Zionism, simply a political movement at its inception, has today become more of an ideology than anything else. Zionism is an international movement for the return of the Jewish people to Zion, the land of Israel, while exercising the right to retain authority of government over the state of Israel, which was promised to them in the Hebrew Scriptures. The roots for Zionism lie in Genesis chapters 12 and 15, in which God makes a covenant with Abraham promising him that his descendants would inherit the land between Egypt and the Euphrates River.
Due to the fact that Zionism was begun as a politically motivated movement, there exists among secular Gentiles and non-religious Jews a line of thought stating that the religious background of the Jewish people had nothing to do with Zionism. It is argued that Zionism was instead a reaction of the Jewish people to worldwide persecution during World Wars I and II. No nation would take them in, so they were forced to create their own nation, the land of their ancestry being the most opportune place.
Regardless, the Zionist movement, begun in the late 1890s, found fulfillment in 1948 when Israel was officially recognized as a state and granted sovereignty as a nation by the United Nations. This is when, technically, the political Zionist movement ended and the ideology of Zionism began, and as such, has become a much-debated topic. Some would say that Zionism has become a motivation for racism, or a reaction against anti-Semitism. Others believe that Zionism as it currently exists is merely Jewish patriotism.
Associated with Jewish Zionism is Christian Zionism. Christian Zionism is simply Gentile support of Jewish Zionism as based on the promises to Israel found in the Bible, passages such as Jeremiah 32 and Ezekiel 34. Christian Zionists are primarily evangelical and give support in any way possible to the Jewish state of Israel. The return of the Jews to the Promised Land is the fulfillment of prophecy and is seen, especially by dispensationalists, as a sign that the world has entered the end times.