The Gathering of Israel (Hebrew: קיבוץ גלויות Kibbutz Galuyot, lit. Ingathering of the Exiles, also known as Ingathering of [the] Diasporas) is the promise given by Moses, in the Hebrew Bible, to the People of Israel before his death, prior to their entrance to Eretz Israel (The Land of Israel). He envisions that the People of Israel will sin in their homeland and will be exiled from it, but also foresees their return to their homeland, and tells them, as the leader of the people of Israel during the Exodus from Egypt, that they will even have it better than their forefathers over there. During the days of the Babylonian exile, the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel encouraged the People of Israel by a promise of a future Ingathering of the Exiles of Israel in the Land of Israel (a Kibbutz Galuyot) that will occur. The lasting desire for ingathering of the exiles of Israel in the Land of Israel was harbored incessantly by Jews ever since the destruction of the Second Temple. The Maimonides foresees its materialization concurrently with the coming of the Messiah.

The Ingathering of the Exiles of Israel in the Land of Israel, a Kibbutz Galuyot, became the core idea of the Zionist Movement [1] and the core idea of Israel's Scroll of Independence [2] (Megilat Ha'atzmaut [3]), embodied by the idea of Aliyah, the definition of all the immigrations of Jews to the Land and the State of Israel (Individual or a group), and is attributed especially to a "mass" wave of Aliyah for being synonymous with the Exodus from Egypt.

Moses' Promise

In the latter parts of the Book of Deuteronomy, when Moses is about to depart from the People of Israel he prophesies about the destiny of the People of Israel. Their destiny will not be promising, curses would come upon People of Israel and they will go into exile, but later on they will return to their homeland and their situation will be as good as it has been in the past, and so said Moses:

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In the process of the Gathering of the Exiles of Israel Moses emphasizes the followings points:

  1. Following conditions attached to: "and you will return to the Lord, your God."
  2. The exiles "at the end of the heavens" will also return.
  3. 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."

The Prophets' Promise

The Prophets prophesizing after the destruction of the First Temple, Solomon's Temple, had encouraged the Babylonian exiles by reiterating the words of Moses.

In chapter 11 the Prophet Isaiah says: Template:Epigraph Template:Epigraph

In chapter 29 the Prophet Jeremiah says: Template:Epigraph

In chapter 20 the Prophet Ezekiel, having already living in exile, says: Template:Epigraph Template:Epigraph

The Blessing of Kibbutz Galuyot

The Jewish rabbinical sages, Chazal, authored a special blessing, the "Kibbutz Galuyot Blessing", within the Shmona Esre prayer, one of prayers in the Amidah prayer, the central prayer of the Jewish liturgy, the Sidur. It is one of the thirteen blessing of appeal in the Shmona Esre prayer, and the earliest wherein an appeal is made that concerns subjects relating to Jewish Nationality and restoring the existence of the Hebrew nation as an Independent Nation, along with Birkat HaDin ("Blessing of Justice"), Bo'ne Yerushalayim ("Builder of Jerusalem"), and Birkat David ("Blessing of David").

Maimonides and other Jewish Scholars

In Law of Kings, Maimonides writes: Template:Epigraph Template:Epigraph Template:Epigraph Template:Epigraph

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. [1]

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 [4] ('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",[5] especially now days 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" [6] [2] [3]

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 [4][5]

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 of a Jewish State (1799), likewise offered a Kibbutz Galuyot, the Ingathering of the Exiles of Israel into the Land of Israel, as well as implicitly suggesting the rebuilding the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, which has been destroyed for the second time:

"it offers to you at this very time, and contrary to all expectations, Israel's patrimony !... and the unlimited natural right to worship Jehovah in accordance with your faith, publicly and most probably forever (Joel 4, 20)". [6]

The French scholar Henry Laurens holds that the proclamation never took place and that the document supposedly proving its existence is a forgery.[7]

3. Balfour Declaration of 1917:

A formal statement of policy by the British government stating [7]:

"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people…"[8] [9]

The Zionist Vision

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, stipulating the following goal:" Zionism seeks to establish a homeland for the Jewish people in Eretz Israel secured by public law [10]", namely, for the sake of The Ingathering of the Exiles of Israel to the Land of Israel, a Kibbutz Galuyot.

The intensive involvement of the Zionist Movement ever since in transporting Jewish legal and non legal immigrants (this second type is also known as Aliyah Bet) to Land of Israel, attests to the importance they 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 The Holocaust, which was organized by the Yishuv, (lit."The Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel", before the establishment of the State of Israel), from 1934 to 1948, when the State of Israel was established. 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 Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the Israeli Army, after the establishment of the Jewish State of Israel. During its 14 year of activity, 115,000 Jews made Aliya to the Land of Israel.

The term Aliyah Bet is composed of the Hebrew word Aliya, meaning an Immigration of Jews (Individual or a group) to the Land of Israel, and the Hebrew Letter Bet, the second letter in the Hebrew Alphabet, was used in a similar way of the English term "Plan B", namely, it was attributed to the illegal transportation of immigrants, which had been carried out simultaneously with the Legal Jewish Immigration to the Land of Israel (through "Immigration certificate") permitted by the British Mandatory government, which attempted to limit the numbers of such immigration, in a way which contradicted the national goals of the Jewish Community living there. The operations of Aliya Bet started moderately already in the midst of the nineteen thirties. However, the Majority of the Jewish Immigrants, the Olim, arrived after World War II and the Holocaust.

Aliyah Bet or HaHa'apala, was carried out in various methods:

  1. Through the sea (the main method)
  2. Through land routes (mainly through Iraq and Syria)
  3. Through the air (This method was started towards 1948 when two planes were landed in the Lower Galilee village of Yavne'el, as part of the "Operation Michaelberg", defying the British Mandate Government objection. It carried Jewish immigrants from Iraq. Another plane flew in from south Italy [11]).

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 [12]. 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 state 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." [13]

The Law of Return

File:Law of Return Passport.jpg

The Law of Return (Hebrew: חוק השבות, Hok ha-shvut), a law passed in 1950 in memory of 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.


  1. Kibbutz Galuyot, Jewish Virtual Library, Glossary
  2. The Declaration Of The Establishment Of The State Of Israel, Jewish Virtual Library, content of Israel's Declaration of Independence
  3. Megillat Ha'atzmaut, Jewish Virtual Library, Glossary
  4. (Babylonian Talmud, order Moed, Tractate Megilah 17b)
  5. (Babylonian Talmud, order Nashim, Tractate Yebamoth 64a)
  6. (Babylon Talmud, order Moed, Tractate Yoma 97a)
  7. Laurens, Henry, Orientales I, Autour de l'expédition d'Égypte, pp.123-143, CNRS Éd (2004), ISBN 2-271-06193-8

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