Division in Zionism

Division in Zionism

The Jewish community in the mandate was not wholly cohesive. Internal divisions over domestic and foreign policies periodically developed. Revisionist Zionism, led by Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky, challenged the views and policies of Ben-Gurion and the Zionist leadership of the yishuv on a number of levels.

Jabotinsky espoused a less socialist economic structure and a more activist defense policy against Arab riots and demonstrations. He also disagreed over the British decision to divide the Palestine mandate and create a new Arab state in the territory of the mandate east of the Jordan River, then known as Transjordan.

In the Revisionist conception, the Zionist aim was to provide an integrated solution to the worldwide Jewish problem in all its aspects—political, economic, and spiritual.

To attain this objective, the Revisionists demanded that the entire mandated territory of Palestine, on both sides of the Jordan River, be turned into a Jewish state with a Jewish majority.

They stressed the necessity of bringing to Palestine the largest number of Jews within the shortest possible time. Revisionism met with increasingly strong resistance, particularly from labor groups. The World Union of Zionists-Revisionists was founded in 1925 as an integral part of the WZO with Jabotinsky as president.

In 1935, a referendum held among Revisionists resulted in their secession from the WZO and the establishment of an independent New Zionist Organization (NZO).

Eleven years later, when ideological and tactical differences between the NZO and the WZO had diminished, the NZO decided to give up its separate existence and participated in the elections to the 22nd World Zionist Congress in Basel in 1946.