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Article: Mamlakhtiyut from Across the Ocean: Ben-Gurion and the American-Jewish Community

 Author: Adi Sherzer


The concept of Mamlakhtiyut, defined by Bareli and Kedar as the Israeli version of republicanism, has shaped Israeli political system and civil culture from the 1950s onward. This article examines how this inter-Israeli concept affected David Ben-Gurion’s inter-Jewish policy toward the Jews of the Diaspora during the constructive era of the first year of statehood. The discussion focuses on the journey of Ben-Gurion to the USA during the spring of 1951 and the launching of the Bonds campaign as an alternative Israeli fundraising tool. The study of the journey’s context and a deep analysis of Ben-Gurion’s speeches during the journey demonstrate the importance of the Mamlakhti approach in the setting of Israel–Diaspora relations. I argue that the Mamlakhti-republican discourse was needed by both sides to deepen the relationship during the 1950s, point its deep influence on both policy and discourse, and suggest that today too it may foster the discourse and reframe some of the fundamental subjects that divide Israel from the Diaspora.

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pp. 309–323,