The Jewish Agency and Other Worldwide Instrumentalities of the Jewish People
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Daniel Elazar Papers Index

Israel-Diaspora Relations

The Jewish Agency and Other Worldwide
Instrumentalities of the Jewish People

Reinventing World Jewry: How to Design the World Jewish Polity

Daniel J. Elazar


Even the casual observer of the Jewish scene understands that the establishment of the State of Israel marks a decisive turning point in the constitutional history of the Jewish people, and has brought in its wake both the possibility and the necessity to reconstitute the Jewish polity. This is not the first time that the Jewish people have entered a period of reconstitution. Indeed, it is only the latest of many such reconstitutions.1 We all know the reasons why such a reconstitution is necessary viz: the reemergence of a politically independent Jewish state after two millennia, the massive shift of Jewish population centers to new sites, changes in diaspora community organization and in the balance between the religious and secular forces in Jewish life, and the entry of all Jewry into a post-emancipation era in which the old rules are changed, willy-nilly.

That reconstitution is happening already, one way or another, for better or for worse. It is up to those in leadership positions to try to shape it and guide it in the right direction. Knowing that a reconstitution is in progress is not the same as actually accomplishing the task. Exactly what form the reconstitution will take may not be something that is decided once and for all around the table in a conference room. It maybe a process requiring several generations to achieve. Nevertheless, having made a significant start with the reconstitution of the Jewish Agency and all that has followed it, it is incumbent upon this generation of world Jewish leadership to take the next steps -- to "stretch the envelope" toward a workable institutional framework that will serve the Jewish people worldwide. The Jewish Agency must be at the head of that effort and play a leading role.

We have already passed through the first generation since the reestablishment of the state, and are well into the second. During the first generation several of the cornerstones for the impending reconstitution became visible.

  • First among them was the establishment of the centrality of Israel in the hearts and minds of Jews everywhere coupled with a bipolar division of powers between Israel and the Jewish community of the United States, the two major focal points of the post-war Jewish world.

  • A second was the reemergence of Hebrew as the dominant language of Jewish civilization coupled with the emergence of English as the dominant language of Jewish discourse.

  • A third was the emergence of new or reconstituted institutional structures within the major Jewish communities -- the state structure in Israel and diaspora bodies whose major focus was on fundraising for Israel and local needs and whose power flowed from their control over the pursestrings.

  • A fourth was extensive Jewish reliance on the new technologies of transportation and communication (in particular the telephone, jet plane and the fax) which enable the Jewish people to conduct its day-to-day business on a worldwide basis.

  • A fifth factor was the emergence of a number of multi-country functional authorities whose task it became to undertake the common business of the Jewish people which transcended the boundaries of the individual states in which the Jews found themselves. In effect, these latter replaced the striving for a world Jewish parliament which had been at least a feature of the rhetoric of the previous generation. That idea was rejected by Israel because its leaders could not see the state subordinated to any such voluntary body and by the diaspora Jewish communities who were uneasy over the image which such a body might present.

The Jewish Agency as a Functional Authority

The Jewish Agency stands preeminent among these functional authorities. Its evolution over the first generation of the new epoch has made this clear. With the establishment of the state, many of its original functions and most of its key people were transferred to the new government. For awhile, it seemed as if the very existence of the Agency as a separate organization was in doubt. For reasons that were partly institutional and partly political, the Agency survived. Those who remained with the WZO wanted to keep it as their vehicle for political participation and the requirements of U.S. Internal Revenue laws made a non-governmental vehicle for channeling American funds into Israeli development a necessity for the "philanthropists."

The result was the 1952 covenant between the World Zionist Organization as the proprietor of the Jewish Agency and the Government of Israel, and the subsequent Knesset legislation which established the basis for the relationship between the WZO, the Jewish Agency, and the State of Israel. Under the terms of this covenant, the Jewish Agency was recognized as the third element in the constellation of institutions governing Israel but was decidedly subordinate to the government of the state. Because it remained entirely in the hands of the WZO, its position was ambiguous to say the least. According to Zionist theory, the WZO spoke for the Jewish people but in reality Zionist organizations in most diaspora communities were in the process of losing power and influence, thus making it impossible for them to speak for their communities.

This was particularly true in the United States where the Zionist movement never achieved a power position that came close to the Zionist model, and after 1948 rapidly lost whatever influence it had. Indeed, the Israeli leadership played a leading role in the decline in American Zionism when David Ben-Gurion and his associates decided to embrace the fundraising leadership instead as more likely to serve the new state's needs.

For the next 15 years, this paradoxical situation prevailed. The Agency, rather than diminishing in importance, became rooted in as part of the system of governance of the Jewish state, while at the same time becoming more and more an arm of the state. This led, in turn, to the reconstitution of 1969-70 under the leadership of the late Louis Pincus and Max Fisher who saw the need to overcome the Agency's problematic position and to give it a proper one within the constellation of the world Jewish polity as well as the State of Israel. Their achievement marked the culmination of the postwar generation for the Jewish Agency.

The reconstitution process with its separation of the WZO and the Agency and the restructuring of the governing organs of the latter so that the new representatives of the diaspora communities were included in them in strength, brought the Jewish Agency into a new stage of development. The change was formally marked by a revision of the covenant between the Agency and the State. This time the Agency that emerged was not simply an instrumentality of the Israeli Government, designed to achieve limited political and institutional ends, but, at least potentially, an instrumentality of the Jewish people and a key element in the reemerging world Jewish polity. It marked an intermediate step in the transition from the Jewish Agency as a tool of the State of Israel to what may yet be the Jewish Agency as an instrumentality of the entire Jewish people.

The first achievement of the reorganization was the emergence of a more broadly-based world Jewish leadership tied into the country-wide and local communities of the diaspora, as well as into the Israeli party-political process. Obviously, the world Zionist movement had developed a worldwide leadership much earlier, which continued to exist after the establishment of the state, much diminished in power and influence. In fact, the leadership of the Zionist Movement had never attained the comprehensive scope which it sought. Now, in the reconstituted Jewish Agency, the merging of Zionist and so-called "non-Zionist" (better: community) leaders, the men and women who speak in the name of the diaspora communities, particularly those of the United States, offered an opportunity for the emergence of a truly comprehensive Jewish leadership.

The reconstituted Jewish Agency provided an arena within which such a leadership can function and in which the people who have entered that arena, on the whole with strong credentials, are able to take advantage of the opportunity. If anything, the first two decades after the reconstitution was a period of some frustration for many of them as the opportunities for them to act developed more slowly than they would have liked. Nevertheless, in the course of the first decade of exposure to one another that leadership began to take shape.

What Did the Reconstitution Achieve?

As is inevitably the case in human affairs, there were mixed expectations with regard to what the reconstitution was designed to accomplish. In the course of time, those who wanted minimal change found that their expectations would not be borne out. At the same time, those who expected an easy transition to a new era were also disappointed. Slowly but surely, pressures from the reconstituted governing bodies led to improved Agency budgetary practices, opened up Agency activities for discussion and consideration and in a limited way began to influence the choice of office holders in senior Agency positions. Each step involved a struggle of its own. On the other hand, with each advance, the Agency acquired greater independence and truly began to function as an arm of the Jewish people. While progress in that direction has been slow at times, it is steady.

A new structure emerged out of the reorganization, in which representation in the governing institutions of the Agency was divided according to a formula balancing Zionist and community leaders, and Israeli, American, and other diaspora representatives. Theoretically, the Jewish Agency Assembly was intended to be the basic policy-making body, the board of Governors the principal governing body, and the Executive, the body handling day-to-day matters. In fact, as is always the case in such systems, the tail comes to wag the dog. The Executive is the body with the real power. The Board of Governors has been struggling valiantly to find a governance role for itself, given the fact that its members are scattered over much of the world and can assemble only a few times a year for brief periods. The Assembly at best briefly reviews policy matters presented to it, but has not really found an effective role for itself, something which generates a great deal of frustration on the part of many of the diaspora members who want to make their participation in the Assembly meaningful, especially since it comes at substantial personal expense.

While the reconstitution did not, in itself, change the functions of the Jewish Agency, in fact it set in motion a process which has led to a number of changes in function and which continues to move in the direction of even more changes. The Agency's direct role in immigrant absorption has diminished following the state's establishment of its own Absorption Ministry. Similarly, the role of the Agency in rural settlement has been on the decline, mostly because the bulk of the job had already been done. The Agency's role is higher education, once fiscally overwhelming, diminished drastically. There have been shifts in social welfare spending within Israel, with the Jewish Agency's role being slowly reduced in general social welfare. On the other hand, Project Renewal led to the Agency acquiring a commanding position in a major national endeavor. The Agency also has begun to take on greater responsibility for Jewish education in the diaspora, a matter of shared concern on the part of all Jewish leaders. Most of these shifts are symptomatic or what some diaspora leaders have suggested as a basic shift in the Agency's mission, from rebuilding the Jewish national home in Eretz Israel to forging stronger links between Israel and the diaspora.

Reconstitution has brought in its wake a whole set of new relationships within the Agency and between the Agency and other factors in the Jewish polity. The relationship between the Agency and the Government of Israel is slowly moving in the direction of greater independence for the former. In this respect, too, Project Renewal has been a major step and may prove a decisive factor. Since the inauguration of Project Renewal, the Agency has been able to develop direct relationships with local governments in Israel, something that was prohibited to it prior to 1977. Finally, there is a changing relationship between the Agency and the diaspora communities. Once viewed strictly as a conduit for philanthropic contributions to help Israel's people and vehicle for helping diaspora fundraising efforts by the care and feeding of missions to Israel, the Jewish Agency has begun to be perceived as the diaspora's instrumentality within Israel and, for certain purposes, outside -- in short, as what it always purported to be, namely a "national institution" belonging to the entire Jewish nation which needs to be treated and developed as such, even further reorganized if necessary.

The relationship between the Agency and the diaspora communities is one that is studded with unresolved issues that did not surface at Caesarea or in the processes to which it gave birth. The organized American Jewish community, for example, has insisted upon stringent limits to Agency activities in the United States and has done so at least since the 1960s, making a clear point of its position that the Agency is not to function within the American Jewish framework except in marginal and supplementary ways.

Although the Jewish Agency has been a major presence in France since World War II, French Jewry has taken a similar stance in recent years. Yet recent events, especially the establishment of the Joint Education Authority, suggest that one of the principal functions of the Agency in the future will be to play a major role in Jewish education in the diaspora. As long as the Soviet Union and the Communist bloc were closed to organized Jewish activity, the Jewish Agency was restricted to a very limited set of activities either outside of the Communist world or in secret to arrange for the aliya of those Jews who could get out at various times. Since the collapse of the Communist bloc, a whole new relationship with the reemergent Jewish communities in those countries has become necessary. Curiously enough, some of the same people who are responsible for limiting the Agency's scope in their respective diaspora communities are members of the Board of Governors urging the Agency to embrace these new roles and, in that latter capacity, seem to have ignored this question.

JAFI and the World Jewish Polity

One of the issues that seems to have been left out is the question of relationships between the Agency and the rest of the world Jewish polity. One thing is certain, the Agency cannot function in a vacuum. Most immediately, its relationships with the government of Israel are frequently overpowering in their impact on the Agency's work. Certainly its relationships with the Israeli political party system are. The relationship between the WZO and the community leadership stands at the heart of the functioning of the Agency itself.

Then, too, the relationship between the Agency and the other Jewish multi-country functional authorities has to be clarified. for example, over the course of the past six decades, the Agency and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee have been involved in activities in many Jewish communities which have brought them together in a kind of antagonistic cooperation with each appreciating the necessity of working with the other for common Jewish ends, albeit with perceived goals that are sufficiently different to generate certain tensions from time to time. There is nothing inherent in the goals of the Agency or the Joint as presently defined which demands the perpetuation of such tensions but they must be dealt with as both the Agency and the JDC move down new paths, some of which will be competitive with each others work and others of which will demand close cooperation between the Agency and the other functional authorities.

How the Jews Function as a People

The Jewish people functions in three arenas: an immediately local arena consisting of local Jewish communities around the world of varying sizes, under varying forms of communal organization. Whether we are speaking of Dallas or Chicago, Capetown or Stockholm, Ramat Gan or Afula, the local community remains the basic cell of Jewish communal life, the place where the basic institutions that serve the Jewish community are organized and function, where Jews, bound by ties of kinship, consent in one way or another to be participants in the Jewish body politic through participation in municipal elections (in Israel), through membership in a congregation and contributions to the local welfare fund (in the diaspora), or whatever.

Beyond the local arena, there is a larger, country-wide arena, within which the Jews in particular countries or states organize for common purposes. The organizational expressions of that arena include such phenomena as the State of Israel, the Canadian Jewish Congress, and the congeries of "national" (meaning country-wide) organizations of American Jewry framed by the Council of Jewish Federations. Fundraising for Israel, for example, depends upon work in local communities but is generally organized on a country by country basis, in this second arena. Formally the members of the Jewish Agency Assembly and Board of Governors are designated by bodies serving this second arena although in the case of the United States, the community leaders are designated by the United Israel Appeal in tandem with the major local community federations.

Beyond the second arena, there is a third, that of the Jewish people as a whole, the edah to use its classic Hebrew name, first applied to the people assembled as a polity in Mosaic times and subsequently used regularly (with its synonym, Knesset) throughout Jewish history. It is this arena which was extremely weak for nearly a millennium and which has been given new institutional form within the last century, most particularly in our time. The edah is the main focus of the reconstitution of the Jewish people as a whole. It is the arena served by the Jewish Agency and the one in which the Jewish Agency should play a major, if not the major, role. The Agency will only be able to do so, however, if its leaders appreciate the nature of the arena and its relationships with the other arenas and the other "players" within the edah.

One thing is clear. The Jewish Agency will either transform itself into a major instrumentality of the third arena within the new generation now upon us and truly become a vital instrumentality of the Jewish people as a whole for whatever tasks it assumes or are given to it, or it will wither down to become an increasingly useless appendage of the State of Israel, kept alive only as an approved conduit for tax exempt funds and as a source of patronage for Israeli political parties.

The Jewish people needs an effective Jewish Agency as a true national institution. Assuming that the Jewish people is not seeking to establish a Jewish parliament, it still requires national institutions to do its work as an edah. There is not another institution in existence which has a better claim to playing a preeminent role than the Jewish Agency, but in order to do so, it must be ready to confront the difficult questions, draw the appropriate conclusions, and make the necessary changes.

What is to be Done?

If the Jewish Agency is to attain its potential and provide the edah with a primary functional authority that could provide a frame for the edah as a whole, it can only do so through the constitutionalization of:

  1. Its status, role, and general functioning within the body politic in relation to the other major institutions serving the three arenas; most particularly the Joint Distribution Committee and the World Jewish Congress, in addition to its present constituent, the World Zionist Organization, and its present partner, the State of Israel.

  2. The structure and composition of all of the edah institutions, including those whose primary role is to serve the other arenas, including the way in which the various components are represented in the edah.

  3. The distribution and sharing of powers or competencies, and

  4. A process for changing that constitutional framework when necessary.

The necessity for a proper constitutional framework cannot be overemphasized. Its importance has already been recognized in the several covenants between the Jewish Agency, the WZO and the State of Israel and in constitution-like agreements between JAFI and some of the other "authorities." Despite Israel's hesitancy to write a single constitutional document for itself, even the Israeli leadership perceived the necessity to establish, in writing, at least the basic terms of the relationship between the Jewish Agency as a Jewish national institution and the State of Israel as the Jewish state.

Among the issues that remain open, however, is the achievement of satisfactory governance relationships within the Jewish Agency itself. A major source of the tension in current Agency governance stems from different orientations of the Israeli and diaspora (particularly North American) leaders involved. The Israelis, for the most part, see the Jewish Agency primarily as a political actor within Israel and thus are most comfortable with the political actor model of governance in practice. The various department heads are political appointments with substantial independence in internal operations, working under the cabinet-like Executive which controls most of the real power.

In contrast, the diaspora partners see the Agency as a philanthropic service-provider, and prefer models based on either the business-CEO model or the local Jewish federation model. The business model puts primary authority in the hands of a single chief executive officer who supervises professional department heads. The federation model variant interlaces lay people with the professional staff. Our study will examine these and other operational models which can synthesize the different approaches identified.

It is clear, however, that we must go beyond those covenants at this point. The Agency can never be effective if the government of Israel is going to decide at every turn what its stated position is on issues or what are to be its functions, or if there is no clear cut way to enable it to delineate its roles, structure and powers. The nature of the Jewish polity is such that it is essentially federal in character, functioning through numerous semi-autonomous bodies serving the three arenas described above. At its best, it has been organized as a federation or confederation. That is what is needed now. Relations between the institutions serving different arenas in federal systems must be constitutionalized if the system is to function effectively. As part of its reconstitution, the Jewish people must take that next step.

Beyond that, this question of governance can only be properly answered by clarifying:

  1. The role of the Jewish Agency in the context of the world Jewish polity;

  2. The role of the Government of Israel in matters pertaining to the Jewish people; and

  3. The role of the other Jewish multicountry associations and countrywide bodies within which the Jewish Agency must work.

The Study

This is a study of these governance options in the larger context of the role of the Jewish Agency in the emergent world Jewish polity so as to be able to recommend what governance mechanisms are needed for the Jewish Agency to play its proper role. Here we:

  1. explore the role of the Jewish Agency and its relationships with other bodies within the Jewish world, identifying options and possibilities.

  2. identify and examine the different governance models presently in effect or that have been put forward with regard to their ability to fulfill its various possible roles.

  3. recommend a future course of action with regard to both.

This study includes research conducted specifically for it and draws on previous research conducted by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on the Jewish Agency, Jewish political institutions and organizations, and political organizations generally. The study draws upon the results developed in the field of Jewish political studies and on earlier studies of constitutional design in the Jewish community and the world. With that knowledge and data base, we conducted interviews with key people who have been involved in issues of world Jewish governance in order to sharpen our own understanding of what is needed.

Drawing on our scholarly resources, a study team was assembled to focus questions of governance and policy. The result of this study provides a knowledge base that should enable the leadership of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish world to address the crucial problem of the reconstitution of the world Jewish polity as a more effective organizational network, and either a blueprint or a number of options for the reconstitution, which can then be implemented by the community leadership.

The Renewed Polity

First Steps toward Jewish Polity in Modern Times

A primary characteristic of the Emancipation era was the effort of Jews in the Western world to redefine themselves politically strictly as citizens of their respective states, though of a different religious persuasion. With that came the effort by many to detach themselves from the common fate of fellow Jews. This effort received its strongest formal expression in the formulations of the Napoleonic Sanhedrin (1806) where the Jews of France, under some duress, abjured any transstate ties. Nevertheless, the Jews were at least ambivalent about this aspect of their search for emancipation and citizenship as individuals. No longer comfortable speaking about their brethren as members of a common nation, English-speaking Jews in the nineteenth century coined the term coreligionists, a philological barbarism designed to reflect the persistence of ties but on a limited and careful basis.

A change in name did not change reality, however. The common interests of Jews the world over did not disappear. Indeed, those interests intensified during the nineteenth century. Significantly, the attitude of the European nation-states, new or old, where most Jews lived, did not shift either. Despite their demands that "their" Jews become citizens or subjects on an individual basis, they still viewed the Jews as a separate group. Thus, the Congress of Vienna in 1815 addressed "the Jewish question" as part of its agenda; since then hardly any important international meeting has been without some Jewish issue before it.

At first, the Jewish question was addressed without the direct involvement of the Jews themselves. This was not a situation that the Jews could tolerate. Even under conditions of emancipation and denationalization, they were not prepared to allow others the exclusive right to determine their interests and destiny. Moreover, not even all emancipated Jews had abandoned the sense of nationhood. It was precisely in the United Kingdom and the United States, where Jews were most free to become citizens on an individual basis, that many felt least constrained to abandon the sense that a Jewish nation existed. Early in the twentieth century, the term peoplehood came into use, first in the United States, to provide a more acceptable expression of that sentiment.

The first Jewish political responses (as distinct from philanthropic ones) to transstate Jewish problems were made through individual notables working quietly behind the scenes on behalf of Jewish interests -- a revival in new form of shtadlanut (the historic name for the situation in which Jewish notables with positions or connections to the non-Jewish world around them, interceded on the Jews' behalf when necessary), which had prevailed in medieval Europe. At the beginning of the nineteenth century the Board of Deputies of British Jews made representations to the British and foreign governments about the situation of Jews in other lands, but they were more symbolic than real until the shtadlanim began acting with the Board's blessing. The greatest Jewish shtadlan of the nineteenth century was Sir Moses Montefiore of Great Britain, but he was by no means the only one.

By and large, these nineteenth century shtadlanim were activated on behalf of Jewish brethren in lands not yet touched by emancipation or where promises of emancipation were not fulfilled, chiefly Eastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean, plus North Africa. The first intervention to attract worldwide attention came in 1840 in the case of the Damascus blood libel. It was undertaken by individual shtadlanim, but, significantly, the shtadlanim from the major western European countries found it in their interest to coordinate their work in what was perhaps the first modern world-wide expression of Jewish political activity.

A decade later, the construction of the first housing outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem was a classic example of this trend. Montefiore of Great Britain was entrusted with money bequeathed by Judah Touro of the United States to be used for the Jewish poor of Eretz Israel. The result: Mishkenot Sha'ananim. Thus at the very outset of the effort, its two primary targets were identified: Jewish rights and security in the diaspora and rebuilding Eretz Israel. They have remained primary ever since.

As the western European great powers became increasingly involved in the internal affairs of the Ottoman Empire, the Jewish notables capitalized on their positions in their respective powers (particularly Austria, France, Great Britain, and, later, Germany) to intervene on behalf of their brethren. Similarly, the Board of Deputies of American Israelites, founded in 1859, included among its purposes the defense of Jewish interests overseas. Nevertheless, even though it was the first countrywide Jewish governance body organized on democratic principles in the United States, its efforts were made meaningful (as much as they were) by quasi-shtadlanic methods. The offices of the United States government were used to obtain consular or ministerial appointments for American Jewish notables in countries where they had an interest in working for the improvement of the condition of the Jews. Thus armed with American government credentials, the notables could enhance their shtadlanic roles.

Between the 1840s and the 1870s the number of problems requiring such joint action grew, or, at the least, the concern of the western Jewish communities with those problems expanded. As involvement increased and a pattern of response emerged, more institutionalized methods of handling the increased work load were introduced in the form of shtadlanic organizations such as the Alliance Israelite Universelle in France, the Anglo-Jewish Association in Britain, and the Hilfsverein for Deutschen Juden in Germany. While their efforts to create a single worldwide Jewish organization were frustrated by the opposition of the governments of their respective countries who were in tension with one another, the shtadlanic organizations also found it advantageous to cooperate with one another. In this way, interventions were regularly carried out in Russia, in Romania, the Ottoman Empire, and North Africa and in other countries as needed.

Shtadlanut was able to hold its own as long as the large body of Jews was not awakened politically. The emergence of the Zionist movement changed all that. Theodor Herzl's convening of the first Zionist Congress in 1897 marked a turning point in worldwide Jewish organization. Herzl transformed the basis of Jewish contacts with foreign powers and the character of the demands Jews made by the establishment of the World Zionist Organization. One of the principles of the Basel program was "the organization and uniting of the whole of Jewry, by means of appropriate institutions, both local and international," thus serving notice that the Jews were prepared to act as a body, organized democratically on a worldwide basis to achieve their political goals.

The Zionists were opposed by the notables and their organizations as much for ideological reasons as for any others. The notables were committed emancipationists and bitterly opposed to the revival of Jewish nationalism. For the remainder of that generation, the struggle between the two approaches continued, culminating in the victory of the Zionists during World War I in the course of the struggle over the Balfour Declaration. After the end of that war, shtadlanut, even in its institutionalized form, receded into the background, and the field of worldwide Jewish activity was taken over by multicountry organizations with avowedly, if not exclusively, political goals. The basis for a worldwide Jewish polity was now in place.

In the interim, the first worldwide Jewish fraternal organization had also emerged, significantly, an American Jewish creation. B'nai B'rith was founded in New York in 1843 as a modern expression of the Jewish desire to maintain communal bonds on an individual plane in a secular age. It rapidly spread to every part of the United States where Jews lived. In 1882, the first overseas lodge was founded in Germany and, by the turn of the century, even Eretz Israel had a lodge. In the United States, B'nai B'rith was a broad-based organization; in Europe and the Middle East it became an elite group. Until the end of the nineteenth century, its leaders also played local roles as shtadlanim. In some countries they still do. Subsequently, the international leadership became active in the world Jewish arena.

The victory of the Zionists meant far more than the ultimate establishment of a Jewish state. It marked the reestablishment of a Jewish political consciousness, either willingly or reluctantly, and the reestablishment of a sense of Jewish peoplehood with all that this implied. The form of the Jewish polity today is the direct product of the Zionist victory; Jewish responses to contemporary events are based on the "facts" that the Zionists established among the Jews and within the non-Jewish world.

The Forging of a New Jewish Polity in the Twentieth Century

While the beginnings of an institutionalized structure for world Jewry were developing, massive demographic changes were taking place in the Jewish world. The world Jewish population grew geometrically as the conditions under which the Jews lived improved. From an estimated 2.5 million in 1800, the number of Jews in the world increased to 10.5 million a century later and to 16.5 million in 1939.

The Jews also began to evacuate what had been the major centers of Jewish life in the Old World and to establish new centers in the New World of the great European frontier, North and South America, South Africa and Australia, or in France and Great Britain -- areas outside of or peripheral to Jewish life for centuries. This process, which had become a flood by the end of the nineteenth century, was given additional impetus by World War I and the Russian Revolution. It received its final form as a result of World War II, the Holocaust, and the establishment of the State of Israel.

By the middle of the twentieth century, not a single Jewish area of settlement that had been prominent at the time of the American and French revolutions remained in the forefront of Jewish life, and hardly a single Jewish community remained undisturbed anywhere in the world. The Eastern European Jewish centers were destroyed, either physically or socially. Even in the Soviet Union, most Jews were no longer located in the areas of traditional Jewish settlement. The establishment of the State of Israel effectively ended organized Jewish life in the Arab lands. Even the centers that had emerged in continental Europe in the nineteenth century were either physically destroyed or so reduced in numbers and morale as a result of the Holocaust that they were unable to play their earlier role. The United States had emerged as the largest Jewish community functioning as a unit under one government in all Jewish history. Most Jews of the world lived in English-speaking countries and had adopted English as their native language. Hebrew, the language of Israel and Israelis, had been restored to its premier place in Jewish civilization. Yiddish, Ladino, and other diaspora Jewish languages survived as remnants, primarily in Latin America, Canada, and (paradoxically enough) Israel, rather than in the lands of their origin.

While this process was going on, new organizations had emerged to serve world Jewry. The Americans contributed the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), organized in 1914 to provide war relief to Jews caught by World War I in Europe and the Ottoman Empire. After the war, it tried to bring relief to the war-devastated Jewish communities of Eastern Europe and the Russian revolution. In 1929 the Jewish Agency for Palestine was organized to unite world Jewry in the effort to rebuild Eretz Israel. In 1936 the World Jewish Congress (WJC) was organized, mostly by the Jewries of Europe under WZO auspices, to try to protect Jewish rights in an age of growing Fascist anti-Semitism. From the beginning, these organizations developed areas of functional specialization, by design or by virtue of their situation.

Crowning the establishment of new centers and new organizations was the renewal of independent Jewish national existence in Eretz Israel within a politically sovereign state. As a state, Israel transformed all previous relationships among Jewish communities. A state, possessing political sovereignty with the powers and responsibilities that go with it, could not be treated simply as another Jewish community on the world scene. At the same time, because it had a relatively small percentage of the total number of Jews in the world (only in the 1970s did it become the second largest Jewish community, today approximately four-fifths the size of the largest), it could not become the sole voice of the Jewish people, either internally or externally, much as its leaders would have liked it to. Thus the blessings of statehood brought a new set of political problems for the Jewish people -- good problems but problems nevertheless.

The first formal effort to define the role of the state as the spokesman for the Jewish people took the form of an exchange of letters between David Ben-Gurion, then Israel's prime minister, and Jacob Blaustein, then president of the American Jewish Committee, in 1950. The Committee was at that time the leading shtadlanic organization in the United States and was known as non-Zionist. Following a modified version of the emancipationist ideology, Blaustein wanted to make it clear to the world and to the Israelis that the Jews of the diaspora were citizens of their respective countries, owed no political allegiance to Israel, and did not see Israel as their political spokesman in Jewish affairs. Ben-Gurion, interested in strengthening Israel's alliance with the Jewish notables in the United States and not eager to start a war with them, more or less accepted Blaustein's terms and limited Israeli claims along those lines.

A generation later their correspondence reads like an anachronism, but it must be remembered that the first generation of leaders to face these problems was a product of the last generation of the nineteenth century when the struggle between the Zionists and the shtadlanim was at its height. Thus the understandings and assumptions they brought with them were those of a much earlier age. The Ben Gurion-Blaustein agreement reflects the effort of two men of good will trying to come to grips with a new situation, but bound by their own experience and even the phraseology of an earlier age.

What characterized the first two generations of the twentieth century, when this new Jewish polity was being forged, was growing Jewish collective political action on a wide variety of fronts, coupled with strenuous denials of its being political. Only now, in the second generation of Jewish statehood and postwar reconstitution, has a generation of Jewish leaders emerged whose formative experiences have taken place in this new context and who are able and willing to face up to it and its implications. This new generation is not afraid to talk about Jewish political interests and to make Israel the major subject on their political agenda.

The Six-Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War, six and a half years later, did much to end this dichotomy. If anything, the Jewish people in their numbers demonstrated how open they were to recognizing the political realities of the State of Israel and their attachment to it. Jews who in no overt way differed from their neighbors in their private lives were prepared to go into the streets in frankly political demonstrations for Israel. This marked a reversal of the emancipationist dictum of Haskalah poet Y.L. Gordon, "Be a Jew in your home and a man in the street"; Jews who no longer knew how to be Jews in their homes went into the streets to demonstrate their Jewish attachments.

New Structures and Relationships

During and after World War II, other Israeli and American Jewish organizations and institutions also became involved in the world Jewish scene. The American Jewish Committee undertook to develop an international program of some scope after World War II. The B'nai B'rith and ADL expanded their operations outside the United States. The three American synagogue movements and the Jewish community centers established worldwide associations. Israel, in the meantime, was busy establishing offices or tributary organizations to raise money to assist in the rebuilding of the land or to provide support in other ways. Thus, in the years between 1945 and 1955, a subsidiary network of worldwide organizations was developed, focusing either on the United States or Israel, but also involving Jewries in many other countries.

The multiplication of organizations led to a concern for restructuring the institutional framework of the emerging Jewish polity to limit duplication and promote coordination. Some bodies, new and old, were working at cross purposes with one another, some in the pursuit of different goals, but many in the pursuit of the same ones. In a manner familiar to American Jews, the community relations organizations presented the biggest problem. The number of defenders of Jewish interests that came forward was such that, at times, the efforts at defense were jeopardized. For example, once the Jewish-Catholic rapprochement began, it became difficult for the Vatican to decide which among the many Jewish claimants to talk to. In time, a coordinating body was established to speak with a harmonious set of voices, if not a single voice. It, too, collapsed and chaos reigned until the Vatican insisted that the Jews organize themselves properly. At that point, under the lead of the World Jewish Congress, the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC) was formed.

In the aid-to-Israel sphere, the multiplicity of organizations seeking to assist the Jewish state also led to demands for coordination. As Israel began trying to assist the diaspora in strengthening Jewish life, it initially did so in a manner that paid little attention to the established framework within the various diaspora communities. The Israelis were called to task and demands for coordination were raised.

One possible focal point for coordination after the war might have been the World Jewish Congress, but the Holocaust had destroyed whatever significant base it had by reducing the European Jewish communities to secondary or tertiary status on the Jewish map. Still, Nahum Goldmann, the founder and leader of the WJC, remained the preeminent political figure in the diaspora. He was successful in coordinating efforts to secure German reparations through the World Conference on Material claims against Germany (1951). Among its other activities, it entered into partnership with the JDC to assist in the rebuilding of Jewish life in Europe and with the Jewish Agency to assist in the rebuilding of Israel. Goldmann, recognizing the new limits on the WJC, took the lead in trying to stimulate a coordinating agency for those Jewish organizations involved in multicountry activities, out of which emerged the now defunct World Congress of Jewish Organizations (COJO) in 1958. At the time, this move was welcomed by the Jewish Agency, which underwent reconstitution itself to include non-Zionist as well as Zionist elements in 1970.

At first, those advocating structural changes to reflect the new realities sought an overarching framework that would unite all bodies serving the Jewish people. This dream has never been abandoned in theory, but in practice the Jewish people has come to make do with a far looser structure, a number of separate "authorities" with specialized areas of activity loosely tied together through coordinating councils. The Claims Conference, the JDC, and the Jewish Agency are examples of such authorities.

This situation has developed pragmatically on a de facto basis. It has never been formally recognized or given any formal legitimacy by participants in, or most commentators on, the world Jewish scene. At present it seems that unless a conscious effort is made in a different direction, for the indefinite future, world Jewry will be united only through the formal mechanisms of coordinating councils and the more important informal mechanism of overlapping leadership. Apparently the mass of the Jewish people does not seek a more comprehensive framework on a worldwide basis, particularly given the nature of contemporary Jewish life, most Jews are not even aware of the network that exists, even if they are interested in Jewish survival, while Jewish leadership is extremely protective of their respective "fiefs." Moreover, the religious and ideological differences that divide Jewry may prevent unity on anything other than a loose confederative basis.

The authorities that do exist and their coordinating organizations are dominated by Israel and American Jewry, sometimes by the one, sometimes by the other, and sometimes on a shared basis, depending on which authority is involved. The structure of the authorities is such that other Jewish communities are represented and even well represented, and the representatives of the stronger among them can and do play important roles, but on an ad hoc basis.

Perhaps the major problem facing multicountry Jewish bodies other than the functional authorities is not how to coordinate activities among themselves in a better way but how to link themselves with the realities of Jewish life in a world in which most Jewish activity is carried on locally in a large number of communities. Even the countrywide organizations and institutions of most Jewries are weak except insofar as they confine their activities to purposes that require the concentration of a critical mass (e.g., fundraising for Israel, representation before the government, support of a rabbinical seminary, or a placement service providing assistance to localities seeking professional personnel) or serve, for all intents and purposes, one very large local community. If the countrywide bodies tend to be weak, most of the worldwide ones are no more than forums where leaders in their respective communities can regularly meet to exchange views, almost totally outside the awareness of the communities they purport to lead and often with minimal effect on the activities or the quality of life within them.

Categories of World Jewish Organizations

Today's world Jewish polity comprises a network of single and multipurpose functional authorities, no single one of which encompasses the entire gamut of Jewish political interests, although several have attempted to do so. They include the following categories:

  1. National institutions -- for example, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish National Fund, Keren HaYesod

  2. Multicountry associations -- for example, ORT, World Jewish Congress, B'nai B'rith

  3. Educational institutions under the auspices of the entire Jewish people -- for example, the universities in Israel

  4. Organizations under local sponsorship whose sphere of activity is multicountry -- for example, the Joint Distribution Committee

Ernest Stock has grouped the multicountry associations by their principal goals):

Principal Goal Characteristics Organization(example)
Political-general purpose World Zionist Organization
Political-special purpose World Conference of Soviet Jewry
Distributive Conference on Material Claims Against Germany
Services-operational World ORT Union
Services-coordinating European Council of Jewish Communities
Religious World Union for Progressive Judaism
Agudath Israel World Organization
Association-fraternal B'nai B'rith International Council
Association-special interest World Sephardi Federation
World Union of Jewish Students

Source: Ernest Stock, "Jewish Multicountry Associations," American Jewish Year Book, 1974-75, vol. 75 (New York: American Jewish Committee and Jewish Publication Society of America, 1974), pp. 596-597.

The Historic and Continuing Structure of the Edah

Proper understanding of what the future could bring for this world Jewish organizational network and for the place of the Jewish Agency within it, first requires us to step back from the present to understand how authority and power in the Jewish polity have been constitutionally structured organized in the past the principles behind those structures, and how that basic structure continues into the present and is likely to continue in the future as well. What, on the surface, looks like a confusing melange of organizations and institutions, in fact has an identifiable internal logic of its own that has sustained the Jewish people for centuries. In the past Jews have violated that logic only at their own peril. Hence understanding that logic is critically necessary if proper steps are to be taken to improve our present situation.

While the Jewish polity of today is in so many ways sui generis, it is also the heir to a long and well-developed Jewish political tradition, an expression of patterns and processes of governance whose origins lie at the very founding of the Jewish people some 3,500 years ago. The Jewish political experience has been extremely varied over the years, ranging from independent statehood in the Land of Israel to communal autonomy in the very difficult circumstances of exile to voluntary association in the countries of emancipation. It has included monarchic, oligarchic, and democratic forms of government under different conditions; and has had to find ways of expression in almost every time and clime throughout the world. There are some constant and recurring elements in the Jewish political tradition that continue to be echoed in the American Jewish polity.

The federal element has already been noted. It is part and parcel of the very foundation of the Jewish political experience and tradition, both in the sense of the covenantal founding of the Jewish people (federal is from the Latin foedus meaning covenant) and more explicitly in the predominant form of political organization throughout the history of the Jewish polity beginning with the federation of the twelve tribes. Covenant in Jewish tradition has a strong political as well as a theological dimension. Covenants have been the basis for all legitimate Jewish political organization from Abraham and Sinai to the present.

Brit (covenant) is quintessentially federal in that it conveys the sense of both separation and linkage, cutting and binding. A covenant creates a perpetual bond between parties having independent but not necessarily equal status, called upon to share in a common task. That bond is based upon mutual obligations and a commitment to undertake joint action to achieve certain defined ends, which may be limited or comprehensive, under conditions of mutual respect in such a way as to protect the fundamental integrity of all the parties involved. A covenant is much more than a contract -- though our modern system of contracts is related to the covenant idea -- because it involves a pledge of loyalty beyond that demanded for mutual advantage, often involving the development of a certain kind of community among the partners to the covenant, and ultimately based upon their moral commitment. As a political instrument, covenant resembles the political compacts of the seventeenth and eighteenth century except that it must be provided on a religio-moral base.

Jewish political institutions and behavior reflect this covenantal base in the way they give expression to the political relationship as a partnership based upon a morally grounded pact and, like all partnerships, oriented toward decision and policy-making through negotiation and bargaining. Beyond that, wherever the possibility has existed, Jews have organized their political institutions on a federal basis, whether in the form of the ancient tribal confederacy, the Hellenistic politeuma, the medieval confederations of local communities, the Council of the Four Lands in late medieval Poland, the communal federations of the contemporary diaspora based on territorial or country-of-origin communities, the federations of functional agencies as in the American Jewish community, or the party and settlement federations of modern Israel, to cite only a few of the most prominent examples.

By nature, a covenanted community is republican in the original sense of res publica, a public thing, rather than the private preserve of any person or institution. In the Bible, the Jewish republic is referred to as the edah, from the term for assembly, in other words, a body politic based on the general assembly of its citizens for decision-making purposes. The term and its later equivalent, knesset, derived from the Aramaic at the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, have continued to be used to describe the Jewish body-politic ever since (adat bnei yisrael, knesset yisrael). The original edah was presented literally as an assembly of the entire people on constitutional matters and the men who had reached military age for others. As such, it parallels and historically precedes similar phenomena such as the Swiss landesgemeinde, the Icelandic althing, and the New England town meeting.

The basic characteristics of the edah can be summarized as follows: 1) Political equality exists for all those capable of taking on responsibility for the defense of the edah. 2) Decision-making is in the hands of an assembly that determines its own leaders. 3) The edah is portable and not confined to one place. 4) Nevertheless, for it to function completely, the edah needs Eretz Israel. 5) The Torah is the fundamental constitution of the edah in some appropriate way.

Through Jewish history, the edah, meeting as a whole or through some representative part, has been responsible for actions of a constitutional character, whether electing kings in ancient Israel, constituting the Council of the Four Lands in late medieval Poland, or forming communities in the modern United States. The congregational form itself -- the kahal or kehilla -- is a subsidiary product of the linkage of the covenant and the edah. Traditionally, any ten male Jews may come together to form a kahal by covenanting among themselves to establish a local framework within the larger framework of the Torah for the conduct of their religious, social and political life. The constitutional terminology of the kahal reflects its covenant orientation. Among Sephardic communities, for example, the articles of agreement establishing communities are known as askamot, from haskama or consent.

On the other hand, the fundamental egalitarianism of the edah should not obscure the fact that the Jewish political tradition has a strong aristocratic dimension, in the sense that those who hold the powers of government are trustees for both the people and the Torah, traditionally selected on the basis of some qualifications to be trustees -- Divine sanctification, scholarship, lineage, or wealth as well as talent. In the last analysis, however, the Jewish political tradition is based upon what S.D. Goitein has termed "religious democracy," using the term religious in its original sense of "binding" (as in Ezekiel's masoret habrit -- Ezekiel 20:35-37), uniting God, the citizenry and the human governors empowered under the particular regime in operation at the time through covenant.2

From earliest times the Jewish polity has been organized in three arenas -- the edah as a whole, an intermediate arena of medinot (used here in its original sense as a political jurisdiction, not necessarily a politically sovereign state) or aretzot (lands), and local 'arim (cities, towns, or townships) or kehillot. At times the locus of power was with the edah as a whole, as it was in the desert and at the time of the united monarchy. At times it was with the medinot as during the Second Commonwealth when Medinat Yahud (Judea) was the central focus of the edah, or aratzot as with the Council of the Four Lands or the Jewish community of medieval Egypt. At times it was almost entirely local as was the case with the medieval European communities. In those times the edah as a whole was linked primarily through the halakhic correspondence between individual posekim (halakhic authorities) which served as a communications network of extraordinary efficiency at a time when Jews were unable to sustain any other edah-wide political institutions. As befits a federal polity, these arenas were always organized on a non-centralized basis, that is to say, with no single center but rather a diffusion of powers among a network of centers of greater or lesser importance.

In this spirit, governance within the edah and its arenas was based upon the delegation and separation of powers. The diffusion of power characteristic of the organizational structure of the edah is to a large extent mirrored and amplified by the traditional insistence on its distribution within the various arenas of government. Hierarchical concentration of political authority is rejected, as it would be in any covenantal system true to its fundamental principles. Thus government normally is handled through various reshuyot (authorities).

These reshuyot have been grouped into three domains, dating back to Sinai and known in Hebrew since the time of the Second Commonwealth as ketarim (literally, crowns). According to biblical sources, each keter has a grant of authority directly from God, hence all are fundamentally equal as instruments of governance on earth. The three are the keter torah, whose task is to give programmatic expression to the Torah, Israel's Divinely-originated constitution; the keter kehunah, whose task is to bring God and the edah into close proximity through shared rituals and symbolic expressions; and the keter malkhut, whose task is to be the vehicle for civil authority to exercise power within the edah.

The keter torah constitutes the vehicle whereby God's teachings to Israel are interpreted, specified and transmitted; the keter kehunah the conduit through which God and the edah are brought into constant contact; and the keter malkhut, the legitimately empowered means whereby political and civic relationships are structured and regulated in accordance with the covenantal stipulations of a divinely-ordained constitution.

The first normally flows from God to the people through mediating institutions such as prophets, Torah sages, poskim and rabbis or rabbinical judges. It is embodied in such classic works as the Torah and the Talmud. The second, which is formally entrusted to the priestly descendants of Aaron, supplemented since the destruction of the Temple by religious and synagogue functionaries, normally involves human initiatives directed heavenward. The third, originally entrusted to patriarchs, elders and judges, then to kings, particularly of the House of David, and then to magistrates (nesiim), exilarchs, and parnasim (community leaders) emphasizes human political relationships with other humans.

This unique tripartite division of authority allows the Jewish polity to encompass far more than the narrow functions of contemporary political systems. In effect it embraces religious and social as well as political institutions and expressions, thus constitutionalizing power-sharing in such a way as to reflect the multi-faceted character of the Jewish people. Each keter has a share in the governance of the edah through the institutions and officers empowered by it. Each, however, does so from a different base.

What distinguishes this division of authority from a conventional separation of powers systems is that the ketarim address themselves first to the source, character, and purpose of authority, only then to issues of function (e.g., executive, legislative, judicial). The latter are usually shared by two or more of the ketarim by design. The distinction lies less in the need that each serves than in the perspective each brings to bear on political activities.

By tradition, each keter is to be regarded as a mediating institution between God and the edah in possession of a distinct focus, thereby enabling each to exercise a constitutional check on the others. Each possesses its own institutional structure. The three are interdependent. No Jewish polity is constitutionally complete unless it contains representatives of all three ketarim in one form or another.

While the ketarim may be equal in theory, in practice there have been shifts in the balance among them throughout Jewish history along with a degree of inter-keter conflict. For example, when David became king, he secured his throne and dynasty by securing the dominance of the keter malkhut. He did so by bringing the other two ketarim into his court, preserving them but at the same time subordinating them to the throne. Thus Nathan the Prophet could continue to prophesy -- within David's court while David appointed a new high priestly family from among the kohanim. During the Second Commonwealth there was a continuing conflict among the three ketarim which were rather equally balanced, but after the destruction of the Second Temple, the sages representing the keter torah made their keter the dominant one, aided by the unique ability of the halakhah to serve a community in exile with no political sovereignty. The keter torah not only remained dominant for the next 1800 years, it became the grounding for the edah in every respect. In our times, however, the reestablishment of the State of Israel, coupled with the increased secularization of Jewish life in both Israel and the diaspora, has led to a resurgence of the keter malkhut which has gained the upper hand although once again it is being challenged by the representatives of the keter torah.

What is important to note is that these conflicts are based on the premise that all three ketarim must continue to function for the polity to be legitimate. All are agreed on this, even if they contest for power within the framework. Periodically in Jewish history there have been efforts to combine or eliminate one or another of the ketarim, whether at the time of the prophet Samuel who took all three to himself, as at the time of Hasmonean rule during the Second Commonwealth when the ruling Hasmonean family combined the keter kehunah and keter malkhut, or in the early stages of the Zionist movement when some of the Zionist settlers and ideologues of Israel thought that only the keter malkhut was important. All have failed, in the first two cases disastrously.

All this points to the great force of constitutionalism in the Jewish political tradition. The Jewish polity is a constitutional polity above all, whose fundamental constitution has remained Torat Moshe (the Torah of Moses), however interpreted throughout the ages. Despite its long and unbroken constitutional foundation, historical circumstances have caused the edah to undergo periodic reconstitutions in order to respond to changing conditions. For the edah as a whole, these reconstitutions have taken place approximately every ten generations or 300 years, thereby establishing a constitutional basis for the periodization of Jewish history. In each of those reconstitutions a new constitutional referent has been introduced as the principal vehicle for interpreting the original Torah, whether in the form of the prophetic literature, the Mishnah, the Gemarah, or the various medieval codes culminating in the Shulchan Aruch. In the modern epoch (mid-seventeenth to mid-twentieth centuries), there began a struggle between referents, a struggle not yet resolved, one that is at the base of almost all fundamental conflicts in contemporary Jewry.

The edah has passed through thirteen such historical epochs and is now in the early stages of the fourteenth (Figure 1). The Jewish world that we know is a product of the thirteenth epoch, whose characteristic regime was that of the voluntary association and which coincides with the modern epoch in world history. It has acquired its present form in the fourteenth epoch whose major manifestation is the restoration of the Jewish state and the role it has played in reconstituting the edah so that the Jewish people as a whole again has a structure.

One of the results of the modern epoch was to transform all diaspora Jewish communities into voluntary ones, and while Israel as a state is not a voluntary Jewish community in the same way, most of the Jews who settled in Israel did so voluntarily and involvement in the more Jewish aspects of the community is for the most part voluntary. Thus by the end of the modern epoch the new voluntary character of all Jewish communities has not only become a variable which must be taken into consideration, but a challenge to the survival of the Jewish people, the results of which will only be assessable in the future.

Figure 1

Historical Epochs of the Edah

  1. Ha-Avot/The Forefathers c. 1850-c. 1570 BCE
  2. Avdut Mizrayim/Egyptian Bondage c. 1570-c. 1280 BCE
  3. Adat Bnei Yisrael/The Congregation of Israelites c. 1280-1004 BCE
  4. Brit ha-Melukhah/The Federal Monarchy 1004-721 BCE
  5. Malkhut Yehudah/The Kingdom of Judah 721-440 BCE
  6. Knesset ha-Gedolah/The Great Assembly 440-145 BCE
  7. Hever ha-Yehudim/The Jewish Commonwealth 145 BCE-140 CE
  8. Sanhedrin u-Nesi'ut/The Sanhedrin and the Patriarchate 140-429 CE
  9. Ha-Yeshivot ve Rashei ha-Golah/The Yeshivot and Exilarchs 429-748 CE
  10. Yeshivot ve-Geonim/Yeshivot and the Geonim 748-1038 CE
  11. Ha-Kehillot/The Kehillot 1038-1348 CE
  12. Ha-Va'adim/Federations of the Kehillot 1348-1648 CE
  13. Hitagduyot/Voluntary Associations 1648-1948 CE
  14. Medinah ve-Am/State and People 1948- CE


1. Shlomo Dov Goitein, "Political Conflict and the Use of Power in the World of the Ganiza," in Daniel J. Elazar, ed., Kinship and Consent: The Jewish Political Tradition and Its Contemporary Uses (Ramat Gan: Turtledove, 1981).

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