History: Modern Times – from the 1880s to the Early 21st Century

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Effects of Anti-Jewish Discrimination in Russia
Pogroms and Mass Emigration
German Jewry
Racism and Antisemitism
The Economic Crisis of the Early 1930s
In Soviet Russia after 1917
New Types of Social Organization
Contribution to General Culture
The National Renaissance and Zionism
World War i and Its Aftermath
The Yishuv in Ereẓ Israel
Hebrew and Yiddish
World War ii and the Holocaust
Rescue of the Remnant
Prelude to Independence
Establishment of the State of Israel
World Jewry in 1970
Into the Millennium


The absolute growth of the Jewish population was constant and impressive up to the *Holocaust. There were approximately 14 million Jews in the world around 1918 and 16 million Jews around 1937. Even the terrible loss of about six million Jews through the horrors of the Holocaust still left at the end of World War ii a nation of approximately 11 to 12 million. According to estimates, the number of Jews in the world by 1970 was higher than immediately after World War i.

The rate of growth slowed down continuously from the 1880s onwards. The use of contraceptives and the ideal of a one-child or two-child family, which became increasingly prevalent among town populations in general, were felt among Jews in most of Europe and other continents, in particular from the middle of the 1920s. The effects – social as well as emotional – of the Holocaust caused, according to some estimates, a slight reversal of this trend and of the diminution in the Jewish birth rate. Mixed marriages up to the rise of Hitler to power became a continuous drain on the Jewish population. Their proportion in some countries and cities grew to more than one quarter of the total of Jewish marriages. Over three-quarters of the children of such marriages were brought up as non-Jews. The above-mentioned phenomena were evident in the European Jewish family; communities in the Mediterranean lands and particularly in Muslim countries were almost not affected by them until quite recently. In Europe again racist antisemitism and the revulsion felt by Jews at its appearance led to both a decrease in the number of mixed marriages from the late 1930s and a much higher proportion of affiliation among the offspring of such marriages to Jewish identity.

From the end of World War ii mixed marriages multiplied, in particular in Western Europe and the United States, while the degree of attachment of such couples and their children to the Jewish nation remained very much in the balance. As a result of the combination of these phenomena the rate of growth of the Jewish population decreased from 2% annually before World War i to 1.1% in the 1920s, and to 0.8% in the 1930s. Although East European Jewry (except in Soviet Russia) was relatively little affected by the phenomena of the small family and mixed marriages, other factors, such as persecutions, the years of hunger and of massacres between 1918 and 1923, the economic crisis of 1929, and the anti-Jewish economic and social policies in most of the "successor states" to Austria-Hungary and Russia between the two world wars, combined to produce the same effects on the Jewish population as in the West.

Two processes changed the dispersion and ecology of the Jews in the world throughout this period. Emigration, from 1881, transferred masses of Jews from Eastern Europe overseas (largely to the United States), and shifted the center of gravity for Jews in terms of environment and cultural influence. (See Map: Intercontinental Migrations 1). Societies and cultures which had been molded predominantly by English tradition, and by the pluralist pattern created by the "melting pot" of multinational immigration, increasingly became the hosts for Jews. These were now the matrix of the challenge and response of Diaspora life, instead of the Germanic or Slav environment and the homogeneous, predominantly intolerant, cultures by which the Jews had been surrounded before the great wave of emigration. In its own macabre way the Holocaust led in the same direction, for extermination overwhelmingly affected the communities of Central and Eastern Europe.

Secondly, in the whole of this period the Jews in the world underwent a constant and accelerating process of urbanization and even megalopolitization. Even while the shtetl society and economy were still almost intact in Eastern Europe, though much changed by the effects of emigration and economic and social factors, in 1914 there were already over 100,000 Jews living in each of 11 cities in the world. In the old area of Jewish settlement *Warsaw numbered approximately 350,000 Jews, *Lodz more than 150,000, Budapest approximately a quarter of a million, and Vienna more than 150,000. In the new area of Jewish settlement created by the pace of emigration (see below) *London numbered more than 150,000 Jews, *Philadelphia in the United States more than 175,000, *Chicago about 350,000, and New York 1,350,000. The trend has continued, both in absolute numbers as well as in the proportion of Jews in metropolitan cities relative to the general Jewish population in a country. On the eve of World War ii over one-third of the Jews in the world were concentrated in 19 cities, each of which had more than 100,000 Jewish residents. New York alone had a population of about two million Jews, somewhat less than half of the total of Jews in the United States. After Jewish emancipation in Russia in 1917 and the abolition of the Pale of Settlement (see below), and in particular after the industrialization of Soviet Russia from the 1930s, Russian Jewry also tended to become increasingly concentrated in the big industrial and administrative centers. This development is in line with the general trend in the world toward urbanization, but far outpaces it. In 1970, Jews outside the State of *Israel were concentrated in the largest and most complex urban settlements in the world, New York having the largest single concentration of Jews in any place and at any time. The mass exodus of Jews from Arab states under pressure after the creation of the State of Israel again assisted this trend. Many of the small Jewish communities in backward towns were liquidated and their members resettled in large urban concentrations, mostly in the State of Israel or in France. The dispersion of the 16 million Jews in the world and their proportion among the general population by 1937 can be seen in the Table: Distribution of Jews. (See Map: Intercontinental Migrations 2).

CountryNumberPercentage of Jews in General Population
1 Estimate.
Ereẓ Israel384,0001over 20
Turkey (Europe)58,0004.7
The Maghreb (present Libya, Algeria, Morocco and Tunis)310,000from 5.6 to 1.3
Soviet Russia (Europe)2,700,0001.9
The Netherlands120,0001.7

After the Holocaust about 50% of the Jews were living on the American continent, while only one-third remained in Europe and the Soviet Union. From 1945 Ereẓ Israel became the main haven of refuge; France also absorbed many Jews from North Africa. Among approximately 14 million Jews in the world in 1970, about 6 million were living in North America, predominantly in the United States. About 2½ million were living in the State of Israel. There were about three-quarters of a million in Southern and Central America, and about 200,000 in South Africa and *Australia. The majority of Jews living in France in 1970 arrived there through very recent emigration, mainly from North Africa, and the majority of Jews in England and *Switzerland were the result of immigrations from 1880. The distribution and concentration of Jews in various parts of the Soviet Union was the result both of movements toward the east after 1917 and of movements even farther east during World War ii.

The emerging pattern therefore reveals that the vast majority of Jews live in new surroundings, though for a considerable number this change was ardently wished by them (in the State of Israel for historical and ideological reasons, and in the United States because of its attitude toward them). Western Europe in 1970 numbered more than one million Jews, of whom about half a million were living in France and about 450,000 in Great Britain. The Soviet Union numbered approximately three million Jews; the number of Jews in other communist countries was contracting steadily; they had reached a vanishing point in Poland, because of its virulent antisemitism. Jews had also left most of the Arab and Muslim states. The history of the Jewish population between 1880 and 1970 shows great vitality in movement, in adjustment to new environments and patterns of living, and in the creation of a state. Its present ecology makes the problems of Western urban civilization paramount in Jewish life. The location and numbers of the Jews have changed through their own dynamics as well as through the forces of human cruelty, of racism, and *antisemitism.

Effects of Anti-Jewish Discrimination in Russia

The evil of stereotypes and vulgarization increasingly made itself felt in its impact on Jewish life from the 1880s. The ruling circles of the czarist state and society adopted a policy of open antisemitism in order to divert the resentment of the masses to the Jews. These circles were considerably disturbed and angered by a phenomenon of their own creation that had appeared in Jewish society. In the 1860s and 1870s Jews had been promised alleviations and rewards as a prize for acquiring secular education and skills in line with the government policy of remolding them into satisfactory citizens. The Russian government, however, had no conception of the strength of the cultural traditions of veneration of study and respect for the student among Jews. Jewish society in Russia, by the criteria of its own culture, was considerably more educated and intellectualized than Russian society. When the aspirations of Jewish youths now turned toward secular learning and Russian culture, the ruling circles were dismayed by the "flood" of Jews that threatened their high schools, universities, and consequently, the composition of the Russian intelligentsia. They turned increasingly to the policy of severely restricting the numbers of Jewish students by imposition of the *numerus clausus. They also applied higher standards to Jewish pupils in Russian high schools and made more exacting demands on them.

Frustration and anger swept the youth who were eager to learn outside the sphere of their own traditions, who had been ready at first for assimilation in and service to the Russian state, and who were now being punished for revealing the high cultural level of their society and their own individual abilities. The trend toward academic education and free entry to the professions could not be halted among the Jews of the Pale of Settlement. Thousands who were not accepted at Russian universities went westward for their education, mainly to Germany and Switzerland. In university cities in these countries Jews formed a large part of the "Russian student colonies." They knew that, having obtained a degree, back in Russia they would still be discriminated against because of their Jewishness.

The state thus fostered radicalization among Jewish students and a Jewish intelligentsia, who identified themselves with the revolutionary struggle for freedom and a better society in Russia. Hence the proportion of Jewish intellectuals among the leading cadres of the various Russian revolutionary parties grew increasingly larger, and was much greater than their proportion in the general population and at total variance with the social background of their homes. The czarist authorities and their supporters were quick to clutch at the stereotype of the "Jewish subversive spirit" in opposing the Jews, and pointed out to them – by discriminatory measures as well as by massacres-that the western border was open to Jews wanting to emigrate (while the eastern border of the Pale of Settlement remained closed). The government thus hoped both to solve "the Jewish question" and to weaken the revolutionary movement at one stroke.

Pogroms and Mass Emigration

In 1881 one wave of massacres broke over southern Russia that hit about 100 communities. From then on massacres as well as arson in the Jewish townships, whose structures were built of wood, became endemic in czarist Russia. In 1891 the expulsion of Jews from *Moscow was effected, an event that alarmed Jews throughout the country, for they saw it as a reaffirmation of the Pale of Settlement policy. In 1903 there occurred a massacre in *Kishinev that set off a wave of anti-Jewish violence. The ruling circles also made great efforts to involve the Poles in these outbreaks. They were successful at *Bialystok. In 1912 an anti-Jewish *boycott was organized in Warsaw. Thus Russian Jews were faced by the menace of *pogroms, i.e., constant physical assault and robbery; these were certainly abetted by the authorities, and – as the official archives showed, when opened after the revolution of 1917 – in many cases organized by police functionaries and financed by societies close to the government. Jews reacted against this situation by the creation of *self-defense organizations, a pattern of behavior which continued until the period of the pogroms under *Petlyura, Makhno, and *Denikin during the civil war after the Revolution of 1917.

The Jews of the Pale of Settlement and Galicia and Austria reacted to the straitened economic circumstances even more strongly than to the wave of unprecedented hatred and violence in Russia, by mass emigration. (See Map: Intercontinental Migrations 1). Between 1881 and 1914 over 2½ million emigrated from Eastern Europe (c. 80,000 annually), over two million of them to the United States, creating the great Jewish center there. Over 350,000 settled in Western Europe; centers of Jewish tailoring and trade in England and in other countries were created by this emigration, since a large proportion of the Jews were tailors and many who formerly had no profession joined their ranks. Many others turned to peddling. The "greenhorns" were unacquainted with the language and culture of the new country and were dependent to a large degree on economic and spiritual help from earlier arrivals. They clustered together, thus creating "ghettos" in the great cities of the east coast of the United States and in Western Europe. These were at first islands of the Eastern European Jewish culture and way of life, where Yiddish was spoken and *Yiddish literature, newspapers, theaters, and journalism burgeoned amidst the surrounding cultures.

For the second generation, the traditions of learning and respect for intellectual activities and the free professions pointed to intensive study and the acquirement of a profession as the way to social betterment. This naturally entailed deep acculturation. The dynamics of traditional Jewish culture in an open and more or less tolerant society created the present broad strata in Jewry of those occupied in the free professions of the intelligentsia, including writers, artists, and newspapermen, in the United States and other Western countries. The children and grandchildren of the poor and hardworking immigrant parents, who at first labored in the grueling atmosphere of the "sweatshops" "pulled themselves up by their own boot straps" thanks to a tradition that took the road of learning and social leadership and service wherever and whenever permitted.

The present situation, where the vast majority of Jewish youth enters the universities and other academic institutions, can be interpreted as being no less the result of an acceleration of immanent Jewish trends than a part of the present general trend toward academic education. The vestiges of occupations such as tailoring and peddling are rapidly disappearing. Productivization has taken a different and unexpected turn in modern Jewish society in the West.

German Jewry

Up to 1932 German Jewry was in the forefront of intellectual achievement and the acquirement of free professions, though it never achieved the type of social acceptance found in other Western societies. In Germany too the development was away from the crafts and petty trade to academic professions, medium and largescale business enterprises, and public service. German Jewish society experienced during this period a certain undercurrent of tension between its acculturated strata and the "Ostjuden," who, whether as immigrants or as transients, caused some offense by their culture and way of life, in particular through fear of the "bad impression" they could make on good, cultured Germans.

However, at the end of World War i there was a rise in antisemitism. The defeat of Germany in war was explained by the myth, propagated by extreme right-wing elements, that circulated after 1918 of the "stab in the back" that the victorious German army had received from revolutionaries, pacifists, and intellectuals under the influence of the cowardly "Jewish spirit," as opposed to the heroic and creative "German spirit"; such accusations, combined with resentment at Jewish commercial and financial activity in Germany during the great inflation of the early 1920s there, reinforced the old stereotype evil image of the Jews. Fuel was added to the old hatred by the preeminence of Jews in many scientific fields, and, especially, their activity on the liberal and left-wing side of German politics (Walther *Rathenau, minister for foreign affairs of the German republic, was assassinated in 1922; Kurt *Eisner, head of the socialist republic of Bavaria in 1918, and Rosa *Luxemburg, as the symbol of left-wing socialism, were murdered).

Racism and Antisemitism

Racism was threatening to become from the second half of the 19th century the new buttress of quasi-scientific rationalizations of the hatred of the Jews when its older religious props were disintegrating. These ideas were influenced by successes in the organization and development of agriculture and cattle breeding along racial lines, by the stimulus of racist and semi-racist policies toward blacks everywhere, and toward "natives" in many parts of the British Empire, and by the penetration of Darwinian biologistic concepts of the "war for survival" and "survival of the fittest," which led to a sociological Darwinism that was first used in conflicts between social circles in Christian society and in republican France.

There gradually emerged in Europe a racist theory (see *Race, Theory of) which postulated the division of mankind into "higher" and "lower" races and into "good" and "bad" breeds. Carried over from the disciplines of nature and economics, where functionalism and teleology could flexibly suggest the breeding of a race for a specific purpose, this theory acquired cruelty and absurdity when applied to humanity and to the area of absolute imponderable values and goals (see also J.A. de *Gobineau; H.S. *Chamberlain). When combined with the stereotypes of the Jew and his character, it acquired the ultimate horror of a racial scale, where the "Aryan," which stood in Nazi race parlance for Germanic, represented the best type of man, while the "Semite," which in the same parlance was actually intended to designate the Jew, came to represent an irreparably evil and harmful blood and race.

The growing influence of Adolf *Hitler and the Nazis, the medieval-type poison disseminated by newspapers like Der *Stuermer, and the theories propounded by A. *Rosenberg and expounded by J. *Goebbels, created a dangerous situation and an oppressive attitude toward Jews even before the seizure of power in Germany by Hitler in 1933. The public vote, adherence of the youth, and the growing "respectability" of the Nazis and Nazi ideas among the right wing of German society, pointed the way to the Holocaust. The influence of this development in the heartland of Europe, in a country and nation famous for their culture, became threatening for Jews everywhere.

*Antisemitic political parties and organizations had begun to appear in Germany and Austria-Hungary in the 1870s (see A. *Stoecker; K. *Lueger; G. *Istóczy). These had from the first made in clear tones "socialist" claims against Jewish exploiters and "Christian" aims against subversive Judaism, and expressed overt hatred of the blood and the irradicably evil character of the Jew. In 1882 a first international congress of antisemites convened in Dresden, marking the conception of an all-European war against the Jewish "international conspiracy." The anti-Jewish agitation of Edouard *Drumont in France reached its peak and was defeated in the *Dreyfus affair in the 1890s (see also Emile *Zola). Right-wing sentiment against the Jews lingered on actively in France after the decisive defeat of the anti-Dreyfusards, however: it attracted many embittered intellectuals, Catholic and radical.

Another type and tradition of antisemitism was active and virulent in the "successor states" of Russia and Austria-Hungary. These faced wide-scale Jewish participation in the "third estate" (Poland, Lithuania) and in the intellectual elite of the country (Hungary). Memories of the war against Russia, when Jews were suspected of Russian leanings in the east of Poland (leading to the massacre in *Pinsk), and memories of the communist revolt in Hungary led by the Jew Béla *Kun intensified enmity against the Jews. Obliged by the minority treaties (see *Minority Rights) and by their internal economic and political situation to refrain from open action against Jews in the 1920s and early 1930s, these states developed, in particular Poland, Romania, and Hungary, a systematic policy of anti-Jewish measures camouflaged as measures intended for the improvement of trade or crafts, or for stricter sanitation. Taxation also served as a weapon against the Jews. Public opinion and semi-official economic organizations, such as the *Rozwoj organization and cooperatives in Poland, served the same purpose. Numerus clausus was introduced openly or clandestinely. Jews did not obtain state employment, while the "general" measures mentioned above enabled the closing down of Jewish shops and workshops and made economic activity difficult for the Jews. Public opinion encouraged this policy and was in turn officially encouraged to display hostility to Jews. Attacks against Jews by students and youths were endemic in Romania, where they were scarcely punished, and became more and more frequent in Poland.

Following the rise of the Nazis to power between 1933 and 1939 all these various brands of antisemitism on the continent of Europe tended to merge, accepting to a greater or lesser degree the racist theory and cruel methods of the Nazis. On the other hand, this provoked growing revulsion from antisemitism in some conservative and Church circles, though expressed hesitatingly and not generally leading to much activity against antisemitism.

The Nazis set the tone in introducing racism as a basic concept in law with the *Nuremberg Laws (1935). They gradually tried out on European public opinion as well as "educated" German society the steps of open boycott, of violence against, and harsh isolation of the Jews and expropriation of their property, culminating in the *Kristallnacht action of November 9–10, 1938. The badge of a yellow "magen David" served to mark the Jew outwardly. Jews were given a spurious autonomy appointed by and closely supervised by specially trained "experts" of the *ss and *Gestapo. By the eve of World War ii not only the non-communist states of Eastern Europe but also fascist Italy under *Mussolini and pro-Nazi political parties in the West, like that of Oswald Mosley in England and the Croix de Feu in France, had accepted – some enthusiastically, some reluctantly – the Nazi line toward Jews, though not always all the forms of Nazi behavior toward them. The civil war in Spain (1936–39), where thousands of left-wing Jews fought and died in the ranks of the international brigades of the republic against the armies of the Caudillo Franco, served in the case of the Jews to rally the extreme right wing of Europe closer to Hitler and make his victims its enemies.

The Economic Crisis of the Early 1930s

Jews everywhere were hard hit economically by the crisis of 1929, as were almost all sectors of the public in Europe and the United States. The New Deal of Franklin D. *Roosevelt did much to help them in the United States, where they were again in the mainstream of development of the whole country. Yet the early 1930s were a difficult time not only economically but also socially for Jews there. The odium incurred by Roosevelt and his measures were often directed against Jews too. Public agitators like Father Coughlin used the new medium of radio to preach hatred against the Jews.

In Soviet Russia after 1917

In the Soviet Union there continued, up to 1928 approximately, a long period characterized by the break-up of the shtetl economy and the penalization of many Jews as "bourgeois elements" in the legal, economic, and social aspects of existence. This policy was followed, even if they had been petty shopkeepers or smallscale artisans under the czarist regime, without taking into account the restrictions that had forced them into their petty bourgeois status. In this case also a "general line of policy" turned out to be destructive and unfair to Jewish society in particular. During the economic crisis the Soviet government was favorable to Jewish autonomy (there were many preponderantly Jewish municipalities and even several such regional administrative units even after the end of the 1920s). The setting in of industrialization around 1928 gave new opportunities to Jews and began to compensate many of them for the former social havoc.

In the 1920s the Soviet state encouraged a change in Jewish economy and society through agriculture and settlement in compact groups, first in the *Crimea and the south of the *Ukraine – which had been traditional areas for Jewish agricultural settlement with governmental encouragement from the first half of the 19th century – and later in what was proclaimed to be the autonomous Jewish region of *Birobidzhan. The projects proceeded rapidly with the help of Jews from abroad. In 1926, 150,400 Jews gained their livelihood from agriculture, approximately 6% of the total. By 1928 they numbered 220,000 (8.5%). A peak was reached in 1930 with 10.1% of Russian Jews in agriculture. Subsequently a steady decline, both in absolute numbers and even more proportionally, set in. During the collectivization of Soviet agriculture most Jewish settlements were practically de-Judaized by an "internationalization" process, i.e., the introduction of non-Jewish peasants. The Jewish settlements were finally obliterated during the Nazi occupation of World War ii.

In *Argentina, where the funds provided by Baron de Hirsch and vast tracts of available land seemed at the end of the 19th century to ensure prosperous Jewish settlement, this prospect withered away in the 20th century through the lure of the cities and lack of idealistic and national motivation. The failures of these attempts – state-supported in Communist Russia and supported lavishly by private means in the open economy of Argentina – proved, no less than the success of similar attempts in Ereẓ Israel (see below), that only ideals could reverse the trend in Jewish society toward urbanization manifest from the eighth century.

New Types of Social Organization

The years between 1880 and the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 were also ones of creativity in Jewish social organization and forms. Where the old community structure continued to exist it was destined to acquire importance through the activities of Zionists, autonomists, and other Jewish political party representatives, to revive and use it as an instrument for national, secular, social, and educational policy. It was further strengthened when the community organization became, under the minority treaties, a recognized cell of Jewish self-government representing the Jews as a minority in various states. International Jewish organizations patterned after the Alliance Israélite Universelle continued to appear with specific goals for diplomatic or philanthropic activity. To combat antisemitic propaganda the B'nai B'rith order set up its Anti-Defamation League in 1913, while in Germany the *Central-Verein deutscher Staatsbuerger juedischen Glaubens carried on such activity until its prohibition by the Nazis. Various organizations for the aid and direction of emigration arose in this period, the most prominent being the *hias and later the *Palestine offices of the Zionist Organization; *ort, *ose, and above all the *American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (from World War i) served to provide training for professional skills, health needs, and massive charity wherever required. The Jews of the United States who were emotionally attached to "di alte heym" and still retained memories of the hardships they underwent while taking root in the "New Country," made charity not only a duty and function but also a social bond and an ideal in life, a factor of cohesion in itself, and in forging links with other Jews; this proceeded from the time of World War i, in particular in relation to Palestine and later on the State of Israel.

The year 1897 saw both the convention of the first *Zionist Congress and the creation of the first all-state Jewish socialist party, the *Bund of Russia. The calling of the Zionist Congress and the method of ensuring its permanence through elected institutions acting in the interim between congresses, and, above all, through the institution of the *shekel, created an international Jewish framework that saw itself the representative of its "voluntary citizens," and "a state in preparation." The Zionist Organization created the instruments of the *Jewish National Fund and *Keren Hayesod, which served as financial agencies of this extra-territorial state. Even Orthodox Jewry found itself compelled at the beginning of the 20th century to organize in this novel form of a political party, establishing the *Agudat Israel. This form took root: the *Folkspartei, the *Jewish Socialist Workers' Party (Sejmists), and other Jewish groups organized as political parties to advance their aims, sometimes on a territorial and sometimes on an international basis.

In the Soviet Union the ruling Communist Party created its "Jewish section," the *Yevsektsiya, in 1918, which served as an instrument of agitation and propaganda in opposing the Jewish religion and Hebrew national culture. In the Soviet Union there also emerged Jewish units of local municipal and regional autonomy (see above). The search for forms continued in the attempt to create a *Jewish Agency to unite Zionists and non-Zionists in work for Ereẓ Israel, and later in the method of raising *bonds for Israel to assist an independent Jewish state. Cultural activity was also organized in democratic countries through separate organizational frameworks, like the Central Yiddish School Organization (cysho; see *Education) for Yiddish schools and culture, and *Tarbut for Hebrew secular schools and culture. The various trends of Jewish religious thought and life developed organizations of their own, in particular flourishing in the pluralist United States, in the shape of the three main groupings of Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox, with several splinter groups (see, e.g., *Reconstructionism). Many organizations tended to link themselves in one way or another to the State of Israel, though there is also in the United States the *American Council for Judaism, active mainly as an anti-Zionist and anti-Israel body. In the camp of the *New Left, stirrings were felt toward expression and organizational articulation on specific Jewish matters and issues, though in the main it was inimical toward and destructive of Jewish cohesion.

Contribution to General Culture

Jewish involvement in general culture and service to it became greater and more creative in this period. Henri *Bergson, Hermann *Cohen (who expressed himself not only as a general philosopher but also as a Jewish one), and Edmund *Husserl are but a few of those who contributed to *philosophy. *Mathematics and *physics increasingly attracted Jews who were very creative in these fields, like George Cantor, Albert *Einstein, Hermann *Minkowski, Robert *Oppenheimer, Edward *Teller, and Lev *Landau. The work of Georg *Simmel, Emile *Durkheim, and later that of Claude *Lévi-Strauss is central to *sociology and *anthropology. Many Jews have contributed to the literatures of various countries; most of them cannot avoid the Jewish problem, even when consumed by Selbsthass ("self-hate"). In art, the creations of Amedeo *Modigliani, Chaim *Soutine, and others are important in the modernist trend. Through the work of Marc *Chagall the shtetl life and mythology, and motifs and images from the world of Midrash and Jewish legend have gloriously and colorfully entered European art. By granting the 1966 Nobel Prize for literature to Shemuel Yosef *Agnon, European society recognized the place of modern *Hebrew literature and creativity in world literature, acknowledging at the same time the Jewish acculturated contribution to European literature by granting it also to Nelly *Sachs. In the State of Israel, which continued schools and trends of artistic creativity from mainly Eastern Europe and Germany, are found many varieties, forms, and schools of literary and artistic expression, increasingly rooted in the life of the state.

The Jewish specificity of this entrance to the humanities and literature was expressed by the German historian Ernst Troeltsch, who combined appreciation of the Jewish contribution with recognition that it was new to European culture and somewhat alien. He states that for Hermann Cohen:

history is concerned rather exclusively with the ideal future, and this is a systematics consisting purely of thought and ethics of the organized will of humanity. Through this the ideal Jewish approach to history finds its expression among the various approaches possible within the circle of our culture, for, since 1848, new conditions and new assumptions have been created through the entry of Judaism into literature and spiritual activity, first and foremost in the field of history …. This is given its most energetic expression by Cohen … (Der Historismus und seine Probleme (1922), 542).

André Gide reacted in a hostile fashion in 1914 to Jewish intrusion into French literature:

Why should I speak here of shortcomings? It is enough for me that the virtues of the Jewish race are not French virtues; and even if the French were less intelligent, less long-suffering, less virtuous in all regards than Jews, it is still true that what they have to say can be said only by them, and that the contribution of Jewish qualities to literature (where nothing matters but what is personal) is less likely to provide new elements (that is, an enrichment) than it is to interrupt the slow explanation of a race and to falsify seriously, intolerably even, its meaning. It is absurd, it is even dangerous to attempt to deny the good points of Jewish literature; but it is important to recognize that there is today in France a Jewish literature that is not French literature, that has its own virtues, its own meanings, and its own tendencies (Journals of André Gide, transl. by J. O'Brien, 2 (1948), 4).

This reflection on the essential difference between Jewish and French creativity is preceded here by the reaction of Gide, who later became for a while a left-winger and Communist fellow traveler, to the character of the young Léon *Blum, the future Socialist premier of France, leader of the Front Populaire before World War ii: "I cannot fail to recognize nobility, generosity, and chivalry, even though when applied to him these words must be considerably distorted from their usual meaning." Gide considered that these traits could not be applied in their usual meaning to Blum because of "his apparent resolve always to show a preference for the Jew, and to be interested always in him, that predisposition … comes first of all from the fact that a Jew is particularly sensitive to Jewish virtues." He suspects too that this completely assimilated young man "considers the Jewish race as superior, as called upon to dominate after having been long dominated, and thinks it his duty to work toward its triumph with all his strength … He always talks to you as a protector. At a dress rehearsal, when he meets you by chance … he … makes everyone think … that he is the most intimate friend you have in the world" (ibid., 3–4).

Antisemitic insinuations and touches thus often entered even where Jews and non-Jews seemingly mixed on the most equal terms in the salons of literature and science.

The National Renaissance and Zionism

The renaissance of Jewish solidarity and national thought that began in the 1860s continued and developed in the period under consideration. All the circumstances of the general growth of nationalism, the break-up of the Ottoman Empire, and above all, the feeling of Jews that they were not wanted in the social and cultural world around them with growing awareness that social and cultural understanding and acceptance mattered, led to a return to Judaism and to specific solutions for it. Leon (Judah Leib) *Pinsker suggested in his Autoemancipation (1882) that Jews could free both themselves and the world from the malaise of antisemitism if they would only make a sustained effort to return to the "state of nature" of a nation living in its own land and within its own social and economic framework, and if they ceased to frighten others by persisting in a ghost-like existence in exile. His ideas coincided to a considerable degree with ideas of other Jewish thinkers of different shades, like Nathan *Birnbaum, Moses Leib *Lilienblum, and Peretz *Smolenskin.

A supreme example of the Jew shocked out of complacent assimilation was Theodor *Herzl. Through his imaginative thought and charismatic leadership he rallied around his personality and ideas all those who wanted Jews to devote their efforts to the creation of a home of their own. Herzl stood outside most of Jewish culture, and was indifferent even to Hebrew. He put his trust mainly in diplomacy and in the possibility of obtaining a charter from the Ottoman Empire and shaping autonomous Jewish existence within it: methods and hopes that were destined to disappointment. Nevertheless, Herzl had the power to express openly his trauma, his consequent pride in being a Jew, and his political sense for symbols and forms of leadership, and to bequeath them to Zionism after him. His attempt in 1903 to lead Jews to a "Nachtasyl" in Uganda, mainly for the sake of alleviating the sufferings of Russian Jews, failed in a large measure due to the opposition of those very Jews (see *Uganda Scheme). The territorialists who later wanted to continue this trend of Herzl's thought were destined to fail in all their attempts, lacking the motive force of the historic attachment to Ereẓ Israel (see *Territorialism). The various organizational and financial instruments (see above) created in Herzl's lifetime and soon after his death were to assist the ultimate achievement of the Jewish state by enlarging their methods and including "practical" settlement work.

From the days of the *Bilu pioneers in the late 19th century Jewish settlement activity in Ereẓ Israel did not stop despite many problems and failures, and despite the political view that generated reluctance toward practical settlement efforts before the attainment of a proper charter. Baron Edmond de *Rothschild intervened to assist Jewish settlement from 1883. His methods were often bureaucratic. His officials lacked contact with the settlers, but the money poured in (1½ million pounds sterling over approximately 15 years) and the instructors he sent helped to save them from economic catastrophe and to embark on various agricultural and horticultural efforts.

The main problem of the Zionist settlers at the beginning of the 20th century was ideological and social. Tensions between them and the ḥalukkah settlers created a gulf between the "old yishuv" and the "new yishuv," as the two sectors in Ereẓ Israel came to be called. The settlers of the first villages soon accepted French culture, spread by the Alliance Israélite Universelle schools as well as by the officials of the Baron. Asher Ginsberg (*Aḥad Ha-Am) was shocked at what he saw in both the cultural superficiality of Zionist leadership and the emptiness of purpose in the settlements. He suggested a new "spiritual" Zionism. His positivist thought contributed much to the ideological buttressing of secular Zionism.

In 1904 the Second Aliyah began, and it continued until 1914. Its pioneers brought with them high standards of Jewish and general culture, lofty ideals of socialist collectivism and productivization, and a deep conviction that ideals may be proved only through living according to them. Among the approximately 40,000 who came in this way, many of whom left after a relatively short time, were several leading personalities. Some were destined to lay the foundations of and lead the State of Israel: David *Ben-Gurion, Iẓḥak *Ben-Zvi, Berl *Katznelson, Aharon David *Gordon, among many others. Gordon stressed the revolutionary and creative character of physical work and the supreme value of the return to nature. These people considered that work by Jews in the fields and roads of the Jewish settlements was a precondition to national revival as well as the path to individual renewal. They aimed to form a Jewish peasantry and a Jewish agricultural proletariat, hence their struggle for work by Jewish labor and for Jewish land, a struggle that continued up to the establishment of the State of Israel. The followers of Gordon organized the *Ha-Poel ha-Ẓair party in 1905. Some of them, more radical in outlook and adherents of Yiddish as the national language, organized in the *Po'alei Zion. By their joint effort the pioneers created the organization of agricultural laborers in 1911.

The greatest achievement – and, as it would now seem, a lasting contribution to the social organization of mankind – was made by these pioneers with the help of funds of the Zionist Organization and instruction by various experts (see Yehoshua *Ḥankin; Arthur *Ruppin) in creating types of communal living and agricultural settlement: the cooperative*moshav and the collective communes of the kevuẓah and *kibbutz. The last two relate back as if instinctively to the old tradition of Jewish communes in the Second Temple period (see *Essenes; *Dead Sea Sect). They were influenced respectively by ideals of social justice and equality, and of national service. Both consciously and subconsciously, the kibbutz served, through its spirit of collective brotherhood, to maintain the high cultural level and intensive social life of the pioneers in conditions of hard physical effort and economic hardship.

Malaria, the hot climate, and despair that they might be unable to attain their objectives were the enemies against which the Jewish idealist settlers had to battle from the first days of the Bilu'im. Despite many attempts and failures, a relatively high rate of suicide, and the fact that some 40 existing agricultural settlements contained only a minority of the approximately 80,000 Jews in Ereẓ Israel by 1914, they formed a strong social and ideological core that remained ready to continue to expand as soon as the war ended in 1918.

Following the tradition of Jewish self-defense, true to the conception that everything should be done by the Jews themselves, inspired to generate a romantic renaissance that attached great importance to physical valor, the pioneers of the Second Aliyah decided to take the defense of the Jewish settlements into their own hands. In 1909 they created the *Hashomer organization. Those who formed it intended to be more than mere watchmen, and took for their model of behavior that of the warrior bedouin. This organization lost several of its first members in defending the Jewish settlements. Some of them, through their way of life and the courage they displayed, developed an ideal prototype for the role of the Jewish defender.

Before World War i Eliezer Ben-Yehuda had succeeded in bringing Hebrew back to life as a day-to-day language by personal example and propaganda for it as a living language. The wealth of its literary, legal, and philosophical strata considerably contributed to its revival. This became firmly established through the "language conflict" between the supporters of Hebrew as the only language to be used for every field and activity, and those who considered that German should be used for various subjects and spheres for which Hebrew was not considered ripe, in particular for teaching at the new *Technion in Haifa. After pressure by the *Hilfsverein der deutschen Juden in support of German, the determined stand of teachers and public opinion decided the day for Hebrew in 1913.

World War i and Its Aftermath

World War i tested Jewish nationality as a political concept in the international arena. Zionism was in disarray. Conceived as an international movement and organization for carrying out Jewish policies by modern political means, it found itself divided between the two warring camps. Its main offices were in Germany, while the main body of its supporters were in the lands of Germany's enemies or in neutral countries. From the days of Herzl, Zionist diplomacy had relied both on friendship with the Ottoman Empire, using the influence of Germany for this purpose, as well as on the friendship and support of England. Now these mainstays were in conflict. The Turks were gradually drawn into the war and when they entered it they had already become particularly suspicious of Jews and Zionists.

Jews everywhere found themselves in a similar predicament. Culturally they admired Germany; the Austro-Hungarian Emperor *Francis Joseph was considered a friend and protector of Jews. Russia and the Russians were hated and feared, in particular by the great mass of recent immigrants from Russia who now formed the great centers of Jewish population in the United States and England. On the other hand, the Western democracies, and in particular England, were traditionally considered the states and societies most favorably inclined toward Jews. The Turks, who became the allies of Germany in 1914, were considered cruel and unreliable. When German successes in the East brought great areas of the Pale of Settlement under German rule, the attitude of the Germans and the Austro-Hungarians toward the Jews compared favorably with that of the Russians. Jewish officers in the German and Austro-Hungarian army, in particular army chaplains, came in touch with the Jewish society in the conquered territories, and did much to assist it. This encounter also brought important results for the Jewish consciousness of the German Jews themselves. Many of these German Jews made the acquaintance of "Ostjuden" life and culture in its home and began to respect and even to admire it. Much of the later understanding between these two sections of Jewry in the period between the two world wars stemmed from this encounter. The Russians, on the other hand, often maltreated Jews during their retreat, and expelled many of them eastward, suspecting them of spying for the Germans. They thus broke up on their own initiative – as they thought temporarily – the structure of the Pale of Settlement. Jews in the West, in Germany, and Austria-Hungary, were well informed about the various aspects of the situation in the East. Left-wing radicals, both Jewish and non-Jewish, wished for the downfall of all autocratic rulers, but in particular prayed for the downfall of the arch-autocrat in Europe, the czar.

Most Jews served in the armies of their respective countries, and did not feel obliged to form a specific Jewish policy and attitude, except for scattered reflections and sentiments influenced by the considerations mentioned above. Army service had an important result for Jewish society, as at least one million Jews received a sound military training under conditions of war. This served to good effect after the war, when Jewish ex-servicemen took over the self-defense of Jewish communities in many places in Eastern Europe (see *Military Service).

A sector of the Zionist leadership and many of the rank and file thought and behaved on similar lines. Their main policy was to wait and see. They argued that it would endanger the Jewish population in Ereẓ Israel if Zionism took a stand against the Turks and it would harm the Jews in Russia if Zionists entered into an agreement with the Turkish-German side. A small but very able and devoted minority thought otherwise. It included the veteran Zionist Max *Nordau, Chaim *Weizmann, Vladimir *Jabotinsky, Pinḥas *Rutenberg, Joseph *Trumpeldor, and Meir *Grossman. They considered that Zionism should have an active policy. They estimated that a victory for a side which included the Turks would mean an end to the whole of Jewish development in Ereẓ Israel. The phenomenon of the Polish legions who had served in the Napoleonic armies and the persistence of Polish national policy without a state of its own, the example of similar Italian units and policies before the attainment of Italian independence, and admiration for the symbolic figures of Garibaldi and Cavour influenced the thoughts of some of them.

They came to the conclusion that there could be no greater political asset than to create an activist, pro-Entente, Zionist-Jewish policy, and that there could be no finer expression of national behavior than to create Jewish units that would fight against the Turks, when, for the first time since the Jews had fought in alliance with the Persians and taken Jerusalem from Emperor Heraclius in 614, Jewish blood would again be part of the price for the ancestral Jewish homeland. Jews would obtain, so they hoped, basing themselves on these precedents, a seat and a say with the victors, and they were sure these would be the Western democracies. For some of them there was also the ideology of a renewal of the courage and warrior spirit of the Jewish nation through its formal and actual participation in the war. The behavior of the Turks in Ereẓ Israel was so outrageous that Aaron *Aaronsohn formed a spy group, *Nili, to serve the Allies.

The differences of opinion were decided by acts. Trumpeldor and his associates organized a group that was accepted as a unit of muleteers; this battalion served with distinction at Gallipoli. It was recruited mainly from Jewish refugees from Ereẓ Israel in Egypt. Trumpeldor forged, both through instruction and personal example, high morale and brave behavior among these soldiers. Jabotinsky in the meantime worked tirelessly in England for the formation of a *Jewish Legion in the British army to fight for the liberation of Ereẓ Israel. He seized on the fact that many of the Jewish immigrants were not due for army service in England; their exemption caused antisemitism, and from his point of view they were a ready reservoir for his intended unit. The British began to incline to his view as the war became prolonged and they saw that the opposition of the mass of the Jewish population in the United States to the Allied cause was a considerable hindrance to the U.S. entry to the war. One hundred and fifty of the *Zion Mule Corps, as Trumpeldor's unit was eventually called, joined Jabotinsky in London. In August 1917 the 38th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, or as they were called from the end of 1919, the "First Judeans," composed almost entirely of Jews, mainly from London, was officially instituted (see *Jewish Legion). In 1918 this battalion fought in Ereẓ Israel. Its commander was Colonel John Henry *Patterson, formerly commander of the Zion Mule Corps. In the U.S. Pinḥas Rutenberg, with the help of David Ben-Gurion, Iẓḥak Ben-Zvi and Chaim *Zhitlovsky, mobilized in 1917 approximately 6,500 men who were to form the 39th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers. After the conquest of Ereẓ Israel by the British, the 40th Battalion was formed out of Ereẓ Israel volunteers, many of whom later became activists of the *Haganah, like its leader Eliyahu *Golomb.

Activist policy carried the day on the diplomatic and political fronts also, thanks to the actions of Chaim *Weizmann and his supporters. Despite many obstacles put in the way by Jewish assimilationists, the *Balfour Declaration was issued on Nov. 2, 1917. Thus, at the end of World War i, clearly conceived Jewish policies were brought into effect through the importance of the new Jewish concentration in the United States, the ability and readiness for sacrifice among the intelligentsia circles of Russian origin, and the devotion and courage of the pioneers in Ereẓ Israel. The latter also had not only kept the Jewish settlements intact under the hostile Turkish regime, but had undergone the ordeal of severe persecution after the discovery of the Nili spy group.

The years 1917 to 1921 were decisive from many aspects in Jewish history. In 1917 the Jews in Russia acquired full emancipation and the Pale of Settlement there was abolished by the democratic Provisional Government. Legal emancipation was eventually attained by Jews in all of Europe. Despite the sufferings and confusion caused by the civil war, and the Communist policies with regard to Jewish society and culture, this achievement still formally remains in force, though with the terrible interlude of the years of Nazi domination. The institution of *minority rights and treaties seemed to ensure, in countries to which they applied, the right of Jewish self-government, cultural hegemony, and a means of maintaining Jewish identity and cohesion on the basis of international guarantees. No longer pertinent, they were important between the two world wars. The Balfour Declaration and, later on, the *Mandate for Palestine conferred on the British, opened the long and tortuous path to the State of Israel. At the time many saw the opportunity and did not estimate the difficulties. United States Jewry emerged as the great political force and financial mainstay for all Jewish activity. At the same time the massacres perpetrated by the Ukrainian and White Russian bands and armies against Jews in pogroms in the Russian civil war, the cruelty and hostility displayed toward them by many of the new national states in Europe, and the social and spiritual crisis in Germany presaged future dangers and complexities. Communist domination in Russia cut off one of the most devoted sectors of Zionist activity, Jewish cultural creativity, and pioneer spirit from the main body of Jews in the world and from participation in the settlement of Ereẓ Israel.

The Yishuv in Ereẓ Israel

The impetus of Zionist successes brought the quick reorganization of Jews in Ereẓ Israel, under patterns suggested by Zionism, in the Keneset Yisrael all-country structure, through the *Va'ad Le'ummi, and the Chief Rabbinate, which had as its first head the leading spiritual personality of Abraham Isaac*Kook. Circles of the "old yishuv" opposed this development and refused to participate in the common organization, basing their argument partly on their opposition to voting rights for women. They appealed to the *League of Nations and obtained the right of secession. They were supported by the Agudat Israel. Though unpleasant, their secession and opposition could not hinder Zionist and yishuv activity in Ereẓ Israel.

Life and development in Ereẓ Israel between the two world wars were influenced by and decided through a number of processes and events. Arab national opposition within the country to the Jews and their enterprise hardened with every success attained by other Arab countries to achieve independence or to approach it, and with every success attained by Jewish settlement and society in Ereẓ Israel. In a series of violent and cruel outbursts in the years 1921, 1929, 1933, and 1936–39, the Arabs tried to break Jewish morale and enterprise. The 1921 excesses achieved for them the Churchill *White Paper (1922), which gave a restrictive definition for the concept of the Jewish National Home, after the closure of Transjordan to Jewish settlement through the creation of a separate Arab emirate (later kingdom) there. Later outbursts brought in their wake commissions of inquiry, and diplomatic activity which in one way or another brought proposals of concessions to the Arab cause.

The history of relationships in the triangle between the Jews, Arabs, and British authorities in Ereẓ Israel is a long succession of flat Arab no's to a series of compromises loaded heavily in their favor. It is also a chapter in the history of colonial British officials the majority of whom were drawn to the romantic Arab against the ordinary European Jew. Jewish immigration to Ereẓ Israel was limited by various criteria and formalities; Jewish land acquisition was hindered in many ways. Only a minority of the British officials, and only in a limited number of cases and actions, fulfilled the mandatory power's obligation of furthering the "Jewish National Home."

Jews were divided among themselves as to the best ways of furthering their enterprise. In the dispute between Weizmann and Judge Louis D. *Brandeis there came to the fore the question of preference for individual initiative on accepted economic lines or preference for national and collectivist enterprises, sound from a social and ideological viewpoint more than from an economic one, which began to occupy Zionist attention from the time of this quarrel. Religious Zionist *Mizrachi circles complained about the secular and often anti-religious character of many of the settlers and settlements. The educational system set up by the new yishuv was divided between two networks: a modern Orthodox one and a "general" one with secularist leanings. The ultra-Orthodox circles maintained a network of their own. The readiness of Jews to come to Ereẓ Israel was often dependent on the political climate in the Diaspora. Thus the great immigration of Jews from Poland in the mid-1920s was nicknamed the "Grabski aliyah" after the Polish finance minister who through his discriminatory taxation policy influenced many to make aliyah.

Despite these hindrances and vacillations, progress continued unbroken throughout the period. The number of Jews in Ereẓ Israel grew in the 1920s about threefold, reaching 160,000. At the end of this decade there were 110 agricultural settlements (against 50 in 1920), cultivating 700,000 dunams (175,000 acres) of land. The electrification project of Rutenberg progressed, and the Potash Company successfully exploited the resources of the Dead Sea. The Plain of Jezreel became Jewish; irrigation for Jewish agriculture was swiftly developed. The new forms of the kibbutz and moshav proved themselves viable and were much admired by Jewish and general public opinion. In 1925 the first secular Jewish university was founded, the *Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This progress continued in the 1930s, accelerated by the needs and plight of German Jewry. In 1933 there were one quarter of a million Jews in Ereẓ Israel, and by 1939 half a million, 120,000 of whom lived in 252 agricultural settlements. These included 68 kibbutzim and 71 moshavim. Mixed agriculture became the main basis of the Jewish settlements' economy, freeing them from dependence on one source of income only, though citrus plantations were very successful. The skills, abilities, and money of German Jews did much to develop industry and advance technology.

Even the Arab Revolt of 1936–39 and frequent Arab attacks on Jewish settlements and traffic on the road did not succeed in halting the progress. The method of "*stockade and watch-tower" (ḥomah u-migdal) was invented to erect, overnight, settlements capable of defense. Fifty-five new settlements were founded between 1936 and 1939. World War ii found the Jewish settlement in Ereẓ Israel strong, active, and alert socially and economically. By 1939 many were embittered against the mandatory government, which prevented Jews, then in mortal danger in Europe, from reaching a safe haven in Ereẓ Israel. As other states had already raised barriers in the 1920s against immigration (e.g., the quota of 1924 in the United States whose terms prevented the entry of many Jews there), Ereẓ Israel was at that time the only society willing and eager to receive them, but for the refusal of the British. Jews developed a network of *"illegal" immigration which smuggled tens of thousands of Jews into the country. Measures taken by the mandatory authorities to suppress this immigration caused further clashes.

The defense system, strategy, and tactics of the Jews in Ereẓ Israel were based from 1921 on the underground mass organization of the Haganah. It had to develop its training and arms supplies clandestinely. Up to 1945 strategically always on the defensive against the Arabs, it had to develop under pressure of attack new tactics to respond to different challenges. In the meantime there were differences of opinion over the share of various social circles in the leadership of the Haganah, expressed mainly in terms of right-wing and left-wing; different policies as to the methods and timing of reaction to individual acts of terror; and from the late 1930s also differences over the question if and to what degree to oppose by armed force the British anti-Zionist legislation and measures. These led to splits in the Jewish forces. A group of the minority right wing

advocating an activist response to Arab terrorization formed a separate armed underground, generally named the "Irgun Bet" in the 1930s. In 1937, after two splits, the *Irgun Ẓeva'i Le'ummi (iẒl) emerged and, in 1940, the *Loḥamei Ḥerut Israel (Leḥi). From many aspects these were more extreme developments of the former right-wing "Irgun Bet."

The Haganah attempted with considerable success to form legal Jewish militia and defense units in cooperation with the mandatory government. In the personality of Orde Charles *Wingate it found a devoted British officer who identified himself with the Jewish cause. On the eve of World War ii a large number of the Jewish youth in Ereẓ Israel were organized one way or another for defense, and ready to serve. They supplied the volunteers for the various Jewish units, and later on the *Jewish Brigade Group in the British army of World War ii was formed. In this unit, in turn, many who were later to be commanders of the Israel Defense Forces gained experience in large-scale training and operations. In the *Palmaḥ, the Haganah created a striking force of youth trained in commando style who through close links with social life in the kibbutzim were emotionally and ideologically devoted to the new Jewish society. Consciously and subconsciously all these various military and para-military organizations and units drew their inspiration from the conviction, crystallized in Russia at the time of the pogroms, that human stature demanded active armed defense by the Jews of their honor and their life. They were also inspired by historical memories revived on the soil of Ereẓ Israel: the acts of the Maccabees, the example of the great revolt against the Romans (66–70), and the deeply implanted readiness for kiddush-ha-Shem, which had already assumed a secularist form in sacrifice for an ideal in the activities of Jewish revolutionaries in Europe from the second half of the 19th century.

Hebrew and Yiddish

Between the world wars at one and the same time Hebrew was finally transformed from a literary language into a full-scale living language and Yiddish was transformed into a language for literary and scientific expression from a spoken popular dialect. The attainments of Hebrew before World War i were now broadened and deepened by a rich literary creation – much of it begun before World War i but reaching a peak and social recognition between the two world wars (Ḥayyim Naḥman *Bialik, Saul *Tschernichowsky, Zalman *Shneour, Nathan *Alterman, Shemuel Yosef *Agnon, among a galaxy of poets and writers). In the Hebrew University at Jerusalem, the Technion in Haifa, and in all aspects of everyday life, in the elementary school and kindergarten, in the units of the defense organizations as in professional work and writing, old mishnaic, talmudic, and midrashic terms were given new meanings and connotations to serve modern needs. Many new terms were coined. Many Jews in the Diaspora began to study and use Hebrew as a living language, considering it and forging it into a powerful bond and rich symbol of unity with the Jewish past and of participation in the emerging new Jewish spirit in Ereẓ Israel.

Yiddish also continued to evolve and diffuse literary works on a high level before World War i and after it (Mendele Mokher Seforim (see Sholem Yankev *Abramovitsh), who through his work and personality formed a link between Hebrew and Yiddish literature; Shalom *Aleichem; Sholem *Asch; *Der Nister; Peretz *Markish; David *Bergelson; and many others). It was cultivated and perfected, and attained precision in expression and grammar, in academic institutes (see *yivo), and school systems. For many Jews – mostly anti-Zionist or left-wing, but also some among the Orthodox – Yiddish became a symbol of the greatness of European Jewish culture of the Ashkenazi type, and of what they considered the abiding value of continued Jewish existence in the Diaspora. Nathan *Birnbaum, an early pioneer of Zionism, served through his leadership and personality as a link between these various groups of "Yiddishists." In the Soviet Union, mainly through the ideology and activities of the Yevsektsiya circles, as well as among radical circles of the Yiddishist camp elsewhere, Yiddish became a symbol of the break with the religious "clerical" and the "bourgeois nationalist" past. It was used to work for and express total secularization as the basis for specifically Jewish life and creativity in the new society. This found technical expression in the adoption of changes of spelling and vocalization to wipe out the last traces of Hebrew and religious influence from the language.

Thus, on the eve of the Holocaust, Jews had two fully developed national languages, two competing conceptions as to the center of gravity of Jewish achievement and Jewish continuity, and two incipient conceptions of the relation to the past and the character of future culture. Two sets of literature were being developed and sustained at a high level; two parallel structures of scientific and educatory effort were being activated successfully. Hebrew stood for a hope for the eventual unity of Jews throughout the world, on the basis of a common past rooted in biblical, mishnaic, and talmudic times and striving for a renaissance in the land of Israel. Its secular tendencies were also directed toward the transformation of this past unity and those past treasures into new forms capable of containing the entire former complex. Yiddish expressed the feeling that what had happened in Europe from approximately the tenth century onward, and more or less north of the Pyrenees, was what mattered and should be handed on to be transformed and used. It stood for the belief in "Doyigkeyt" (the value of what is here and now in Jewish life, meaning Europe and the European communities overseas, and the elements that were present and activating in their culture in the 20th century). It was intended to be the abiding vehicle of autonomous secular Jewish culture and life in the Diaspora based on a European Jewish Ashkenazi cultural pattern. The Holocaust cut the existential plane from under Yiddish. Its achievements, and goals, and the conceptions it expressed remain in its literature and in the progress it made in competition with established Hebrew in a relatively short time. In the Soviet Union Yiddish was helped by the prohibition of Hebrew and by state aid provided for Yiddish institutions and literature. This also vanished with the anti-Jewish stands adopted by *Stalin and the "liquidation" of many Yiddish writers and artists after the end of World War ii. Tension between the "Hebraists" and "Yiddishists" was considerable between the two world wars. After the Holocaust, it became a matter of the past.

World War ii and the Holocaust

World War ii found the Jews everywhere, unlike the outbreak of World War i (see above), united in the war against Hitler. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of August 23, 1939, caused some fanatical Jewish communists to deviate for a short time from this natural course, to which they returned gladly in 1941 with Hitler's attack on Soviet Russia. Each German victory – a series unbroken up to the end of 1942 – spelled horror and doom for the Jews who came under German rule. As clearly evident now from documents captured and from the torsos of "Jewish museums" that Hitler began to erect, his clearly formulated plan and avowed intention was to exterminate first all the Jews in Europe and later all Jews in the world, so that future generations could see what Jews were only as museum exhibits. The Nazis saw and pointed to Jews as the vermin of humanity whose house had to be cleaned of them in order to be made fit for the future great culture under pure Aryan domination.

The Nazi methods in dealing with Jews were an unvarying compound of deception, human cruelty, and the use of both psychological pressure and technical harassment to break the spirit of the victims and dehumanize them before their final dispatch. In the ghettos, in the various Aussiedlung actions, and in the death camps, the same pattern of sadistic torture proceeded, creating a constant and worsening situation of hunger, epidemics, arbitrary executions and torture, and in the end death for the emaciated body, taking the maximum care to use every ounce and particle possible for the benefit of the great Aryan German culture. Under this pattern it was intended that the victims lose all sense of time and individuality; the humanly impossible was always possible in the organized chaos and nightmare surrounding the Jews. Degradation was as much the aim as killing. This system was applied in the full to Jews, though it was also applied to other enemies and opponents of the "thousand-year Reich."

Despite this satanic dehumanization by a mighty state machine, there were indeed Jewish uprisings, in the *Warsaw Ghetto, and several other ghettos, and in the *Treblinka death camp as well as several others. There were Jewish *partisans wherever they could find shelter, which was often denied to them by non-Jewish partisans.

The Nazis were able to deceive their decent victims because no ordinary human being could conceive the existence of such depths of vileness in the human mind, even having read Mein Kampf and meeting with the Nazis. The Nazis used a series of cover names and cover conceptions to confuse the Jews. The terms "*ghetto," or "elders of the Jews" (*Judenrat), "Judenpolizei," the slogan "labor makes free" at the entrance to death camps, and the fiendish invention of sending Jews to a "shower-room" that was really a gas chamber, constituted a mixture of medieval concepts, which apparently ensured life with humiliation, and modern concepts of service and cleanliness, so that the Jews should not realize their fate (cf. *Nazi-Deutsch).

The process of actual extermination frequently began with mass pogroms in the old czarist style. It continued in the nightmarish journeys in freight trains under horrible conditions to the ghettos in Poland. On Jan. 20, 1942, the details for the final mass extermination were settled at the so-called *Wannsee Conference at Berlin. At this conference the liquidation of 11 million Jews was envisaged, and from the following year was largely implemented at *Auschwitz and the other camps. The Warsaw Ghetto revolt of April–May 1943 was a last stand manifesting Jewish courage and belief in the future and the human spirit. By the time the Nazis had been defeated between four-and-a-half and six million Jews were already dead; the Holocaust was carried out in such a way that exact numbers are difficult to ascertain (see *Holocaust). When the gates of the death camps were opened at *Buchenwald, *Bergen-Belsen, *Dachau, and elsewhere, hundreds of thousands of living skeletons were found in them. They had to be brought back to ordinary human life.

The Holocaust showed the inhumanity to which antisemitism and racism could lead, not only despite, but in the main through, mass culture, mass education, and the use of mass media for propaganda and indoctrination. The executioners were dehumanized beyond recovery in the process. The victims were intended to reach this state but the Jewish vitality and spirit, and the demonstration of Jewish brotherhood quickly brought back most of the survivors to personal integration and proud human stature. The numbers that had been tattooed on their skins in the camps were not obliterated: most of those Jews learned to live with them, and gained a renewed belief in humanity.

The Holocaust was organized by the Germans. The German people knew of it. Such an operation could be carried out only by means of the technology at its disposal, and the victories achieved by its sons, but many other peoples of Europe, in particular of Eastern Europe, took part in the initial mass pogroms, and collaborated in the murders. It was not by accident that Hitler chose Poland in which to carry them out. Some nations – the Dutch, the Danes, the Swedes, the Bulgarians and many Italians – showed courage in helping and hiding Jews (cf. *Righteous of the Nations). Few came out openly on their side. A notable exception was the mass action of the Amsterdam port workers. The Western allies were afraid of German propaganda and on many occasions took good care not to be trapped into specific and open actions of help to the Jews as Jews. The bombing of Auschwitz was considered impossible on technical grounds, while aid by air to the Polish insurgents in Warsaw was conceived and carried out despite Russian opposition. On general grounds of condemning torture and inhumanity the Allies included the account of the Jews in their warnings to the Germans of the day of reckoning to come. But they refused to counter the singling out of Jews for destruction by the Nazis by singling Jews out themselves for help and protection.

It seemed, after the Holocaust, to many, friends and enemies alike, that with regard to the Jews Hitler had achieved his purpose of breaking their spirit, though he had failed in achieving their total extermination. In looking at the physical wrecks in the camps, and in counting the scanty remnants of European Jewry, it seemed to the foreign secretary of the Labor government, Ernest *Bevin, as well as to many other level-headed statesmen, that the time had come to liquidate the enterprise of European Jewry in Ereẓ Israel after its virtual liquidation in Europe. Emancipation had again returned formally to Jews all over the world; the antisemitism of Stalin was yet to be seen. The pressure of the Jewish masses for immigration to Ereẓ Israel seemed to be gone with the annihilation of these masses. Economically rich countries were ready to receive the remnants; why imagine that they would insist on going to a poor, dangerous, and effort-demanding little country? The Jews of Ereẓ Israel had witnessed the horror of the destruction of millions of Jews, of the conception of Jews as subhuman beings, and the passivity of the democratic and communist pro-Jewish world. It seemed that ensuring the guaranteed status of an autonomous and prosperous minority in an Arab state should satisfy the Jews of Ereẓ Israel, while rehabilitation and immigration to other countries would help what remained of European Jewry.

Rescue of the Remnant

This view and plan was upset by the spirit and readiness to undergo mortal risks and physical sufferings by three elements of the Jewish people. The greater part of the remnant in Europe refused to be lured by comfort in other Diasporas. Even the many who went to the countries of Western Europe and the United States, and even those who found it possible to return to live in German cities, conceived that they could see no other compensation for their humiliation, for the torture and death of their brethren – and no other surety or hope that a Jew could continue to live among men and be considered a fellowman – but the creation of an independent political and social existence in a Jewish state in Ereẓ Israel. The Jews of Ereẓ Israel showed themselves at this juncture ready to face both Arabs and ultimately British might and to risk everything for the creation of a Jewish state. The cooperation of the soldiers of the Jewish Brigade in Europe was enlisted, paratroopers were dropped behind Nazi lines during the war (see Hannah *Szenes), emissaries of the Haganah and iẒl were sent to Europe, and they began again to organize "illegal" immigration (cf. *Beriḥah). The attempts to enter Ereẓ Israel were met by the British authorities with expulsions. The immigrant ship Exodus was intercepted and went from port to port in Europe. Later on the immigrants were concentrated at Cyprus, but the immigrant ships – congested and unsea-worthy – continued to arrive off the shores of Ereẓ Israel at night. The story of their embarkation, journeyings, perilous disembarkation, and running the cordon of British military and police in the country, lit a flame and became a legend, a record of devotion and heroism. The iẒl, and in particular the Lehi, turned to acts of sabotage and individual terror against the British. Undeterred by the specter of mass antisemitism and the enmity of states and statesmen, and not heeding allegations of "dual loyalty" and "Jewish lobby," U.S. Jewry poured its enthusiasm, its money, and its position as Americans, into the struggle to assert a proud Jewish identity to offset the image of the skeletons in the camps. They were joined by many non-Jews who felt that their support was not only a matter of justice to the Jews but even more of giving back trust in humanity to small nations.

Prelude to Independence

The Jews had been ready in 1937 to accept in principle the proposition of the Peel Commission of inquiry for the partition of Ereẓ Israel, though not all the details of the plan. In 1942, at a conference in the United States, the *Biltmore Program was accepted by the Zionist organization which set forth clearly the goal of the creation of a Jewish state. Now even the most pro-British elements among the Zionists began to waver in their loyalty to the mandatory power. Other commissions were sent to Ereẓ Israel, searches for arms were made by the British in Jewish settlements (see *Yagur), there were arrests, and hints were frequently thrown out that the British might leave the Jews to their fate, withdrawing their protection and leaving them on their own to face the Arabs. A mixed Anglo-American committee of inquiry proposed in April 1946 the immediate entry of 100,000 Jews mainly from the "*displaced persons" camps in Europe to Ereẓ Israel. The U.S. president, Harry S. *Truman, supported this recommendation; the British prime minister, Clement *Attlee, refused it by attaching a condition requiring disbandment of the Jewish illegal armed organization and handing in of their weapons. The struggle continued. From the end of 1945 the Haganah also took part in actions against the British. When in 1946 the British arrested the leaders of the yishuv, the iẒl reacted by organizing the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem where many government officials were killed.

The fate of the ship Exodus in 1947 aroused world opinion against the British government. The British then at first proposed the "Morrison Plan for Partition," which was rejected by both Jews and Arabs. In April 1947, Ernest Bevin carried out his threat and turned to the United Nations, withdrawing from the principle of sole British responsibility for Ereẓ Israel. The Jews refused to be frightened. To the surprise of many, the Soviet government joined that of the United States in supporting partition and the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. On Nov. 29, 1947, the *United Nations General Assembly adopted, by a majority of 33 votes against 13, a resolution on the partition of Palestine. The actual plan was very disadvantageous to the Jews, but the Arabs immediately proclaimed war against it. The Jews had to prepare for this war clandestinely; the Arabs had the support of their states and the sympathy of the British government to help them in their preparations.

Establishment of the State of Israel

When war broke out on May 15, 1948, with the proclamation of the establishment of the State of *Israel, the armies of seven Arab states invaded the territory intended for the Jewish state. In a series of battles, during which they had to organize and improvise under fire, the Jews repelled these armies. They proved in the process the value of their underground organizations and of the approximately 25,000 trained men who had fought in one way or another in World War ii, as well as the valor of thousands of volunteers who flocked from many Diaspora countries to fight for their nation. The *War of Independence, in its two phases (interrupted by a short-lived cease-fire), not only enabled the State of Israel to exist; its course also changed the map of the proposed Jewish state in the latter's favor. The borders of the Rhodes *armistice of 1949 were much more viable than those of the U.N. resolution of 1947. The war took a toll of thousands of lives. In besieged Jerusalem alone about 1,600 civilians were killed by the shellings of the Jordanian Arab Legion, then commanded by British officers.

Since then the State of Israel has been surrounded by the hostility of the Arab world, which considers itself at war with Israel and likes to think of Israel as being in a state of siege to be ended with Arab victory. The Arabs not only proclaim a *jihad against Israel but also organize systematically, as a matter of declared policy, an anti-Israel economic *boycott. The attitude of the Arabs was to see the State of Israel as a "non-state," destined ultimately for obliteration.

This Arab hostility brought about the consummation of the process of the "Ingathering of the Exiles" from the Muslim countries, which had already begun well before World War i. The enthusiasm of Yemen Jews for aliyah had been manifested from ancient times, and began to be realized with the stimulus given by the mission of Shemuel *Yavnieli. After the War of Independence almost all went to Israel; for many of them their air flight was an abrupt transition from conditions of tenth-century Muslim technology and life to the 20th-century society of Israel. Their adjustment was miraculously rapid and successful. Yemen Jewry has enriched Israel culture with its traditions in song and dance, colorful dress and customs. The Jews of Syria and Iraq remained in continuous contact with Ereẓ Israel. They made up a not inconsiderable part of the "illegal immigration" during the mandatory period – often undergoing danger and persecution in the countries of departure. After the establishment of the state they left for Israel "illegally," having to organize self-defense and an underground movement in circumstances of mob hostility and brutal persecution by the state. Most of them had to abandon all their possessions to go to Israel (see also *Asia, *Iraq, *"illegal"

. A large number of the Jews in Iran also left the country, though they did not face state enmity there.

With the increase of hostility in North Africa many – though by no means all – of the Jews there went to Israel. This ingathering of exiles has created, for the first time since the dispersion of the Jews, a meeting of the diverse varieties of Jewish culture and social life that have crystallized over a period of at least 2,000 years in widely differing environments and circumstances. A vast, almost unprecedented, process of reacquaintance and mutual acculturation has thus begun, and is, it seems, successfully under way. The Hebrew language, the educational system, and army service serve as accelerating and cementing factors, though there remains still much tension and misunderstanding between the various Jewish groups.

To Jews everywhere the creation of the State of Israel was not only a reassertion of their humanity, but a fulfillment and an obligation to strive for further human and Jewish perfection and service. This has been stated as follows:

To sum up: the political rebirth of Israel is the very essence of Jewish history. She has absorbed into herself the experiences and activities of generations, the covenant of generations. She has renewed the covenant with the land out of a longing, through the creation of a new community, to develop the Covenant of Man into an Eternal Covenant (B.Z. Dinur, Israel and the Diaspora (1969), 186).

In this period the State of Israel victoriously fought two wars (in 1956, in the *Sinai Campaign; in 1967, in the *Six-Day War). It carried the burden of terror tactics and guerilla warfare almost continuously. At the same time it gathered in hundreds of thousands of Jews from the Arab states, and as the behavior of the population has shown during the Six-Day War of 1967, it succeeded within this short span in imbuing most of its immigrants with its ethos and with a serviceable acquaintance with European technology and scientific methods. The Jewish state has up to the present proved itself to be democratic in the full sense of the term, in its conduct of the political process and in the freedom of press and discussion. Hebrew culture is continuously developing. In the *Law of Return (1950) the state asserted its basic Jewishness in proclaiming that every Jew has the right to go there and become an Israeli citizen. The State of Israel is not only far from being besieged to all practical intents and purposes but has become one of the important advisers to developing countries in Africa and Asia. Basically secular, it does much toward maintaining links to Jewish law and tradition, though the extent of this application is at the center of heated public discussion.

World Jewry in 1970

All over the world emancipation is formally in force for Jews, with a few unimportant exceptions (Saudi Arabia; Yemen). In practice Jews are severely persecuted in most Arab countries, and suffer governmental harassment and total denial of rights to develop their own culture in all communist countries. There is proof, however, that the cultural activity and consciousness continues as always, even under persecution. The open fight of Soviet Jews for links with their brethren outside the country and for aliyah to Ereẓ Israel has become one of the focal phenomena in Jewish life the world over and their redemption a central challenge for the entire Jewish people (see *Russia, Struggle for Soviet Jewry). In many communist countries the number of Jews is diminishing to vanishing point (Poland; *Czechoslovakia).

In the Western world Jews everywhere are active in parties of all shades and occupied with the problems that face the societies to which they feel allegiance. At the same time their ties with other Jews, and in particular with the State of Israel, are strong. The tense atmosphere in the Diaspora during the weeks preceding the Six-Day War showed their devotion at a time of crisis. On the other hand, Jews in the United States are facing, as many Jewish societies have done in modern times, an imponderable problem from without in the emergence of "black" antisemitism among black society. Inside their own camp Jews are facing strong manifestations of Jewish "self-hate," in particular among intellectuals of the New Left, often in the guise of anti-Zionism, so that there now exists not only "left-wing antisemitism" – an old phenomenon dating from the times of Marx and *Bakunin – but also "Jewish antisemitism." Conversely, many Jews now contribute to general culture with a conscious and articulate stress on and expression of their Jewishness, as they understand it (like Arnold *Wesker in England, or Bernard *Malamud and Saul *Bellow among many in the United States). Some have even elevated Jewish existence in exile to the status of a paradigm and symbol of the alienation of modern man.

In many respects the Jewish nation stands at present in a similar situation to that at the time of the Second Temple. It has its independent and creative center in Ereẓ Israel. It has great and creative centers in the Diaspora, especially in the United States which has been compared in this connection with those of Hellenistic Alexandria or ancient Babylonia with their roles in the development of Jewish culture. Cultural hostility toward Jews, and certainly vulgar antisemitism, is far from disappearing. Despite Pope *John xxiii's great humanist attempt to sever the old Christian attitude to the Jews, this has not disintegrated. The phrases used by Arnold Toynbee designating the Jew and his culture as a "fossil of the Syriac civilization" making the Arab refugees "the new Jews" form but one striking instance of modern "Salon Anti-semitismus." Jews are economically active in many specific spheres; while in Jewish society the trend to megalopolization and intellectualization continues and even sharpens, this activity has established in the State of Israel a flourishing modern agriculture and a full range of modern social stratification. The number of Jews in the professions is constantly rising. With the present importance of science, sociology, and psychology for immediate military, industrial, and social needs the service of Jews to society in these fields has become of increasing importance, and their standing is becoming more assured and rewarding, socially and spiritually, both in regard to the society of the environment and in their own estimation.

The problems facing Jews have not disappeared. Many of the old dangers, opportunities, tasks, and ideals remain under a change of guise.

Each and every chapter in the long history of our people and each and every real point of our historical reality embodies the mystery of old periods, past and future …. They are planted in the heart of every man, through them the place of Israel amongst the nations will be marked in the future (Y. Baer, Yisrael ba-Amim (1955), 117).

[Haim Hillel Ben-Sasson]

Into the Millennium

In the 35 years that have passed since Haim Hillel Ben-Sasson concluded his magisterial survey of medieval and modern Jewish history for the first edition of the Encyclopaedia Judaica, momentous events have occurred in the Jewish world. These, however, cannot be assessed as yet from a historical perspective; rather, they reveal trends and processes that are still unfolding.

The most dramatic event of these years was undoubtedly the mass exodus of Soviet Jewry from the former Soviet Union in the 1990s after the collapse of the Communist system. The million Jews who left arrived mostly in Israel, with significant numbers also settling in the United States and Germany. Contrary to the expectations of some, they have not changed the face of Israel but have rather become another immigrant group undergoing a steady process of acclimatization and assimilation, not unlike, for all the differences, the East European Jews who arrived on the shores of America in another era.

In Israel itself, the euphoria of the great victory in the Six-Day War of 1967 soon gave way to a national depression in the wake of the *Yom Kippur War of 1973 as the myth of Israel's invincibility was shattered along with confidence in its Old Guard leaders. The immediate consequence was the election upset of 1977, bringing Menahem *Begin and the *Likud to power. The leading motifs of the Begin years were debilitating inflation under the banner of free enterprise and the morass of the war in Lebanon. More significant, however, was the disintegration of the country's socialist ethos and the rapid transformation of Israel into a Western-style consumer society with its inevitable by-products. Ironically, this process had been initiated not by the trauma of the Yom Kippur War but by the Six-Day War, which had served to open new psychological vistas and divert the country's economic energies from the common effort to the private plane.

Politically the Yom Kippur War initiated an ongoing peace process whose end was not in sight after 10 years of negotiations and two intifadas. Though it had yielded peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan and the general shape of a settlement with the Palestinians seemed to be understood by everyone, the situation in the Middle East seemed no less precarious than before, with global terrorism and the Iranian nuclear threat now part of the mix.

Outside Israel, Jewish communities showed mixed and even, at first glance, contradictory trends: a general downward movement of population levels as a result of assimilation, low birth rates, and immigration to Israel (a decline from 10.1 to 7.8 million between 1970 and 2005) and an upsurge of Jewish life in these very same communities. One might think of steady erosion at the outer edges of these communities while at the core a (false?) sense of security prevailed. In the United States, committed Jews seemed increasingly secure in their Jewish identities, synagogue-centered communal life flourished, and Jewish academic studies revealed a vitality unknown 35 years ago. Individually, Jews continued to distinguish themselves with remarkable achievements in hospitable environments.

What do these trends signify?

Perhaps it may be said that two illusions characterize our perception of the Jewish world at the outset of the new millennium. One is that the ultimate political and social direction of the State of Israel will be determined ideologically. The other is that the upsurge and vitality of Jewish life in various Diaspora communities will serve as a brake against continuing assimilation and forestall the ultimate disappearance of these communities as living Jewish organisms.

The perception of Israel as divided into two opposing political camps – right and left – whose rival ideologies – zealous nationalism and peace-loving humanism – are locked in a struggle to determine the face of Israel is naive to say the least. Not only are historical and political forces at work which will make all debate seem academic but the ideologies themselves are marginal to the mainstream of Israeli life, which has settled into a comfortable materialist phase whose values are those associated with middle classes everywhere. In the modern West, this middle class determines both a country's social order and political options. It is dedicated to personal freedom and the pursuit of happiness and it eschews national symbols and aspirations, as Spengler has put it. It is therefore not farfetched to suggest that the future of Israel – politically, socially, economically – will be determined by its center, a vocal majority increasingly worshiping at the shrine of private life.

In the United States, assimilation and extremely high rates of intermarriage will no doubt continue. In effect, half the Jews in the United States – the unaffiliated half – are moving toward total alienation from their Jewish roots. For the others, excluding the Orthodox population, it cannot be guaranteed that the present-day attractions of Jewish community life will exert the same influence in the next generation, and the next. On the contrary, it may be anticipated that a very natural dropout rate will establish itself here too, further diminishing the Jewish population. It is questionable whether a Judaism that consumes only a small part of an individual's life can generate the force and energy needed to ensure its survival.

These are issues for the long term – the ultimate character of the State of Israel, the ultimate fate of Diaspora Jewry – but they are vital questions for a people whose history is measured in millennia. To lose such a history would be tragic, to perpetuate it will require a great national effort. This is the challenge faced by the Jewish people at the start of the 21st century.

[Fred Skolnik (2nd ed.)]

For further information, consult the entries on State of *Israel and individual countries.


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Gilbert, Atlas of Jewish History (1992); E. Barnavi (ed.), Historical Atlas of the Jewish People (1992).

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History: Modern Times – from the 1880s to the Early 21st Century

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