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Holy War in JudaismThe Fall and Rise of a Controversial Idea$
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Reuven Firestone

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199860302

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860302.001.0001

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The New Jew

The New Jew

(p.179) Chapter 11 The New Jew
Holy War in Judaism

Reuven Firestone

Oxford University Press

Those active in the Zionist movement to colonize and develop the Land of Israel were determined to develop a new and modern Jewish culture that would serve as a corrective to the image of the Diaspora Jew as weak, pale, timid and afraid. The new Zionist Jew would be strong, confident and effective, and the very act of developing the Land of Israel would in turn develop the Jewish psyche and person. As one slogan put it, “we have come to build [the Land] and be built up by [building] it.” This very assertiveness contributed to the tension with the local Arab population, which resented the arrival of confident newcomers who wished to radically change the environment of Palestine. Thus began a conflict that would break out periodically and increasingly into violence directed against the Jewish newcomers. The Jews were determined to demonstrate that they were not typical “Diaspora Jews” who could be pushed around, so they escalated the tensions through their aggressive response. Thus a movement that did not consider itself violent or militant became increasingly so as the years progressed.

Keywords:   Aaron David Gordon, Chaim Weizmann, B’nai Akiba, Conquest, Yishuv, Mapai, Arab Revolt, Diaspora, Haganah, Palestine

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