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By Maxime Rodinson, M. Perl

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14 The covenants of these colonies, then, reflected a common culture rooted in tradition. ” That is, they plan to assemble in late summer to chant Isaiah 40 and subsequent chapters that foretell the return to Zion after a national catastrophe. ” Moreover, they determine that on one of the days of Hannukah they will assemble for a review of accounts and for a cultural program, including reading portions of the Bible relevant to pioneering and chapters from the Book of Hasmoneans (Maccabees). 16 Covenantal Communities: Self-Government Jewish settlers in Palestine, whether rural or urban and religious or secular, viewed themselves as separate from the surrounding society.

At the end of two generations, on the eve of the First World War, the moshavoth were connected to one another in a loose federation. For all their success in forging communal institutions and building societies on shared values, the moshavoth were beset by forces that pushed toward disintegration and failure. The primary challenge to maintaining these village communities through the First World War was economic. The moshavoth had to achieve economic independence or they could not survive. It is to the impact of economic imperatives on the Zionist village that we now turn.

Herzl envisioned a first wave of poor pioneers who would have to be supported. The middle and the upper classes would follow later. This progression remained a widely held expectation. After more than forty years of experience, pioneers and pioneering as the initial step in colonization still had to be supported. Size of the Zionist Village By the 1920s, a half-century after founding the Mikve Israel school, Zionist colonizers had successfully trained several generations of Jews to farm even inhospitable and arid lands.

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