ahad Ha’am

Spiritual or Cultural Zionism was a trend in Jewish nationalist thinking and Zionist ideology was most prominently championed by Ahad Ha’am (Asher Zvi Ginsberg), one of the leaders of Hibbat Zion.

In contrast to the views of Theodor Herzl and Political Zionism, in which Jewish statehood was advocated as a solution to the question of the Jews, Ahad Ha’am saw the crux of the problem in the question of Judaism, which, he believed, had lost its spiritual assets — its sources of creative and national might.

Because Ahad Ha’am did not believe that Palestine could accommodate all of Jewry, a Jewish state there, in his estimation, would not solve the problem of the Jews’ social and economic status. Efforts should concentrate on establishing a national spiritual center, a hub of high-­quality life in Palestine, that would radiate to all Diaspora communities.

The correct course of action, Ahad Ha’am argued, is extensive and continuing educational activity among Jews and moderate settlement activity in Palestine.

Photo: Public domain via Wikimedia.