Pursuant to a political philosophy question regarding the views of Gilles Deleuze on Philosophy SE here: How is the 'central fiction' of Zionism to be understood politically?, it bears worth asking about the Zionism and the politics of Israel. I have a question regarding the political reality of the state of Israel noting that Zionism is a philosophy that has many varieties. However, to be a variety, one must have a common thread, and for that thread, I offer the 1919 article penned in The Atlantic by H. Sacher entitled A Jewish Palestine as indicative of the general spirit of all forms of Zionism.

To be clear, the overarching theme of Zionism historically and centrally to the various philosophies is the notion that Israel is the land meant for the Jewish people, that Jews have a right to exist and self-determine, and that other inhabitants are not the primary decision makers in the affairs of Israel.

What is the relationship between Zionism and contemporary Israel exactly, or maybe more to concretely, has the Israeli, democratically elected government endorse the broad notion of Zionism formally, through traditions and laws or otherwise?

  • Not my downvote, but besides the fact that you're asking a multitude of (albeit related) questions, these seem to me to have mainly opinion-based answers, depending who'd be answering them... One could similarly ask e.g. "what is the relationship between nationalism and Russia" (or China, or some other country) etc. Apr 17, 2022 at 10:42
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    As Fizz says, there are probably too many questions here, but your bold questions seems OK. I think you will get higher quality answers if you define what you mean by "Zionism", since there are various different interpretations of it. Apr 17, 2022 at 11:03
  • When the question already states that "Zionism has many varieties", how are we supposed to find one correct answer about whether or not the Israeli government endorses it? Which of those "many varieties" are you asking about specifically?
    – Philipp
    Apr 17, 2022 at 19:08
  • @Philipp For a variety to exist, there must be a core characterization. Mainstream forms of Zionism endorse the belief that the land of Israel is a God-given right, and that Jews are uniquely poised to self-determine it's affairs. Given the answer below "C. The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people," it is clear that this both a reasonable ask, and an objective fact that mainstream forms of Zionism indeed are endorsed by the government.
    – J D
    Apr 17, 2022 at 19:21
  • Is that the definition of Zionism you want to use for the purpose of this question? If so, please edit the question accordingly.
    – Philipp
    Apr 17, 2022 at 19:22

1 Answer 1


For what's worth it, the 2018 Basic Law reform has some symbolic relevance, at least, for your question:

Upon presenting the reformed bill, Chairman Ohana stated: "This is the law of all laws. It is the most important law in the history of the State of Israel, which says that everyone has human rights, but national rights in Israel belong only to the Jewish people. That is the founding principle on which the state was established". Minister Yariv Levin, a strong backer of the proposal, called it "Zionism's flagship bill... it will bring order, clarify what is taken for granted, and put Israel back on the right path. A country that is different from all others in one way, that it is the nation-state of the Jewish people."

And its basic clauses

1 — Basic Principles

A. The land of Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people, in which the State of Israel was established.

B. The State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, in which it fulfills its natural, cultural, religious, and historical right to self-determination.

C. The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.


4 — Language

A. The state's language is Hebrew.

B. The Arabic language has a special status in the state; Regulating the use of Arabic in state institutions or by them will be set in law.

C. This clause does not harm the status given to the Arabic language before this law came into effect.

5 — Ingathering of the Exiles

The state will be open for Jewish immigration and the ingathering of exiles.

To answer your question with respect to Zionism, you'd have to settle for a definition of the latter, which might be slightly more complicated, but at least according to some of the proponents of that law it embodies Zionism (as in the 1st quote), so it's at least a partial answer to your question.

  • Thank you for you guidance shaping the Q&A. This is exactly what I'm looking for. Essentially, the democratically elected government has passed legislation articulating the core principle of the broad notion of Zionism: "The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people." Whether one is for or against, it simply a basic fact that Zionism has uniquely shaped the formation of modern Israel, and continues to exert a significant gravity over it's politics. I appreciate you willing to engage a hot-button issue.
    – J D
    Apr 17, 2022 at 19:17
  • @JD You didn't read the answer. The answer specifically states that, for a specific definition of Zionism, amongst a specific cohort of Israeli politicians, that Zionism shapes the politics of Israel. The answer also states, which you did not read, that there are many definitions of Zionism which do not affect the politics of Israel, and there are many people, both in the political class and otherwise, who do not believe in Zionism in any form. To read this answer and come away saying "yup, ok, Israel = Zionism" is extremely small-minded.
    – Ertai87
    Apr 18, 2022 at 21:02
  • @Ertai87 While I certainly think highly of your profound insights given the immensity of your cogent interpretation, unfortunately I have to reject your underlying attpts to complicate a simple issue
    – J D
    Apr 18, 2022 at 21:45
  • Simply put, as complicated as things are, that the Knesset in a majority approved language that essentially said Israel is a state by and for Jews, and that self-determination for Israel is a question exclusively for the Jewish people, then it meets the simplest of definitions of Zionism: "Zionism (Hebrew: צִיּוֹנוּת Tsiyyonut [tsijoˈnut] after Zion) is a nationalist movement that espouses the establishment of, and support for a homeland for the Jewish people centered in the area roughly corresponding to the Land of Israel" All the other hair splitting is an intellectual charade...
    – J D
    Apr 18, 2022 at 21:48
  • I don't judge it. It simply is a fact that Israel is on its face a democracy that passes laws that benefit the Jewish people, and that most flavors of Zionism support this simple idea. All the variations are largely distractions. A government that places one religion-culture above others is hardly an exception in history, and not every government need aspire to multiculturalism.
    – J D
    Apr 18, 2022 at 21:53

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