Page 153 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

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MIKLISZANSKI / SIMON RAWIDOWICZ
147
tuned to contemporary realities. Even the name Israel which was
given to the new State was also a serious error, inasmuch as this
name refers exclusively to the Jewish people as a whole, and the
overwhelming majority of the people is “here” and not “there.”7
The contemporary historian, to continue Rawidowicz’s line of
thought, should envisage, as in the past, our two-fold existence —
Babylon and Jerusalem. These two terms express the historicity
of the Jewish destiny to live in and with this geographical split.
Babylon represents the everlasting Dispersion; Jerusalem — the
eternal Land of Israel.
The concept of the revitalized Land of Israel as a spiritual
center for World Jewry, though it seemed most refreshing and
appealing, was not in Rawidowicz’s view an adequate response to
contemporary needs and he dismissed it out of hand. Instead of
viewing the relationship between the Land of Israel and the
Diaspora as that of a center to its circumference, as did Ahad
Ha’am, he suggested to picture it rather as an ellipse with two foci,
one in the Diaspora and the other in the State of Israel. Both were
partners in one national endeavor.
Genuine Zionism should acknowledge and recognize this ac­
tual and unchangeable condition of our national life, and act
accordingly. Turning your face to Zion does not and should not
imply turning your back on the Diaspora; it indicates only an­
other aspect of our existence. Hence, the “two-sided Zionism”
advocated by Rawidowicz, as described above.
Hebrew culture and the Hebrew language in general and
scholarship in particular are not meant just for the inhabitants of
“Jerusalem,” but also of “Babylon.” Not all Jews can and ought to
settle in the territorial realm of Zionism, yet all of them can and
must cling to its spiritual realm. This dedication to spiritual Jew­
ishness on the part of Jews everywhere should serve as a basic
guideline in Zionist thinking. But here the paradox presented
itself: Rawidowicz’s Zionism was viewed by the leading exponents
of Zionist ideology as only a partial commitment to the Zionist
credo because it posited the need for a proud existence in the
7 A spirited correspondence between Rawidowicz and Ben-Gurion, then Prime
Minister, concerning the State’s name is included in
Babylon andJerusalem
, at the
end of vol. 2.