Page:Zionism 9204 Peace Conference 1920.pdf/14

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[No. 162

§1. Zionism in the Bible

A Zionist is something more than an 'advocate of colonizing of Palestine by modern Jews' as he is defined in the Oxford dictionary. Whether he looks forward to a 'political' or to a merely 'cultural' Jewish occupation of Palestine, whether he is himself religious or non-religious, or even anti-religious, he has been imbued by the history of his race with a passionate love of the Zion of Scripture; and from this common sentiment Zionism draws its best energy.

Though it is less than twenty-five years since Theodor Herzl in his Jewish State suggested Zionism as a solution of the Jewish question, it is also the oldest nationalist movement in history. The earliest books of the Bible make Palestine the rallying-point of Israel and the Nations. Moses, Isaiah, Malachi, all preached the love of the Holy Land. The Zionism of the Bible is far anterior to the exile of Israel even the first exile. It dates back to the prehistoric days of Israel in Egypt; and Moses was the first Zionist. The Promised Land of the Patriarchs is the country where 'I will make of thee a great nation ... and I will bless them that bless thee ... and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed'.[1] Jacob is to be brought back to this land, this fruitful land of 'the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine'.[2] During the Exodus, Moses warns his people that, when their children 'walk contrary', God will 'bring the land into desolation, and ... scatter them among the nations ... And yet for all that ... will remember the covenant of their ancestors' and restore them.[3]

The dispersion of Israel among the nations was long anterior even to the destruction of the first Temple; its literature is not limited to the Bible and the Hebrew Prayer Book, nor its history to Palestine. Much of the yearning for Palestine in the Psalms and elsewhere is not the lament of the exile or captive, but the expres-

  1. Genesis xii. 2, 3.
  2. Ibid. xxvii. 28.
  3. Leviticus xxvi. 21, 32, 33, 44, 45.