With the establishment of the State of Israel, Zionist claims to Eretz Israel became realized. Disputes over the authenticity of those claims, however, have continued unabated to this day, and are challenged by counter-claims. Their assertions extend far beyond criticizing the actions of the Israeli government; rather, they focus on the legitimacy of the Jewish state, and the idea that in Palestine there should be “Jewish” land. Zionism, which was founded on the idea of Jews returning to their homeland in the East, is challenged in maintaining its rights in Eretz Israel because its opponents mark it as irrevocably and permanently Western or in other ways “foreign” to the land. The first part of this article examines the nature of Zionist claims and contemporary counter-claims. The second part focuses on the challenges inherent in carrying out the normal activities of a modern state in such a contested land. Activities that would elsewhere seem mundane—mapping, zoning, tree-planting, preserving nature, and hiking—are skewed by assertions of the alleged foreignness of Zionism. By examining these and other activities, the paper will illustrate and explore the sometimes-overlooked real-world implications of this unresolved historical debate.


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pp. 162-186
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