An in-depth and multifaceted investigation of how Polish Jews, Polish Zionism, and Polish culture influenced Israel’s cultural and political development, as well as of how the Zionist project influenced Jewish life in Poland. From its inception as a political movement, Zionism had as its main goal the creation of a ‘New Jew’ who could contribute to building a Jewish state, preferably in the historic homeland of the Jewish people, where Jews would free themselves from the negative characteristics which, in the view of the ideologues of Zionism, had developed in the diaspora. Yet, inevitably, those who settled in Palestine brought with them considerable cultural baggage. A substantial proportion of them came from the Polish lands, and their presence significantly affected the political and cultural life of the Yishuv, and later the State of Israel. In this volume, scholars from Israel, Poland and elsewhere in Europe, and North America explore different aspects of this influence, as well as the continuing relationship between Israel and Poland, up to the present day.
Israel Bartal is Avraham Harman Professor of Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and dean of the Faculty of Humanities there. His books include The Jews of Eastern Europe 1772–1881 (2005) and Cossack and Bedouin: Land and People in Jewish Nationalism (Hebrew; 2007). François Guesnet is Professor of Modern Jewish History, University College London and chair of the Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies. His publications include ‘Chanukah and its Function in the Invention of a Jewish-Heroic Tradition in Early Zionism’ in Nationalism, Zionism and ethnic mobilisation (ed. Michael Berkowitz, 2004) and Sources on Jewish Self-Government in the Polish Lands from Its Inception to the Present, edited with Jerzy Tomaszewski (2022). Antony Polonsky is Emeritus Professor of Holocaust Studies, Brandeis University, and Chief Historian of the Global Education Outreach Program at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. His three-volume history the Jews in Poland and Russia (2010–12), also published by the Littman Library, was awarded the Pro Historia Polonorum Prize of the Polish Senate for the best book on the history of Poland in a language other than Polish. Scott Ury is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Jewish History at Tel Aviv University and director of the Eva and Marc Besen Institute for the Study of Historical Consciousness. He is the author of Barricades and Banners: The Revolution of 1905 and the Transformation of Warsaw Jewry (2012).