"movement for forming (later supporting) a Jewish national state in Palestine," 1896, from German Zionismus (from Zion + Latin-derived suffix -ismus; see -ism); first recorded 1886 in "Selbstemancipation," by "Matthias Acher" (pseudonym of Nathan Birnbaum).
The belief that Jews (see also Jews) should have their own nation; Jewish nationalism. Zionism gained much support among Jews and others in the early twentieth century, and the hoped-for nation was established in the late 1940s in Palestine, as the state of Israel. Zionism is opposed by most Arabs. (SeeArab-Israeli conflict.)