The messianic-minded settler movement was not born when the State of Israel was founded in 1948. Rather, it developed after the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967.
Until the liberation of the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria in the Six-Day War, Israel’s religious population lived in the midst of Israeli society, but had no significant influence on political and social processes. In Jerusalem at this time the Torah school and yeshiva Merkaz HaRav (מרכז הרב) was growing under the leadership of Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook (1889-1982), and later became the flagship of religious Zionism. Rabbi Kook identified Zionism with the beginning of salvation and saw the founding of the state as a significant step in the process of redemption for the people of Israel.
The rabbi was concerned not only with the study of Torah, but also with working and settling the land. When Israel celebrated its 19th Independence Day in May 1967, a few weeks before the outbreak of the Six-Day War, Rabbi Kook, in his sermon to the yeshiva...
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