Goldstein, Yossi. “Reflections on the Failure of The Lovers of Zion.” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 14.2 (2015): 229-45.
In this article, we focus on the rift between the two sociocultural groups that constituted Hibbat Zion—the maskilim and the ultra-Orthodox—and on its overall activity. It seems clear that the Jews in Russia were not ready for a movement aimed at establishing a Jewish national entity in Palestine. After 1885, many of them felt that despite anti-Semitism, their living conditions were improving and only a few among them sought to emigrate to the USA. Only a small minority saw their destination as Eretz Israel, yet it was this relatively inconsequential minority that fuelled the activity of Hibbat Zion, even though only very few of them actually believed in the possibility of settling in Palestine. Hibbat Zion and the Odessa Committee both failed to achieve the goals they set for themselves. Yet, we must acknowledge that the very existence of these Jewish national movements and the evolution of patterns of activity and the leadership they engendered paved the way for the development of a national home for the Jews in Palestine. Their members and their leadership established structures that provided a foundation for those who succeeded them: Herzl’s Zionist Organization and the state of Israel.