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AHAD HA-AM (Asher Ginzberg)

(1856-1927).One of the foremost thinkers and essayists in Hebrew literature. Writing under the pseudonym Ahad Ha-Am, meaning “one of the people,” he taught cultural or “spiritual Zionism.” As “political Zionism” emerged under Herzl, Ahad Ha-Am argued in such essays as Lo Zeh ha-derekh (This Is Not the Way) that Israel must first become a spiritual and cultural center before it could develop into a viable Jewish state. His essays, collectively published as Al Parashat Derakhim(At the Crossroads) roused the Jewish public and stand as a landmark of Hebrew literature. His forceful, moral personality greatly influenced Zionism. Before World War I, Ahad Ha-am lived in England, where he played an important role in the events leading to the Balfour Declaration. At 66, he settled in Palestine, on a Tel Aviv street named in his honor.

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