The re-emergence of jerusalem: new Zionist approaches in attaining political goals prior to the First World War

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From 1882, the beginning of Zionist activity in Palestine, and until the years immediately prior to the First World War, Zion, i.e. Jerusalem, never received real attention from the Jewish national movement. Indeed, Zionism's attitude to Jerusalem's population and to the entire city could he summed up as negative, derisive, estranged and neglectful. Zionist efforts were channelled towards creating agricultural settlement in the coastal plain and in Galilee. In the urban sector, Zionist activity concentrated on Jaffa. Adjacent to Jaffa the Zionists planned the construction of Tel-Aviv, which was to mature into the first Zionist city in Palestine. Zionism's attitude towards Jerusalem underwent a substantial change in the years immediately preceding the outbreak of the First World War. The Zionist Movement grew aware of the fact that its traditional modes of activity for securing political rights and sovereignty in Palestine had not achieved results. The Zionists further assumed that the political future of Palestine would be decided imminently in international fora. This sense of urgency obligated the Zionist movement to adopt alternative and original measures to secure Zionist goals in Palestine. Territorial-settlement activity did not cease but the emphasis shifted to demographic 'conquest', magnifying national prestige and cultural 'conquest'. In Jerusalem, one could apply all three of the new methods in tandem. Zionism intended to achieve cultural influence and 'conquest' via a plan to establish a Hebrew University there. This project constituted the centre-piece of Zionist cultural 'colonization' in Palestine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-293
Number of pages15
JournalPolitical Geography
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1995


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