Zionism is the national movement of the Jewish people. It was formed as part of the advent of nationalism in the mid-19th century and was precipitated by the growing anti-Semitism accompanied by waves of violence against Jews around the world but mainly in Eastern Europe. The dispersion of the Jews since their exile from their homeland in the year 73 CE and their perennial political feebleness made them an obvious and accessible target of the xenophobia and economic frustration felt by host nations in the tumultuous and uncertain years that marked the rise of modernity. This entry describes the circumstances in which Zionism was born, the leaders who inspired and initiated the movement, the challenges and obstacles it faced, and the various interpretations and factions ...

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