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Hebrew: tsiunit
Arabic: sahiyuwniyya

Nathan Birnbaum.
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Nathan Birnbaum.

Theodor Herzl.
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Theodor Herzl.

Der Judenstaat. Versuch einer modernen Lösung der Judenfrage.
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Der Judenstaat. Versuch einer modernen Lösung der Judenfrage by Theodor Herzl.

Second Zionist Congress, held in Basel, Switzerland 1899.
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Second Zionist Congress, held in Basel, Switzerland 1899.

Jewish ideology that has focused on establishing a Jewish homeland. The name of "Zionism" comes from the hill Zion, the hill on which the original Temple of Jerusalem had been situated.
The main organization of Zionism has always been The World Zionist organization.
Zionism wanted to establish this homeland in Palestine, but there were many discussions on alternatives, where the use of land in Africa was perceived as a faster route to the final establishment of a Jewish state.
Inside Zionism there have been several orientations: spiritual and cultural; work ethical; Marxist; and Orthodox Jewish. The central motivation of Zionism was the Diaspora, which started with the exile to Babylon in the 6th century BCE. By focusing on the Diaspora, the Jews living around the world in many different countries, shared a feeling of being in exile from their true homeland in Palestine, with Jerusalem as its real capital.
In addition to being in exile, the Jews had also been waiting for the return of Messiah, the saviour that should be sent by God to come and re-establish Israel and justice. But over time more and more Jews started to become motivated for a human action in preparation for the coming of Messiah. Zionism was an expression of man's will to act in order to fulfill the central promise of the Messianic idea.
Socialism had great impact on Zionism, and in early stages of Jewish immigration to Palestine, a large part of the immigrants were Marxists. The system of kibbutzes was formed after Socialist ideas. The kibbutzes were frequently used when Jews came to Palestine and settled, and they served as mini-states, where people could live, work, go to school and have health services. The kibbutzes were central in Jewish immigration right up until the formation of the State of Israel.
Zionism following the establishment of the state of Israel, is based on two principles: Upholding the State of Israel, and the right of any Jew to come and live in Israel if he or she wanted it.

18th century: The German Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn initiates a Jewish secularism, which focused on Jewish national identity.
1862: The German Jew Moses Hess publishes the book Rome and Jerusalem where he called for a return of Jews to Palestine. He also said that Jews would never succeed by assimilating into European societies.
1881: Pogroms of Russia result in heavy emigration to USA. Some few Jews even emigrate to Palestine, as they are motivated by religious ideas of Palestine as Jewish homeland.
1893: Nathan Birnbaum introduces the term "Zionism."
1896: The Austrian Jew Theodor Herzl publishes the book The Jewish State, where he declares that the cure for anti-semitism was the establishment of a Jewish state. As he saw it, the best place to establish this state was in Palestine, but this geography was no precondition.
1897: The 1st Zionist Congress is held in Basel in Switzerland. About 200 delegates participate. The Basel Program is formulated, calling for the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, where Jews could live safely under public law. The World Zionist organization is also founded, and establishes its head quarters in Vienna, Austria.
1903: Britain offers an area of 15,500 km² in Uganda in Africa, an area of virgin land to the Jews of the world, where a Jewish homeland could be established.
1905: The 7th Zionist Congress refuses Britain's Uganda proposal. Israel Zangwill forms the Jewish Territorial organization, which sought to find territory for a Jewish state, no matter where this would be. His organization got only few supporters.
1917: The Balfour Declaration, issued by the British foreign secretary, gives official British support to the work of establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
— After the Russian revolution is defeated, many young Jews emigrate from Russia.
1922: Britain gives The World Zionist organization the mandate to administer Jewish immigration and settlement in Palestine. This immigration and settlement was funded by American Jews.
1939: The British 'White Paper' gives the Arabs of Palestine de facto control over Jewish immigration.
1942: A call is issued from Zionist leaders for the establishment of a Jewish state in all of western Palestine, when World War 2 ends.
1948 May 14: The State of Israel is founded. The World Zionist organization continues to back Jewish immigration to Israel.
1970s: The World Zionist organization puts its muscles into helping Jews in the Soviet Union to emigrate to Israel.
1975 November 10: UN General Assembly passes Resolution 3379, in which Zionism is declared "racist", with 72 votes to 35 (32 abstentions).
1991 December 16: UN General Assembly revokes Resolution 3379, with 111 votes to 25 (13 abstentions).

By Tore Kjeilen