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Aug 30th

Voice from Israel

Elli Fischer’s monthly column from Israel

Is all Zionism really religious Zionism?

PASSOVER 5774 EDITION
SECTION C PAGE 23

There was a great deal of religious ambivalence about Zionism in its early years.

On the one hand, the return to the Land of Israel had always been a religious aspiration of the Jewish people, and yet the nascent movement was a secular movement to its core, whether in the neutral sense that it viewed state-building as a non-religious endeavor, or in the anti-religious sense of jettisoning the exilic Jewish past in favor of a new Jew and a new anticlerical and anti-bourgeois ideology.

Last Updated ( Friday, 11 April 2014 02:56 )

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Vienna and Jerusalem

On a recent trip to Vienna, I found myself wandering the streets of the Innere Stadt late at night. I was struck by a certain incongruity. Everything above eye level was German to the core: its language, its architecture, and its ever-present tributes to great kings, princes, composers, and artists. Yet at street level, storefronts, kiosks, and conversations expressed a wide variety of languages and places of origin.

Vienna’s multiculturalism is no accident. For most of the second half of the 20th century, it was the gateway to the West from the Eastern Bloc. In the 16th and 17th centuries, it was where European Christendom stood firm against the advance of the Ottoman Empire. The city became great as the capital of the Habsburg Empire, which included a wide variety of ethnic groups and nationalities.

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