Of the two Jewish movements that celebrate their centenaries this year—Zionism and the Bund—the first, founded at a glittering ceremony in Basle, Switzerland, in August 1897, can surely boast of greater historical achievements than its coeval, formed by thirteen representatives of Jewish socialist groups meeting conspiratorially in a small, nondescript house in Vilna two months later.
Zionism’s extraordinary achievements include, first and foremost, the creation of a Jewish state and of a haven for millions of homeless and persecuted Jews. Israel’s democracy—despite some grievous shortcomings—is the most vibrant in the Middle East, and so is its growing economy. The revival of Hebrew, hitherto exclusively the language of the Book, and the rise of a modern Hebrew literature, are minor attendant miracles, too....
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