Step-by-Step: Making Aliyah to Israel

Documenting the very personal process of making Aliyah (immigration to Israel) by one very atypical Israeli-American girl. Aliyah on 17, August, 2005. Roadmap: What do you mean there's no roadmap?! Hang on, we're in for a bumpy ride! Ole!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

In answer to those who have been commenting and writing me private emails about what kind of zionist I am, I'd have to say that I am a Hashomer Hatzair and Dror gal going way back. This is probably for two reasons: 1) my early identification with socialism and 2) Zivia Lubetkin. I'm including an excerpt from wikipedia about the movement (cos I don't have time to write up the history myself and we all know that the wiki is kewl) below but you can go here to read more. Ok, on to the Hashomer Hatzair explanation and history:

Hashomer Hatzair came into being as a result of the merger of two groups, Hashomer ("The Guard") a Zionist scouting group, and Ze'irei Zion ("The Youth of Zion") which was an ideological circle that studied Zionism, left wing socialism and Jewish history. Hashomer Hatzair is the oldest Zionist youth movement still in existence. Initially Marxist-Zionist, the movement was influenced by the ideas of Ber Borochov and Gustav Wyneken as well as Baden-Powell and the German Wandervogel movement. Hashomer Hatzair believed that the liberation of Jewish youth could be accomplished by aliya ("emigration") to Palestine and living in kibbutzim. After the war the movement spread to Jewish communities throughout the world as a scouting movement.

Members of the movement first settled in the British Mandate of Palestine in 1919. In 1927 the four kibbutzim founded by Hashomer Hatzair banded together to form the Kibbutz Artzi federation. The movement also formed a political party under the name Hashomer Hartzair which advocated a Binational solution in Palestine with equality between Arabs and Jews. Accordingly, Hashomer Hatzair voted against the Biltmore Program in 1942.

In 1936, Hashomer Hatzair launched a political party, the Socialist League of Palestine, to represent members and supporters of Hashomer Hatzair kibbutzim and the youth movement in the political organizations of the Yishuv (as the Jewish community in the British Mandate of Palestine was known). The Socialist League soon became known simply as Hashomer Hatzair and was the only Zionist political party to accept Arab members as equals, support Arab rights and call for a binational state in Palestine.

By 1939 Hashomer Hatzair had 70,000 members worldwide. The movement's base was in Eastern Europe. With the advent of World War II and the Holocaust members of Hashomer Hatzair changed their focus from settlement in Palestine to resistance against the Nazis. Mordechaj Anielewicz, the leader of Hashomer Hatzair's Warsaw branch, became head of the Jewish Fighting Organization and one of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
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Closely related to the Hashomer Hatzair movement (and often working in conjunction, merging at times and separating at others) is the Dror movement --of which Lubetkin was a driving force --where I've really found my home. The five guiding pillars of Dror are:

1.Progressive Labour Zionism – the belief in the state of Israel and the return to it
2. Cultural Judaism
3. Socialism – working for collective good through communal living; equality and social justice
4. Actualization (Hagshama) – acting out one's beliefs
5. Social Justice – acting in the a new social order based on the principals of self-determination, individual freedom, political democracy, and cooperative economics, the equality of all people and the equality of human value

I find my home here in Dror more so than in Hashomer Hatzair because the latter tends to be somewhat anti-relgious and while I am not religious I am not anti-religious and also because, for me, I connect to the cultural aspects of Judaism and like that emphasis. (I should note that still, when I do drag myself to a synagogue --outside of Israel-- it is always to a *cough* very traditionally-oriented one with separation of men and women, no organs or pianos and the real-deal service in hebrew. I have no problem, and indeed fully support Reform Judaism, but if I'm gonna make the effort to go I want all the traditional stuff. Chalk that up to my being a bundle of contradictions...).

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