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Hashomer Hatzair

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Hashomer Hatzair

Hashomer Hatzair  - (Hebrew - pronounced "Hah -shomehr Hah-tzah-eer"), meaning "The Young Guard"). A Marxist Zionist youth movement, founded in Europe about 1913, to prepare Jewish youth for kibbutz life in Israel. In addition to Zionism, its ideology merges Jewish culture with social activism, scouting and youth values, as well as commitment to peace with Israel's Arab neighbors and equality for Israeli Arabs. It is affiliated with the Kibbutz Artzi movement today. Hashomer Hatzair spawned the Mapam Party and the kibbutzim of the Kibbutz Artzi, and its members have been prominent in the Zionist movement, Israeli army and government. The group was founded on the ideals of the German Wanderfoegel and other scouting movements, and insists on the principle of "youth leading youth."

Hashomer Hatzair ideology evolved in the 1920s, but never totally settled. The group ultimately adopted the Marxist Socialist Zionism of Ber Borochov, and borrowed heavily from the mystical philosophic approach of Martin Buber.

Debate and reshaping of the Hashomer Hatzair ideology continues nearly a century after its foundation. An article in Ha'aretz of May 18, 2008 noted:

Hashomer Hatzair, founded in 1913, has been present at every crossroads in
Zionist and Jewish history, according to the coordinator of nests for South
America, Dario Teitelbaum. Members of the group were leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, in the establishment of Israel and in the struggle for peace and equality for minorities in Israel, he said.

In the "deep discussions," as Fuchs Bar described the conference debates,
delegates could not agree on two basic tenets - Zionism and socialism. While
Latin American graduates favored classic socialism, the European delegates
sided with democratic socialism. By last night, another round of discussions
had been called for.

"Those from Eastern Europe still carry baggage from the communist regimes in  their region," Kevin Levine, a movement member from Argentina said. "But we  believe the social democrat is part of the capitalist system and perpetuates social gaps," he said.

According to Dana Merweiss, from Argentina, the way to implement socialism
today is by education and creating communities with socialist awareness.

Levine said the movement in the past required its members to work within its
community; however, today "we say we should also work outside our community as part of the fulfillment of the principle of socialism. In Argentina we work in poor neighborhoods, Jewish and non-Jewish," he said.

In Israel, the movement is also active among the Bedouin, the Ethiopian
community and elsewhere. The group said that formerly coming to live in Israel was the highest goal of Hashomer Hatzair, and this has now changed. "Israel today needs the Diaspora no less than the Diaspora needs Israel," said Jamila Garfinkel, who came from Argentina and has moved to Kibbutz Holit.

Although Merweiss and Levine said that Israel's existence is no longer
threatened, they believed the Zionist task has not yet been fulfilled. "This
is not the country Syrkin and Borochov envisioned," Levine said, referring to
early 20th-century Zionist-Socialist leader Nachman Syrkin, and Marxist
Zionist Ber Borochov. Israel is still not at peace and social gaps are deep,"
Levine said.

Synonyms and alternate spellings:

Further Information:

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Spelling - Spelling of words in Middle-Eastern languages is often arbitrary. There may be many variants of the same name or word such as Hezbollah, Hizbolla, Hisbolla or Husayn and Hussein. There are some conventions for converting words from Semitic languages such as Arabic and Hebrew There are numerous variant renderings of the same Arabic or Hebrew words, such as "Hizbollah," "Hisbulla" etc. It is not possible to find exact equivalents for several letters. 

Pronunciation - Arabic and Hebrew vowels are pronounced differently than in English. "o" is very short. The "a" is usually pronounced like the "a" in market, sometimes as the "a" in "Arafat."  The " 'A " is guttural.  " 'H "- the 'het ('Hirbeh, 'Hebron, 'Hisbollah') designates a sound somewhat similar to the ch in "loch" in Scots pronunciation, but made by touching the back of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. The CH should be pronounced like Loch, a more assertive consonant than 'het.

The "Gh" combination, and sometimes the "G," designate a deep guttural sound that Westerners may hear approximately as "r." The "r" sound is always formed with the back of the tongue, and is not like the English "r."

More information: Hebrew, Arabic

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Hashomer Hatzair