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5 Close and Distant: The Relations between Israel and the Diaspora

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Chapter Summary

During most of that long history, the Jewish population in "the Land of Israel" comprised a small, or a very small minority of entire world Jewry. Over the centuries, the Jewish Diaspora has continuously strived to keep alive its connection and devotion to Zion, though most of that effort was essentially symbolic, based on adherence to traditions and rituals but with little concrete action. The major features of contemporary relationships between the world's two largest Jewish communities, one in the United States and the other in Israel, bear directly upon any assessment of the state of "Jewish peoplehood" during the first decade of the twenty-first century. How do members of the two communities relate to each other and to the Jewish people? This chapter turns to a brief account of the major demographic and related developments that took place between the Jewish communities in Israel and the diaspora over time.

Keywords: Israel; Jewish communities; Jewish diaspora; Jewish peoplehood; world Jewry; Zion



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