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From "One Dunam and Then One More" to "Territory for Peace"

Arnon Soffer
Policy Paper No. 4, 1997


It is not clear if the Zionist experiment has succeeded! Only time will tell!
Fifty thousand Zionist tried to change the Jewish People,
Could it be done? Has it worked?

Yigal Allon, 1978 (to the present author)

Fifty thousand Jews, headed by the leaders of Zionism and later by the leaders of Israel, by intuition, or out of bitter personal experience in the Diaspora, understood that the Jewish people needed an area of land of their own. Among nations attached to their terrain for hundreds and thousands of years, the Jewish people stood out as an exception, cut off from their land. Did this fact injure the "genetic" quality that ties a nation to the land? Has the end come to this short period in which a minority group imbued with the ideology of reconstituting its connection with the land (the wish to be "like all nations") and the people have reverted to "type"? Is Priester Wright correct in stating that "the Diaspora is stamped into this people through and through: the Jews did not want sovereignty, the idea of the state was remote from them and they did their best to get rid of it"?

The purpose of this article is to illumine the attitude of the Jew of Eretz Israel towards land and territory in two time periods:

  • The first period, from the onset of modern Jewish settlement in Eretz Israel to approximately 1975-1982, was characterized by great efforts to create a territory for the Jewish people, to expand it, and even to establish a firm settlement base; this was the period of "one dunam and then one more".

  • The second period, from approximately 1975-1982 until the present, is the period of "territory for peace", territory for votes at the polling booth, over-generous giving away of national resources, and increasing disdain for the connection between territories and the past: a period of "one dunam and then one less".

The article examines the attitude to territory on the regional level, particularly in the strategy of the peace talks. On the internal level, the attitude of the Arab sector to the land, the policy of population dispersal, party activity, the attitude to agricultural land, and the position of the academic community on the question of land.

For the complete text of this article, click here.