The Homeland

Here are excerpts from the draft of The Homeland  (a work in progress).

“Sir Moses Montefiore, the larger-than-life English champion of oppressed Jews anywhere in the world, arrived in Tangiers in January 1864 carried majestically ashore by hearty stevedores while he reclined, splendidly attired, on a couch.  He had come from Spain, where he had been granted an audience with Queen Isabella—royal interviews were easily arranged for Montefiore–and he was headed for Marrakesh to discuss with the sultan the oppression of Jews in Morocco, which European observers feared was intensifying.”

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“The troubled and often desperate experience of the Jews in Russia in the 19th and early 20th centuries provided the central thrust among Jews throughout Europe not only to dream of returning to the Holy Land, but to make serious arrangements to do so. Unquestionably, the history of Jewish persecution through the ages following the Diaspora in the first centuries of the current era always permeated the thinking and influenced the planning of Jewish activists. But it was the Jewish experience in Eastern Europe, and especially Russia, in the 19th and early 20th centuries that made new kinds of action seem imperative. The result was a well-financed and structured movement, Zionism, one purpose of which was to found a Jewish homeland in Palestine.”