Israel versus Judaism



Why Zionism Succeeded

It is no wonder that Zionism succeeded in spreading so widely among the masses. Even half a century ago, not everyone was "intelligent". The very word "Eretz Israel" has a charm for each and every Jew. The young people whose fingers had already been scorched with assimilation and with the endeavour to follow the paths of the gentiles, embraced this new type of "Judaism" with its new and original message to the effect that one can be a proud and loyal Jew without having to carry the burden of Mitzvoth of even that of belief. Thus, one could enjoy, so to speak, both worlds alike, or, to use a more simple expression, eat one's cake and have it, remaining a Jew and caring for the salvation of the Jewish people, and partaking, at the same time, of all the tempting pleasures which the non-Jewish environment could offer. What with the study of Hebrew satisfying every possible "yen" for spirituality, this marvellous "invention" soon conquered many hearts, particularly in the little townlets. A great many devout Jews, simple as they were and unaware of the intricate problems, innocently thought that this was a beginning of the fulfillment of their Messianic hopes.

In addition, Zionism from its very origin proved itself most capable of conducting intensive, well-calculated propaganda campaigns with true German thoroughness, most of the founders of Zionism having been either of German origin, or graduates of German universities. Zionism also knew how to "pull the strings" in the right places, even inciting and fostering antisemitism wherever necessary, in order to make Jews feel like strangers in the countries of their residence (For details and documentation of this highly interesting but little known chapter, see "Who gave Jacob for a Spoil?" by Chaim Bloch, New York, 1957) but these matters are not part of our subject.

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