Zionism in Europe
Hachalutz: The Pioneering Movement

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     The period of the third Aliyah (1919-1923) began not long after the end of the First World War, and ended at the time of bad economic times in Eretz Israel. Thirty-five thousand immigrants made Aliyah, emigrating mostly from Eastern European countries.

     Most prominent in this immigration wave is the element of the young pioneers Hachalutz (He Halutz) Hatzair, whom arrived the country between the years 1919 until 1921.

: members of the Hachalutz youth movement in Wizna, Poland, 1925. From Wikipedia.

     During the third Aliyah, the Hachalutz movement in Russia was still mostly an organization of "pioneers to be," i.e. small groups of Jewish young people, ages 18-25, who gathered together spontaneously in order to prepare themselves to go together to the land of Israel. Gradually, other factors were added into this process. During the chaos caused by the civil war in Russia, new branches of the movement were opened in large Jewish centers, spreading the pioneering idealism. Regional foundations of organizations were established, and shortly after an all-Russian organization was also founded. The Aliyah process that included getting certificates for immigration from the British turned out to be longer than expected, and this situation dictated the establishment of several qualification kibbutzim, mainly around the Crimea Peninsula.

      Establishing those kibbutzim (pl. of kibbutz) required permission from the Soviet authorities. In the beginning it looked as if the interests of Hachalutz and the soviets were aligned, since the Soviet policy promoted any increase in the "productivity" of Jews. Yet Hachalutz was suspected as being a Zionist movement, which also indicated it was anti-communist, and therefore all of its activities were under constant risk. In the middle of 1922 the movement split up mainly around the question of whether it should remain within the boundaries of the law or go underground.

     Partly, it was a question of convenience working within the boundaries of the law made the work of the movement much easier, but it also meant that the names of the members and the activities of the movement were to be revealed to the authorities and that would have been a big risk if the policy would change at any point. That dispute was actually one symptom of a much deeper ideological argument: the Marxist ideology of the faction that supported  "legal" activities would lead to the full trust of the Soviet authorities. That faction also supported the idea of "collectivism," i.e. a kibbutz and not a regular settlement, and they demanded that anybody who wanted to join will accept this ideology. The other faction, those who supported "illegal" activities, was ideologically closer to the Eretz Israeli "Hapoel Hatzair" party.

--photo and edited text from Wikipedia. 




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