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Exiled in the Homeland

Zionism and the Return to Mandate Palestine

By Donna Robinson Divine

Publication Year: 2009

Offering a new perspective on Zionism, Exiled in the Homeland draws on memoirs, newspaper accounts, and archival material to examine closely the lives of the men and women who immigrated to Palestine in the early twentieth century. Rather than reducing these historic settlements to a single, unified theme, Donna Robinson Divine’s research reveals an extraordinary spectrum of motivations and experiences among these populations. Though British rule and the yearning for a Jewish national home contributed to a foundation of solidarity, Exiled in the Homeland presents the many ways in which the message of emigration settled into the consciousness of the settlers. Considering the benefits and costs of their Zionist commitments, Divine explores a variety of motivations and outcomes, ranging from those newly arrived immigrants who harnessed their ambition for the goal of radical transformation to those who simply dreamed of living a better life. Also capturing the day-to-day experiences in families that faced scarce resources, as well as the British policies that shaped a variety of personal decisions on the part of the newcomers, Exiled in the Homeland provides new keys to understanding this pivotal chapter in Jewish history.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Series: Jewish Life, History, and Culture

Title Page/Copyright

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pp. viii-vii

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pp. viii-2

To state that this is a book my education at Brandeis and Columbia prepared me to write might appear merely to state the obvious. But the idea for this topic began in a question I put to my beloved Brandeis teacher, Ben Halpern, about how Zionist pioneers managed to survive the hardships they encountered in the land of Israel. His answer: It was like “summer camp.” The ...

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pp. 3-18

When the Roslan dropped anchor at the port of Jaff a in late December 1919 following its month-long journey from Odessa, Zionist leaders heralded the ship’s arrival as the dawn of a new age. They deemed its 670 passengers “pioneers” and portrayed them as absolutely dedicated to the Zionist aim to remake the Jewish people. The trouble with this view...

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One: Dispossession, Displacement, and Dreams: The Meanings of Auto-Emancipation

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pp. 19-50

No idea was more fundamental to Zionism than the ingathering of Jews in the land of Israel and the ending of their exile.1 Those who came to live in the land of Israel were thought to have embarked on a transcendent journey interpreted by Zionism as not simply leaving the lands of their birth but rather as rejecting them and the oppressive conditions they ...

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Two: Great Britain’s Colonial Venture: The Starting Point

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pp. 51-75

Great Britain declared its support for the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish national home certain that such a policy would justify its incorporation of the Eastern Mediterranean coastline into its empire, but uncertain about every other implication of Foreign Secretary Arthur J. Balfour’s 1917 Declaration. What was a Jewish national home? What obligations did ...

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Three: Making Concessions: Zionist Immigration Politics

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pp. 76-101

Zionists could not imagine their way toward independence without immigration, yet they could not function easily with it. Because the World Zionist Organization had to embrace Great Britain’s support for the development of a Jewish national home, it also had to be integrated into a process of policy-making with regard to immigration that frequently ran counter ...

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Four: Mishnah Impossible: Zionist Attempts to Transform the Jewish People

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pp. 102-132

The heroic efforts to transform the Jewish people grew out of the ashes of the First World War, with many young Zionist activists projecting their utopian visions as unquestioned articles of Zionist faith. Even as they denounced as moribund and doomed to extinction the religion of their parents, Zionists could not imagine their collective future without an ...

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Five: No Kaddish for Exile, No Path to Redemption

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pp. 133-165

In his essay “Despite all,” Yosef Chaim Brenner wrote that Jewish life in the land of Israel “possessed little to attract people,” and further, that the holy land “was settled by people from places where it is possible to do something better.” There is the force of insight in Brenner’s candor about the hardships of life in the land of Israel. Brenner surmised that it was...

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Six: Unsung Heroes

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pp. 166-198

Menahem Sheinkin: I do not want to rehearse what is conventionally accepted: that without land and without workers we will not establish our place in the land of Israel. But I will try to shed light on the character of the land purchases and methods of expanding the numbers of workers. Although these two principles almost always appear in word and deed, they have not really ...

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Conclusion: Vital Statistics and the Statistics Vital for a Jewish State

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pp. 199-208

Picture Israel’s founding in 1948. The image of a man or woman in overalls behind a plow is likely to come to mind, conjuring up the notion that Israel was built literally out of the backbreaking labor of its dedicated immigrants. Now turn to Tel Aviv. The very words evoke classic urban scenes of men and women strolling along the seaside while Palestine’s Jewish ...


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pp. 209-230


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pp. 231-232


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pp. 233-246


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pp. 247-256

E-ISBN-13: 9780292795174
E-ISBN-10: 0292795173
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292719828
Print-ISBN-10: 0292719825

Page Count: 263
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: Jewish Life, History, and Culture