Gathering of Israel
The Gathering of Israel (Hebrew: קיבוץ גלויות, Kibbutz Galuyot (Biblical: Qibbuṣ Galuyoth), lit. Ingathering of the Exiles, also known as Ingathering of [the] Jewish diaspora) is the biblical promise of Deuteronomy 30:1-5 given by Moses, to the people of Israel prior to their entrance into the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael). He foresaw that the people of Israel would sin in their new land and would therefore be exiled. However, he also foresaw the people's return to their homeland. During the days of the Babylonian exile, writings of the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel encouraged the people of Israel with a promise of a future gathering of the exiles to the land of Israel. The continual hope for a return of the Israelite exiles to the land has been in the hearts of Jews ever since the destruction of the Second Temple. Maimonides connected its materialization with the coming of the Messiah.
The gathering of the exiles in the land of Israel, became the core idea of the Zionist Movement and the core idea of Israel's Scroll of Independence (Megilat Ha'atzmaut), embodied by the idea of going up, Aliyah, since the Holy Land is considered to be spiritually higher than all other land. The immigration of Jews to the land and the State of Israel, the "mass" wave of Aliyot (plural form), has been likened unto the Exodus from Egypt.
In the latter parts of the Book of Deuteronomy, when Moses' death was near, he prophesied about the destiny of the people of Israel. Their destiny would not be promising – curses would come upon them and they would go into exile – but when they return to their homeland later, their situation will be as good as it had been in the past, and so said Moses:
1. And it will be, when all these things come upon you the blessing and the curse which I have set before you that you will consider in your heart, among all the nations where the Lord your God has banished you,
2. and you will return to the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul, and you will listen to His voice according to all that I am commanding you this day you and your children,
3. then, the Lord, your God, will bring back your exiles, and He will have mercy upon you. He will once again gather you from all the nations, where the Lord, your God, had dispersed you.
4. Even if your exiles are at the end of the heavens, the Lord, your God, will gather you from there, and He will take you from there.
5. And the Lord, your God, will bring you to the land which your forefathers possessed, and you will take possession of it, and He will do good to you, and He will make you more numerous than your forefathers.— Deuteronomy 30:1-5
In the process of the gathering of the exiles of Israel Moses emphasizes the followings points:
- Following conditions attached to: "and you will return to the Lord, your God."
- The exiles "at the end of the heavens" will also return.
- The situation will be improved after the ingathering of the exiles of Israel in the land of Israel: "and He will do good to you, and He will make you more numerous than your forefathers."
In chapter 11 the Prophet Isaiah says:
11. And it shall come to pass that on that day, the Lord shall continue to apply His hand a second time to acquire the rest of His people, that will remain from Assyria and from Egypt and from Pathros and from Cush and from Elam and from Sumeria and from Hamath and from the islands of the sea.
12. And He shall raise a banner to the nations, and He shall gather the lost of Israel, and the scattered ones of Judah He shall gather from the four corners of the earth.
In chapter 29 the Prophet Jeremiah says:
14. And I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will return your captivity and gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will return you to the place whence I exiled you.
In chapter 20 the Prophet Ezekiel, having already living in exile, says:
41. With a pleasing savor I shall accept you when I take you out of the nations, and I shall gather you from the lands in which you were scattered, and I shall be hallowed through you before the eyes of the nations.
42. And you will know that I am the Lord when I bring you to the land of Israel, to the land that I lifted My hand to give to your forefathers.
Benediction Regarding Kibbutz Galuyot
The Jewish rabbinical sages, Chazal, included the "Benediction Regarding Kibbutz Galuyot" among the thirteen benedictions of appeal in the Amidah prayer, the central prayer of the Jewish liturgy. It is the earliest benediction wherein an appeal is made concerning subjects relating to Jewish nationality and restoring the existence of the Hebrew nation as an independent nation, the others being Birkat HaDin ("Benediction Regarding Justice"), Bo'neh Yerushalayim ("Builder of Jerusalem"), and Birkat David ("Benediction Regarding the Davidic Dynasty").
Maimonides and other Jewish scholars
In Law of Kings, Maimonides writes:
1. The Messianic King will arise in the future and restore the Davidic Kingdom to its former state and original sovereignty. He will build the Temple and gather the dispersed of Israel. All the laws will be re-instituted in his days as they had been aforetimes; sacrifices will be offered, and the Sabbatical years and Jubilee years will be observed fully as ordained by the Torah.
2. Anyone who does not believe in him, or whoever does not look forward to his coming, denies not only the other prophets but also the Torah and of Moses our Teacher. For the Torah attested to him, as it is said:
"then, the Lord, your God, will bring back your exiles, and He will have mercy upon you. He will once again gather you from all the nations... Even if your exiles are at the end of the heavens, the Lord, your God, will gather you from there, and He will take you from there. And the Lord, your God, will bring you... (Deuteronomy 30:3-5).
These words, explicitly stated in the Torah, include all the statements made by all the prophets.
According to Maimonides, of all the assignments attributed to the messiah, the Torah attested to one: "then, the Lord, your God, will bring back your exiles", the ingathering of the exiles of Israel, a Kibbutz Galuyot. The messiah is the ingatherer of the exiles of Israel.
Other Jewish Scholars may view this differently from Maimonides. They argue that the Torah attested to a period, not a person, the period in which the People of Israel return to their homeland, the land of Israel. The act of ingathering of the exiles of Israel in the land of Israel, a Kibbutz Galuyot, will bring about the coming of the messiah, as the hand of God is in the events of the creation of the State of Israel, obviously a different reality then Maimonides depicts, though they see the writings of Maimonides as a way of learning the importance of the role of the messiah, since the Maimonides was a scholar not a prophet, and did not live up to see the event of the establishment of the State of Israel.
Rabbi Zvi Yehuda HaCohen Kook, one of the leaders of the Religious Zionist Movement, used to quote from the Responsa book, Yeshuot Malko, of Rabbi Israel Yehosha of kutna, in conjunction with Aliyah (10:66): "There is no doubt that this is a greater Mitzvah (a commandment of the Torah), because the gathering is an Atchalta De'Geulah  ('the beginning of the redemption'), as attested, "I will yet gather others to him, together with his gathered ones" (Isaiah, 56:8), and see Yebamoth, page 64, "the Divine Presence does not rest on less than two myriads of Israelites", especially nowadays in which we have seen the great desire inasmuch as in men of lesser importance, mediocre ones, and upright in heart, it is more than likely that we would gleam with the spirit of salvation, fortunate are the "ones who" take part in "bringing merit unto the masses"
Haredi Judaism and Chabad movement takes the writings of the Maimonides literally: The messiah is assigned to mission of completing the ingathering the exiles of Israel. Until then, the Jewish community living in Israel is defined as a Diaspora of Israel, though they give their consent to the Jewish rule of Israel, and see the advantages of it.
Terms of Jewish nationality
1. Cyrus's Declaration (538 BC), Ezra 1:3
Who is among you of all His people, may his God be with him, and he may ascend [va'Yaal / Aliya] to Jerusalem, which is in Judea, and let him build the House of the Lord, God of Israel; He is the God Who is in Jerusalem.
- According to the biblical source, Cyrus the Great called upon the Jews to implement the ingathering of the exiles of Israel, a Kibbutz Galuyot, through his conquests, and not only to live there but also to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem (Beit HaMikdash) that was destroyed.
2. Napoleon, in his Proclamation to the Jews of Asia and Africa (1799), implicitly suggested rebuilding the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, which had been destroyed for the second time:
"Bonaparte has published a proclamation in which he invites all the Jews of Asia and Africa to gather under his flag in order to re-establish the ancient Jerusalem. He has already given arms to a great number, and their battalions threaten Aleppo."
- A formal statement of policy by the British government stating:
"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people..."
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The First Zionist Congress of the World Zionist Organization (WZO), assembled in Basel in August 1897 and adopted the Zionist platform, which came to be known as the Basel Program, which stipulated the following goal: "Zionism seeks to establish a homeland for the Jewish people in Eretz Israel secured by public law", namely, for the sake of The gathering of the exiles to the land of Israel, a Kibbutz Galuyot.
The intensive involvement of the Zionist Movement ever since in transporting Jewish legal and nonlegal immigrants (this second type is also known as Aliyah Bet) to the land of Israel, attests to the importance they've attributed to that goal.
Aliyah Bet (mainly known in Hebrew as HaHa'apala, ההעפלה), is the illegal entrance to the land of Israel under the British Mandate's laws, including during World War II and the Holocaust. Aliyah Bet was organized by the Yishuv (the Jewish settlement in the land of Israel before Israel's establishment as a country) from 1934 until the State of Israel began in 1948. Aliyah Bet was carried out by the Mossad Le'aliyah Bet, a branch of the Jewish Defense Association (Haganah), the para-military organization that was to become the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). During Aliyah Bet 's 14 years of activity, 115,000 Jews made Aliyah to the land of Israel.
The term Aliyah Bet is composed of the Hebrew word Aliyah, meaning Jewish Immigration (Individual or a group) to the land of Israel, and the Hebrew Letter Bet, the second letter in the Hebrew Alphabet. Its use was analogous to the English term "Plan B". Vis-a-vis, the illegal transportation of immigrants was being carried out simultaneously with the legal Jewish immigration to the land of Israel permitted by the British Mandate. The Mandate attempted to limit the number of immigration certificates in a way which contradicted the national goals of the Jewish community living there. Aliyah Bet started only modestly in the midst of the nineteen-thirties. The majority of Jewish immigrants, the Olim, arrived after World War II and the Holocaust.
Aliyah Bet or HaHa'apala, was carried out in various methods:
- Through the sea (the main method)
- Through land routes (mainly through Iraq and Syria)
- Through the air (This method was started in 1947-48 when two airplanes landed in the Lower Galilee village of Yavne'el, as part of "Operation Michaelberg"—defying the British Mandate Government objection. The first plane carried Jewish immigrants from Iraq in August–September 1947. The second flew in from south Italy.)
The State of Israel
The idea of the ingathering of the exiles of Israel in the land of Israel (a Kibbutz Galuyot) was the basis for the establishment of the State of Israel. After the Holocaust, the United Nations General Assembly, in its decision making process on United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, perceived this idea to be the reason for adopting the decision on a Jewish State. Expressions of yearning for the gathering of the exiles of Israel in the land of Israel can be found in the Prayer for the State of Israel, which was authored by Israel's Chief Rabbis during the first years of Israel's existence. Israel's bodies of authorities have expressed their opinion on this matter by passing the Law of Return, which granted every Jew the right to make Aliyah to the land of Israel.
Prayer for the State of Israel
The Prayer for the State of Israel, is a prayer that is being recited on Jewish Shabat and Jewish holidays in synagogues, by Jews living in Israel and around the world. The prayer appeals to God to bless the land of Israel, to assist its leaders, and an appeal using the words of Moses:
"Lead them, swiftly and upright, to Your city Zion and to Jerusalem, the abode of Your Name, as is written in the Torah of Your servant Moses: "Even if your outcasts are at the ends of the world, from there the Lord your God will gather you, from there He will fetch you. And the Lord your God will bring you to the land that your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will make you more prosperous and more numerous than your fathers."
Law of Return
The Law of Return (Hebrew: חוק השבות, Hok ha-shvut), a law passed in 1950 in memory of the Holocaust, allows every Jew the right to make Aliyah to the State of Israel and to receive a certificate of Aliyah, which grants the certificate holder an Israeli Citizenship immediately. This stems from Israel's identity as the Jewish State, which is connected to the idea of the gathering of Israel.
Yom HaAliyah (Aliyah Day) (Hebrew: יום העליה) is a new Israeli national holiday officially passed into law on June 21, 2016. Yom HaAliyah is to be celebrated annually on the tenth of the Hebrew month of Nisan (Hebrew: י’ ניסן). The day was established to acknowledge Aliyah, immigration to the Jewish state, as a core value of the State of Israel, and honor the ongoing contributions of Olim to Israeli society.
- Kibbutz Galuyot, Jewish Virtual Library, Glossary
- "The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel - Jewish Virtual Library". jewishvirtuallibrary.org.
- Megillat Ha'atzmaut, Jewish Virtual Library, Glossary
- Deuteronomy 30:1–5 at chabad.org
- Isaiah 11:11–12 at chabad.org
- Jeremiah 29:14 at chabad.org
- Ezekiel 20:41–42 at chabad.org
- Laws concerning kings Deuteronomy 30:3-5 Deuteronomy 30:3–5 at chabad.org
- www.yba.org.il 1430 (Hebrew language site)
- (Babylonian Talmud, order Moed, Tractate Megilah 17b)
- (Babylonian Talmud, order Nashim, Tractate Yebamoth 64a)
- (Babylon Talmud, order Moed, Tractate Yoma 97a)
www.yba.org.il 1430 (Hebrew language site)
Isaiah 56:8 at chabad.org
- Ezra 1:3 at chabad.org - (Ezra 1:3 Hebrew/English)
- Laurens, Henry, Orientales I, Autour de l'expédition d'Égypte, pp.123-143, CNRS Éd (2004), ISBN 2-271-06193-8
- "Balfour Declaration". Encyclopedia Britannica.
- "The Avalon Project : Balfour Declaration November 2, 1917".
- "First Zionist Congress & Basel Program (1897) - Jewish Virtual Library". jewishvirtuallibrary.org.
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- "UN General Assembly Resolution 181". GxMSDev.
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- YNET: Yom HaAliyah 10th of Nisan is Israel's newest holiday
- Arutz Sheva: Knesset Proposes Aliyah Holiday Bill
- The decision on Jewish State, a National home for the Gathered Jews Knesset (government website)