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This is not the way ("Lo Ze ha-Derekh")

In 1889, Asher Ginzberg published his article "This is not the Way", which is considered his most important work and serves as the foundation of the Cultural Zionist movement.


According to him, the current approach of the Hovevei Zion movement to settlement in the Land of Israel was wrong and called for change. He claimed that the settlement process was moving too fast, and considered it a failure.

He claimed that there were a few poor colonies with difficult living conditions. According to him, the reason for the failure of the settlements was that the movement hastened to implement the idea of ​​settling the land, without letting it develop naturally.

The title "This is not the Way" expressed his opposition to immigration and mass settlement in the Land of Israel.


Asher Ginsberg affirmed that the Land of Israel is unable to absorb the masses from Exile, and therefore, the Land of Israel doesn’t come to solve the existential problem of the Jews, but rather to solve the spiritual and cultural problems of its people.

He explained that it was not enough for the Jewish state to be a national home (or refuge) for the Jews. Instead, it must have a spiritual and cultural identity that would justify its existence.


The solution that Ahad Ha'am offers to this problem is the “training of the hearts”, or, in other words, the Zionist movement should focus on spiritual-educational work among the Jewish people, which will be done gradually by a qualitative minority, and only in the end, will it be possible to implement the idea of ​​settling.


In this article, Ahad Ha'am explicitly formulated Jewish national identity as a secular identity, while maintaining an affinity for tradition. The Land of Israel will be Judaism's spiritual/cultural center.


By signing with the nickname "Ahad Ha'am" ("one of the people"), at the end of the article, he expressed the sentiment that he represents a simple Jewish person disturbed by his people's fate.



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