Vol.3, No.1 | [Articles] The Italian Jewish Migration to Eretz Israel and the Birth of Italian Chalutz Movement




This article analyzes the Italian Jewish ‘aliyah [migration] to Eretz Israel [the Land of Israel] before the birth of the Israeli State in May 1948. This phenomenon only concerned a tiny minority of the Italian Jews. Between 1938 and 1940, out of the 40,000 Italian Jews living in Italy, only around 400 decided to migrate to Mandatory Palestine. At the end of the Second World War, Zionism became widely accepted, and an increase occurred in the ‘aliyah between 1945 and 1948. Yet, such a choice continued to be made only by a minority of Jews. The main reasons lay in the small number of Italian Jews, their high level of integration and assimilation before and after the Shoah, and the fact that Zionism was mainly interpreted as a philanthropic movement or a way to support Israel, rather than as an ideology leading towards ‘aliyah.

Keywords : Italy, Jews, Zionism, Eretz Israel [Land of Israel], ‘aliyah [migration]