During the past two generations, Jewish public thought and
discourse has differed dramatically from that of the era between
the Emancipation and the Second World War. The chasm of the
Holocaust and the watershed establishment of a Jewish state has
radically changed the Jewish intellectual landscape. With their two
largest concentrations in Israel and the United States, the Jews
are no longer a European nation. Above all, the Jews, for the first
time since they went into exile, have become free individuals, with
the right to choose between the land of their birth and their
ancestral homeland in Israel.
Are the Jews then a religious community dispersed among other
nations? A community of equal citizens of various countries with
their own cultural and historical identity? Or are the Jewish
people a nation with its own homeland? However one answers this
question, the political, socio-economic and cultural ramifications
are enormous. Moreover, since world Jewry is now crisscrossed by
divisions between religious and secular Jews, between groups of
different cultural backgrounds, and between those living in a
sovereign Jewish state and those who are citizens of other
countries, it is the link between Israel and the Diaspora which
confers a collective identity on this multiform entity. Yosef
Gorny's central theme is Jewish public thought concerning the
identity and essence of the Jewish people from the Holocaust and
the establishment of the State of Israel up to the present day.
Chapters address such topics as The Zionist Movement in Search of a
National Role, The Zionist Movement in Quest of its Ideological
Essence, The Intellectuals in Search of a Jewish Identity, The
Diminishing Status of Israel as a Jewish State, Revolutionary
RadicalismThe Left-Wing Jewish Student Movement, 1967-1973,
Neo-Conservative Radicalism, The Alternative Zionism of
Gush-Emunim, The Conservative Liberalism, and In Defense of
Perpetual Zionist Revolt. Reflecting the collective thinking of
Jewish intellectuals, this is a volume of interest to anyone
concerned with issues of Jewish identity.
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