ZIONISM IS THE political philosophy that follows the idea of a national homeland for the Jewish people. Eventually, Zionists believe that this should be in Palestine. Although in 70 c.e., the Roman General Titus, son of the Emperor Vespasian, had driven the Jews out of Jerusalem, many still remained in the country. Flavius Josephus, the historian of the Jewish war, wrote that “the army had no more people to slay or to plunder, because there remained none to be objects of their fury.” Defying the Romans, Palestine remained throughout the Middle Ages and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1918) a vibrant center for Jewish religious thought. This was especially true in the region around Safed, which in the 17th century would become the center for study of ...

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