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Gush Emunim

Gush Emunim (Hebrew: "Block of the faithful") is a religious/political movement in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. The movement sprang out of the conquests of the Six-Day War in 1967, though it was not formally established as an organization until 1974, in the wake of the Yom Kippur War. It encourages Jewish settlement of land they believe God has alloted for Jews in order to bring closer the coming of the messiah. Gush Emunim is closely associated with and highly influential in the National Religious Party[?] (NRP), a relatively small Israeli political party.

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History

In 1968, a group of future Gush members began a squat in the middle of the West Bank town of Hebron. This squat, illegal under both international and Israeli law, was initially opposed by the Israeli government. However, it was eventually transformed into the settlement Kiryat Arba[?] on the outskirts of Hebron. In 1974, following the shock of the Yom Kippur War, the organization was founded more formally, by students of the younger Rabbi Kook, who remained it's leader until his death in 1981.

Gush activists commenced a series of campaigns, including mass protests and dramatic, high-profile attempts at avoiding the Israeli occupation forces' roadblocks to establish settlements. These campaigns eventually succeeded in establishing a settlement in Sebastia.

Though initially opposed by Yitzhak Rabin's Labor Party[?] government, the settlement was accepted de facto. It was later legalized by the Menachem Begin's Likud government, in 1977. However, Gush has come into conflict with Likud over other matters, including Ariel Sharon's alliance with non-Jews (the Christian Falangists[?]) in the Lebanon War.

Ideology

Gush Emunim beliefs are based heavily on the teachings of Rabbi Abraham Kook and his son, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook[?]. The two rabbis taught that secular Zionists, through their conquests of Eretz Israel, had unwittingly brought about the beginning of the messianic age, which would end in the coming of the messiah and the recognition of Jewish superiority by all peoples. Gush Emunim supporters believe that the coming of the messiah can be hastened through Jewish settlement on land they believe God has alloted for Jews. Although focused on the West Bank, some believers' conceptions of Eretz Israel include land in present-day Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.

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