Between ethnic and civic: The realistic utopia of Zionism

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This article addresses two basic issues of the Zionist vision: 1. Was the Jewish state planned as an ethnic or civic state? 2. What was the character of the Zionist vision? Was it a holistic utopian vision, or a minimalist vision for creating a Jewish national state? This research concludes that the state of Israel, which developed from a nationalist ethnic-cultural movement, integrated within it ethnic values as well as Western civic values. The founders of the central wing of the movement all aspired to create a Jewish national state that upheld these values. Furthermore, the planning of the Zionist Utopia by the central group of the Zionist leadership was usually realistic and minimalist, not holistic. This position enabled the leadership to strike a balance between vision and reality, and to address the historical circumstances on the path toward establishment of the state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-582
Number of pages20
JournalIsrael Affairs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • Ahad Ha'am
  • Chaim Weizmann
  • Civic
  • David Ben-Gurion
  • Ethnic
  • Israel
  • Nationalism
  • Theodor Herzl
  • Utopia
  • Ze'ev Jabotinsky
  • Zionism


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