Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov- The First Religious Zionists

Last week's Parsha ended with the words: "These are the chiefs of Edom according to their places of residence in the land of their possession. Thus was Esav the ancestor of the Edomites."

This week's Parsha, Parshat Vayeshev (Breisheet 37:1) starts with the words "Yaakov settled in the land of his father's residence, in the land of C'naan."

Ramban points out that the children of Esav dwelt in the land of Edom which they took for themselves as a possession forever. Yaakov, however, dwelt as his father had as a stranger in a land which was not their own but which at the time belonged to the C'naanim. Yitzchak and Yaakov elected to live in the Chosen Land, the land of Israel. God's words to Avraham (Breisheet 15:13) "Your seed will be a stranger in a land that is not theirs" were fulfilled in Yitzchak and Yaakov, but not in Esav.

Rashbam comments that Yaakov lived in the land of Israel because that was the fulfillment of his birthright.

Chizkuni adds that God's word endures forever. God promised Avraham (Breisheet 17:8) "I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your temporary residence, all of the land of C'naan as an eternal possession and I will be their God". That promise was passed down to Yitzchak and Yaakov.

According to Ramban, we too are commanded to continue the chain and take possession of the land of Israel and hold onto it.

Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda HaCohen Kook's point of view is that "the establishment of Jewish sovereignty over the land of Israel is a fundamental precept of the Torah. To ensure that the land does not remain desolate, we must actively promote the development and settlement of the land, in every sphere possible."