History and Perspectives
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.