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Aliyah - Literally, ascent; immigration of Jews to Eretz Yisrael.

Aliyah Bet - Illegal immigration, also known as Ha'apalah; the operation to bring immigrants to Eretz Yisrael in excess of the number allowed by the British, before World War II until 1948.

Aliyat Hanoar (see Youth Aliyah)

Alliance Israelite Universelle - International Jewish organization, founded in Paris, 1860, to protect Jewish rights as citizens and to promote education and professional development among Jews around the world.

Altalena - Ship carrying immigrants and ammunition from France to Israel in June, 1948 under the command of Etzel and in direct challenge to authority of Tzahal. Destroyed by the IDF, Tzahal, killing 21 on board.

Arab Higher Committee - Radical group established in 1945 by Arab League that represented Palestinian Arab interests, rejecting all compromise on rights of Jews to Eretz Yisrael.

Arab League - Organization of Arab states, founded 1945, works for common political and economic goals, often as pan-Arab opposition to Israel.

Avoda Ivrit - Jewish labour: slogan adopted during pioneering days in the Land of Israel, i.e., to do physical work, not to hire others to do it.



Balfour Declaration - Statement issued by the British Government, 1917 recognizing the - Jewish people's right to a national home in the land of Israel, named for Lord Balfour who signed it on Britain’s behalf.

Berihah - Literally, flight--underground operation 1944-1949 to move Jews from Europe to Eretz Yisrael, largely through means of illegal immigration.

Betar - Zionist youth movement established 1923, emphasizing Hebrew language, culture, and self-defense. Motivated by ideologies of Jabotinsky and Trumpeldor, with goal of Jewish state "on both sides of the Jordan." Name, acronym for "Brit Trumpeldor," also after ancient fortress of Bar Kokhba.

BILU - ( 1882 ) Student organization for aliya. Name consists of initials of the words ( 1883 ) in verse in Isaiah II:5, "House of Jacob, come, let us go up."

Bnai Brith - World's oldest and largest Jewish organization, founded in 1843 in New York, concerned with protecting Jewish interests around the world. Among its key divisions: the Anti-Defamation League, which combats anti-semitism, and Hillel Houses, which foster Jewish life on college campuses.

Bnei Akiva - Religious Zionist youth movement, founded 1929, emphasizing the religious importance of life and work in Israel. Motto: "Torah v'avodah," "Torah and work [in Israel.]."



Camp David Accords - Peace agreement reached between Israel and Egypt, the first between Israel and an Arab neighbor, signed March, 1979. Called for normalization of relations and return of the Sinai to Egypt.

Certificatim - Immigration certificates allocated by the British Mandate Government each year under the quota system.



Declaration Of Independence - Proclamation read in Tel Aviv by David Ben Gurion on May 14, 1948, declaring Eretz Yisrael, the historical and spiritual homeland of the Jewish people, an independent state, to be known as the State of Israel.

Declaration Of Principles - Agreement signed September 13, 1993, between Israel and the P.L.O., affirming mutual recognition and legitimacy. The P.L.O. agreed to end the intifada and terrorist activity and to amend its charter calling for the destruction of Israel. Israel agreed to grant the P.L.O. civil autonomy over the majority of Gaza and the West Bank.

Development Towns - New towns established to provide for urban growth, but essentially to house immigrants since 1950's, succeeding the ma'abarah, transitional camp, which had been widely used since 1948. Its goal was to offer communities both homes and employment opportunities, although it often did not succeed in raising initial lower economic status; used primarily for immigrants of Sephardi and eastern origin.



Eretz Yisrael - Land of Israel; (modern) Jewish homeland to be established in Palestine.

Etzel - Irgun Zvai Leumi - National Military Organization - underground resistance group founded 1931 - split from Hagana. Disbanded 1948, when the State of Israel was established.

Exodus - Aliya Bet ship, left France July 11, 1947, carrying 4,500 immigrants. Challenged and boarded by the British Navy - three Jews were killed. Immigrants were forcibly transported back to Germany in British transport ships. Subject of film and novel of same name by Leon Uris.



Fifth Of Iyar - Date State of Israel was founded - May 15, 1948.



Gadna - Gedudei Noar--Israeli youth corps run by Ministry of Defense for pre-military training of teenagers.

Gola - The Exile (Diaspora) - lands of the dispersion outside of Israel. Also, GALUT.

Gush Emunim - Bloc of the Faithful-- Israeli religious group that believes in "Greater Land of Israel" as fulfillment of Zionist dream and step in redemption process, and therefore opposes return of territory conquered in Six Day War.



Ha'apalah - Aliya Bet - illegal immigration to Israel in ships attempting to break through the British blockade around Palestine before and after World War II. MA'APILIM - illegal immigrants.

Habonim - International youth movement stressing Hebrew language, culture, and settlement in Eretz Yisrael, and with strong ties to kibbutz movement.

Haganah - Underground defense force of pre-state Jewish community in Mandate Palestine. Founded 1920, ceased operation after founding of State of Israel.

HALUTZ - The Jewish pioneer in the Yishuv, who reclaimed the land in Israel, built roads and established new settlements.

Hapo'el Hatza'ir - The Young Worker--Eretz Yisrael Labor Party, founded 1905 by pioneers of Second aliyah, stressing Jewish labor as Zionist value. First indigenous workers' party, whose members helped found first kibbutz and first moshav.

Hashomer - Jewish defense organization in Palestine organized 1909, ceased to operate after founding of Haganah, 1920.

Hashomer Hatza'ir - Zionist socialist youth movement, founded in Europe in 1916, to prepare Jewish youth for kibbutz life in Israel. In addition to Zionism, its ideology meshes Jewish culture with universal culture and values and it retains strong ties to the left-wing kibbutz movement today.

Hatikvah - National anthem of Israel. The words were written by Naftali Herz Imber (about 1870). The melody is a folk song based on a tune which is known in many European countries in various forms.

He-Halutz - Zionist youth movement begun in Eastern Europe to promote settlement, primarily agricultural. Name, meaning "the pioneer," is also term used for vanguard in original conquest of Eretz Yisrael under Joshua.

Hibbat Tzion - Love of Zion. A popular movement for the redemption and rebuilding of Israel which sprang up among the Jews in Russia and spread to other countries at the end of the 19th century. HOVEVEI TZION - its members.

Histadrut - Collective body of trade unions in Israel, comprising a majority of the country's labor force. Established in 1920, the Union originally incorporated all laborers in Eretz Yisrael with the aim of providing for financial and cultural needs of all workers in the country.

Hityashvut - Literally settlement: refers to agricultural settlement founded on collective or cooperative ideas and principles based on self labor.

Homa Umigdal - Tower and stockade. Type of collective settlement built as a stronghold to withstand Arab attacks during the British Mandate period and strategically defending the Jewish people settling in the land.

Hok Hashvut - Law of Return (1950) grants right of immigration to Israel to every Jew.



Illegal Immigration - Immigration to Eretz Yisrael 1940-1948, where most entered British-controlled country through clandestine operations or forged documents. Associated with Ha'apalah or Aliyah Bet.

Intifada - Arabic, literally "shaking off.” Palestinian civil uprising in Gaza and the West Bank, December,1987-September, 1993, to protest Israeli occupation.



Jewish Agency - Established 1929 by Zionist Congress to encourage settlement of Eretz Yisrael and enlist international Jewish support for development projects. In 1948, the State assumed many of its responsibilities. Its emphases are immigration, youth work, land settlement, and education.

The Jewish Brigade ( Habrigada Hayehudit) - The Jewish Brigade consisted of Jewish soldiers from Mandate Palestine who fought within the framework of the British forces against the Nazis in Europe during World War II. The soldiers of the Brigade were the first to come in contact with the Jewish survivors of the Nazi concentration camps in Europe.

Jewish Colonization Association - Organization, founded 1891, to assist Jewish emigration from countries of persecution or depressed economies to countries of opportunity.

Der Judenstaat - "The Jewish State" - the book by Theodor Herzl (founder of the Zionist Movement) in which he expressed his ideas about the form a Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael should take.



Kaf-Tet Benovember 1947 (November 29, 1947) -

The day on which the General Assembly of the United Nations voted in favor of the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.

Keren Hayesod - Overseas funding organization for the World Zionist Organization, funded in London in 1920.
See timeline

Kibbush Hashmama - The conquest of the desert. The rehabilitation and settlement of desert regions (the southern part of Israel) through projects of reclamation, settlements, etc.

Kibbutz - Voluntary communal settlement - a practical expression of collective responsibility for everyday life in Israel.

Kibbutz Galuyot - Ingathering of Exiles. Israel is realizing the vision of the Biblical prophets and the ideals of the Zionist movement in serving as the gathering place for Jews from all parts of the world.

Klita - Absorption; social and economic integration of immigrants.

Knesset - Representative Assembly. Israel's parliament. Its name and the number of its members are based on the "Knesset Hagdola" of the early Second Temple period. It is composed of 120 representatives of different political parties, elected for a four-year term.



Lehi - Lohamei Herut Yisrael. Fighters for Israel's Freedom. An underground fighting movement during the British mandate. Founded in 1939 and disbanded in 1948.



Maccabi World Union - International Jewish sports organization, founded in eastern Europe, at a time when Jews were barred from other sports organizations, with the mission to further physical fitness among Jewish youth as a prerequisite for building a national homeland.

Mandate - Authority granted to a state to govern a particular region in order to promote self-government.

Megillat Ha'atzmaut - Scroll on which the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel is inscribed, proclaimed in Tel Aviv on the 5th of Iyar 5708 (May 15, 1948).

Menorah (7-Branched Candelabra) - The official emblem of the State of Israel and the ancient symbol of the Jewish people in the form appearing in the relief on the Arch of Titus in Rome. The origin of the Menorah is the Israeli seven-branched salvia plant.

Metzada (Massada) - Massada (from the Greek name) - a mountain fortress overlooking the shores of the Dead Sea where Jewish insurgents held out for three years against the Romans after the fall of Jerusalem in 70C.E. and then took their own lives. Metzada has remained a symbol of Jewish heroism.

Milhemet Hahatasha - War of Attrition. In 1968 Egypt declared a war of attrition against Israel, which came to an end with the renewal of the cease-fire in August, 1970.

Mizrachi - Religious Zionist movement founded in 1902 to encourage Zionism among Orthodox Jews and promote religious and cultural ideas among its constituents. Its motto was: "ýThe Land of Israel for the people of Israel according to the Torah of Israel."

Mizug Galuyot - The integration of different Jewish communities into Israeli society.

Moshav - Cooperative smallholders' village (moshav ovdim) or communal cooperative village (moshav shitufi).

Moshava - Early settlement, originally agricultural.




Nahal - NO’AR HALUTZ LOHEM - Fighting Pioneer Youth. A part of the Israel Defense Forces which combines agricultural work and military service. HITNAHALUT; originally referred to settlement at outposts.


Nili - Netzah Yisrael Lo Yishaker: Israel Will Survive Forever. This was the name of a small Jewish underground organization in Palestine during the First World War which helped the British Army liberate Palestine from the Turks.



Oleh - Immigrant to Israel. See also, ALIYAH.

Oslo - Capital of Norway, site of secret talks in 1993 between Israel and P.L.O. that led to mutual recognition and Declaration of Principles. Refers generally to multi-stage agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Oz V'Shalom/Netivot Shalom - Strength and Peace/Paths of Peace--Israeli religious peace movement that supports territorial compromise as a means to peace with the Palestinians.



Palmach - Central assault force of the Haganah, involved especially in underground activities defending the Yishuv and assisting illegal immigration.

The Peel Commission - Royal Commission of Inquiry headed by Lord Peel 1936-37, dispatched to Eretz Yisrael after the 1936 Arab riots. First body to opt for partition of the country into two states - Jewish and Arab.

Po'alei Zion - Zionist-Socialist movement begun in early twentieth century, which later became a political party under the leadership of Yitzhak Ben Zvi and David Ben Gurion.


Political Movements - Shalom Achshav Peace Now--Israeli peace movement that works for peace agreements between Israel and Arab neighbors. Premised on immediate need to relinquish territory captured in the Six Day War as prerequisite for peace with Palestinians.




Revisionism - Zionist political movement, founded and led by Jabotinsky, urging accelerated realization of Zionism in form of establishment of State. Opposed Weizmann's leadership and mainstream Zionist politics during Mandate as too moderate.

The Riots (Disturbances) - Disturbances with heavy bloodshed, high death-toll, perpetrated by Arabs to sabotage Yishuv development, stop immigration & land purchases - 1920 21,29, 36-39.



Shoah - Holocaust - Outcome of Nazi state antisemitism in the planned Genocide of European, Soviet, Balkan and N. African Jewry under Hitler - before and during the Second World War. An estimated 6 million Jews were annihilated in death camps, concentration camps and regional massacres. Post-war survivors were not allowed to come to Eretz Yisrael in excess of the annual Mandate quota. See also EXODUS.

Supreme Arab Council - Arab leadership of Eretz Yisrael, established during the Arab rebellion, led by Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini 1936-1939.



Tzahal (Tzva Haganah Leyisrael) - Israel's Defense Forces.



Ulpan - Class or school for intensive study of Hebrew language.



Va'ad Leumi - NATIONAL COUNCIL: Pre-State elected governing body, the executive branch of the state-in-the-making, which functioned 1920-1948, during the British Mandate period and focused on social and welfare issues.



White Paper - The British Government White Paper which virtually closed Mandate Palestine to Jewish immigration on the eve of the Second World War and the SHOAH (Holocaust).



Yishuv - Pre-state Jewish community. A distinction is also made between the Old Yishuv, which lived largely for religious study on donations from benefactors, and the New Yishuv, which began with the large modern aliyot.

Yom Ha'atzmaut - Israel's Independence Day, celebrated according to the Jewish calendar on the 5th day of the month of Iyar (Israel was proclaimed as an independent state on May 15, 1948).

Yom Hazikaron - Memorial Day on the 4th of Iyar (the day before Yom Ha'atzmaut). To commemorate those who died in Israel's wars.

Yom Yerushalayim - Jerusalem Day, celebrated on the 28th of Iyar to commemorate the reunification of East and West Jerusalem. Jerusalem was reunited on June 7, 1967, during the Six Day War, with the entrance of the IDF into the Old City and Jewish holy places.

Youth Aliyah - Department of Jewish Agency; a project which began in 1934 and continued after World War II in Eretz Yisrael, to save Jewish children and orphans from difficulties and imminent danger abroad, to educate and bring them to live in Eretz Yisrael. Program founded by Henrietta Szold.



Zionism - Movement whose goal was return of Jews to Eretz Yisrael, or Zion, Jewish synonym for Jerusalem and the Land of Israel.

Zionism - Major Streams Of Early Zionism - Cultural Zionism Belief that successful settlement and re-population of Eretz Yisrael was predicated on need for revitalization of Jewish culture and Hebrew language. Eretz Yisrael can then become necessary cultural and spiritual center for Diaspora Jewry. Based primarily on ideas of Ahad Ha'am.

Practical Zionism - Early manifestation of modern Zionist movement, urging return of Jews to and settlement in Eretz Yisrael, not predicated on political agreement.

Religious Zionism - Belief that Jewish nationalism is religious as well as political goal, to be realized as Jewish homeland in Eretz Yisrael based on "Torah v'avodah," a synthesis of Torah with practical labor.

Synthetic Zionism - Term coined by Chaim Weizmann which urges fusion of political goals of Jewish homeland with practical goals of Jewish settlement, labor, and culture in Eretz Yisrael.

adapted from Lexicon of Zionism by Barbara Weill,
expanded and updated by Dr. Judy Rosen,
edited by Gila Ansell Brauner.





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    27 Jul 2005 / 20 Tamuz 5765 0