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Beyond Exile and Return

Redefining the Concept of Peoplehood

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  • Cover Type: Softcover | Hebrew
  • Number Of Pages: 171 Pages
  • Price: 45 NIS

A publication that argues that in order to strengthen Israeli democracy, it is not enough to implement structural or institutional reforms; rather, the issue of national identity must be addressed in the context of a redefinition of Zionism. 

Israeli democracy is still in its infancy and is therefore fragile. Its fragility also derives from the fact that it has not yet resolved the tension between itself and Judaism, which sometimes erupts as a confrontation that is inextricably tied to and derived from the philosophical basis and practices of classical Zionism.

Those interested in a healthy and strong Israeli democracy cannot be satisfied with structural reforms and technical repairs to its institutions. To consolidate Israeli democracy, they must probe more deeply and clarify the basis of this tension between democracy and the Jewish “national” identity; in other words, they must redefine Zionism.

This volume addresses this conundrum and proposes a possible direction for the redefinition of Zionism, given that, according to the author, classical Zionism has exhausted its potential. In contrast to how it understands classical Zionism, the essay takes the unquestionable tie between Israel as a sovereign state and the Diaspora as a necessary postulate. It presents the Diaspora as the rich source of Israel’s national ideas and traditions, while, at the same time, the Diaspora and the ties to it are an existential axiom that leaves its imprint on Israel’s development in the present and the future. The State of Israel is the state of the people of Israel, who are also the people of the Diaspora, and Israel is potentially the political and spiritual-cultural center of the people of the Diaspora.

The content of the book rests on three layers: an analysis of the tension between the elements of Israel’s evolving democracy and the causes of its national identity crisis; an analysis of the elements of the collective identity of Diaspora Jews, and a presentation of a prescription for conceptual and structural changes.