chapter
22 Pages

Introduction

Whence and whither the homeland
WithDavid Ohana

The homeland is the original, primordial foundation of our lives, and it is the object of our deepest feelings, our hopes, fears, consolations. It is the source of life, but it sometimes leads one into a dark hole. The birth-throes of the homeland are not merely a matter of territory or soil, but of lands with an ancient historical association, the source of a deep-rooted national identity. Boaz Evron said that Zionism claimed that the Jews were a nation and not a religion. Religion, he thought, was only one of the aspects of Jewish nationhood, although the conditions of exile emphasized the religious factor as the one that defined Judaism. Evron and the historian Robert Wistrich had the same opinion concerning the primacy of the homeland, but with this common starting point they ended with two completely different philosophies of history. Rabbi Zvi Israel Thau and Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburgh represent, each in his way, theological views of the homeland.