Zionism in Damascus: Ideology and Activity in the Jewish Community at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century

Zionism in Damascus: Ideology and Activity in the Jewish Community at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century

The beginning of the twentieth century was a period that saw far-reaching change in the political and geographical landscapes of the Middle East. From the impact of the revolution of the Young Turks in 1908 to the devastation of World War I and the subsequent British and French mandates in the region, Syria was particularly affected. Yaron Harel adds to the understanding of this period by examining an understudied aspect: the rise of Zionist intellectual thought and activity in the Syrian capital of Damascus. Through meticulous research, Harel highlights the fact that, during these difficult years, those parts of the Jewish community affected by the economic collapse of October 1875 were able to take solace in the rising trend of Zionist thought. He therefore demonstrates Zionism in Damascus was not a religiously-motivated movement, but rather was class-related. Zionism in Damascus tracks those involved in this ideological wave (Zionist intellectuals, journalists, secular thinkers and rabbis) from its early days to the eventual abandonment of Damascus following the establishment of the French mandate and the Balfour Declaration.

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