The Sephardi Role in the Flowering of Zionism

The advent of modern political Zionism in the 1890s inspired many Sephardi and Mizraḥi Jews to leave their homes for the land of Israel, and many more to establish Zionist groups in the countries where they lived. But even before that, non-Ashkenazi Jews had done much to encourage Jewish settlement in Palestine. Most importantly, Rabbi Judah Solomon Alkalai, born in Sarajevo in 1798, was, along with such Ashkenazi contemporaries as Moses Hess and Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Kalischer, a major proto-Zionist thinker, as Ashley Perry writes.

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More about: History of Zionism, Mizrahim, Moses Montefiore, Sephardim, Theodor Herzl

Israeli Sovereignty Would Free Residents of the West Bank from Ottoman Law

To its opponents, the change in the legal status of certain areas of Judea and Samaria is “annexation;” to its proponents, it is the “extension of sovereignty” or the “application of Israeli law.” Naomi Khan argues that the last term best captures the practical implications of the measures in question. Since the Six-Day War, the Jewish state has continued to uphold the Ottoman legal system in areas of the West Bank under its jurisdiction—despite the fact that the Ottoman empire ceased to exist in 1922; “annexation” would end this situation. Setting aside the usual questions of foreign policy, security, and the possibility of Palestinian statehood, Khan argues that this change would be the one most felt by those who live there:

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More about: Annexation, Israeli law, Ottoman Empire, Palestinian Authority, West Bank