Activity: Utopias

The Different Visions Of Classic Zionism.

The aim of this activity is to examine Zionist visions and their feasibility before we start to examine the reality of Israel today.

  • In pairs or small groups, the students should use the skills developed in the previous exercise in examining the following Zionist posters. They should try to interpret each poster, trying to assess - what if anything - they have in common.


  • Briefly go through the posters with the whole class, discussing whether they are realistic pictures or romanticized and idealized. Point out the idealized character of the pictures. Ask why a movement like Zionism would present an idealized and romanticized version of reality. What advantages and disadvantages or dangers, if any, do the students see in presenting such a view of reality?
  • Now present to the group the way in which classic Zionism saw the past and the present of the land. Introduce the idea that classic Zionism also saw the future in very specific ways, but indicate here that there each Zionist stream envisaged the future differently.
  • Let three students, who have prepared themselves well before the class (on the basis of the above material and extra preparation), present the ideas of labor Zionism, cultural Zionism and religious Zionism. They should present all these ideas as fairly and objectively as possible.
  • After the presentations (or after each presentation) the rest of the students should question the three presenters in order to increase their understanding of these three streams of Zionism.
  • After this, open a discussion on the following questions: What do the students think of the three visions? Were they ‘good’ visions? Would they have been inspiring? Were they realistic? Was it good that Zionism presented these visions of the hoped-for future even if they were not necessarily realistic? From what the students know about Israel today, do they think that any of the visions are near realization? Do they think that the time has passed for such visionary pictures of Zionism? What are the advantages and disadvantages of replacing these - perhaps Utopian - visions with more realistic ones?
  • Now introduce the Amos Oz piece. Discuss his thesis that perhaps we need to replace the Utopian ideologies of Zionism with more realistic and realizable ones.



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11 Dec 2006 / 20 Kislev 5767 0