Fortress Press

Understanding Zionism: History and Perspectives

Understanding Zionism

History and Perspectives

Anne Perez (Author)


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Understanding Zionism is a detailed introduction to the background and development of the Zionist movement, its various streams, and its impact on government and society in Israel. The book serves as a primer for Christians of all backgrounds--from those keenly interested in Zionism to those who are entirely unfamiliar with the term--to understand basic concepts, historical turning points, and the political and social stakes of Zionism.

The first half of the book focuses on the history of Zionism, how it formed and how it shaped the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. It explores how different and competing political, cultural, economic, and strategic streams emerged within the Zionist movement and became institutionalized in the New State of Israel. Special attention is given to the important period between Word War I and World War II when the map of the Middle East changed and Jews of Europe faced the rise of Nazism and genocide.

The second half of the book explores broader themes related to Zionism. This includes the origins, influences, and theological emphases of Christian Zionism; the various forms of opposition to Zionism and the contentious questions regarding differences and similarities between anti-Zionism and antisemitism; and current hopes and frameworks for the future of Zionism, especially regarding a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. The book closes with a brief overview of Christianity in Israel/Palestine and how Christians may relate to Zionism in the context of faith, fellowship, and national identity more broadly.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506481166
  • eBook ISBN 9781506481173
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 277
  • Publication Date May 23, 2023


Understanding Zionism is a masterfully written guidebook through one of the most contested subjects in modern history. Any reader searching for clarity about Zionism and its many interlocutors, historical and contemporary, will benefit from Perez's steady, fair, and compelling account.

Daniel G. Hummel, author of Covenant Brothers: Evangelicals, Jews, and U.S.-Israeli Relations

Drawing from cutting-edge scholarship, and yet free of academic jargon, Understanding Zionism is a thoughtful and concise history of Zionism and the modern Jewish experience. Deftly explaining the multiple varieties of Zionism, and particularly its Christian versions, the book is crucial reading for laypeople and clergy of any faith. I especially recommend it for those interested in contemporary Jewish-Christian relations as well as the place of religion in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Shayna Weiss, associate director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University

Understanding Zionism is a comprehensive, nuanced, and accessible history that reveals the diversity both within Zionist movements and among Zionism's critics. In her balanced account of a hotly debated subject, Anne Perez demonstrates that it is possible to understand and tell the truth about historical traumas on both sides without losing sight of our shared humanity--a spark of hope seventy-five years into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Deanna Ferree Womack, associate professor of history of religions and interfaith studies at Emory University; author of Protestants, Gender and the Arab Renaissance in Late Ottoman Syria