Page 33 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 42

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SH A V IT /Z IO N IS T HISTORIOGRAPHY
25
ORIENTAL JEWRIES
On the similarities and d ifferences between the imm igrations
o f Yemenite and Eu ropean Jewries one may consult Y ehuda
N ini’s
Yemen and Zion: The Jews of Yemen, 1800-1914
(Hebrew:
Jerusa lem , 1982). Generally, the question o f the status and place
o f O rien ta l Jew ry in Zionist history has become in recen t years a
vital subject o f considerable historic, communal and political im­
portance. T h e efforts to stress the role o f Jews from the Moslem
countries in Zionist history, in the aliyot to Eretz Israel and in
Jewish society d u r in g the days o f the “national hom e ,” constitute
a p a r t o f the political struggle on the Israeli scene.
I t is clear, then , tha t within Zionist h istoriography the re is a d i­
vision between the tren d which sees in Zionism and Zionist reali­
zation a revolution in consciousness, criteria and way o f life when
compared with the past, and the growing tren d which seeks to
stress the elements o f continuity and in tegra tion o f Zionist and
Jewish history. Various ideological viewpoints and also party in­
terests sometimes have a bearing upon these two trends. Conspic­
uous by its absence is a history o f Hebrew cu lture , whose develop­
m en t was undoub ted ly one o f the impressive accomplishments o f
the Zionist revolution. We have only-partial histories o f institu­
tions (theatres and the like), o f Hebrew lite ra tu re and publishing,
and the plastic arts, bu t we lack a full account o f the subject in all
its ramifications.9
T h e difficulty in delineating Zionist historiography derives,
then , from the fact tha t we do no t have one type o f “Zionist his­
tory.” Historical w riting is influenced by the political and ideolog­
ical climate no t only in app roach and in terp re ta tion , bu t also in
the choice o f the material which is chosen fo r research. Zionist
research, willy-nilly gives rise to polemics o f a political and com­
munal na tu re . Since parties and political movements claim cred it
fo r “past accomplishments,” questions dealing with relatively re ­
cent Zionist history (“Who m u rd e red Arlosorov?,” “Who ousted
the British?,” “Who built the State?,” etc.) have cu r ren t relevance.
We canno t say w he the r critical Zionist research con tribu ted to
the political “upheaval” in Israel in 1977, bu t it appears tha t the
9 For a discussion o f this subject, see Itamar Even-Zohar, “The Emergence o f a
Native Hebrew Culture in Palestine, 1882-1948,”
Studies in Zionism, 4,
Autumn
1981; and Hayyim Nagid, “The Hebrew Revolution,”in S. Stampeler (ed.),
The
Yishuv in the Modem Period
(Hebrew: Tel-Aviv, 1983).