In 1913 Yitshak Elazari-Vulkani (Yitshak Vilkansky 1880-1955), one of the foremost figures in the development of Jewish agricultural settlement in Palestine, published an article entitled ‘The National Theology’ in the Ha-poel ha’tsair journal.1 This was a critical response to various articles addressing the question of Judaism, and in particular to Ahad Ha’am’s article Al shetei ha-se’ipim (At the Crossroads). The surprising aspect of the article is the familiar content of its main thread. Zionism, Elazari-Vulkani energetically contends, must resolve the problem of the Jews and the Jewish problem in a secular manner, as two facets of a single issue. Religion had in the past preserved the existence of the Jewish people, but had now played out its role. From this point onward Judaism would continue to exist only as a secular culture comprising nationalist components. Anyone who at this time remained attached to a ‘theological’ existence was preserving an anomalous and derisory ‘national theology.’ The author of the article countered this anomaly with a formalistic perception: one must devote oneself to immigration, settlement, Jewish labor and to the Hebrew language. Secular cultural would become the essential and automatic product of a transformation from one form of Jewish life to another.2