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Reflecting on Zionism

Theodor Herzl (Photo: GPO)

It has been 120 years since Theodor Herzl, considered the father of the modern state of Israel, convened the First Zionist Congress. Today, Professor Ariel Feldstein writes at Israel Hayom, we can see the realization of Herzl's dream, but still have much work left to do for the future of Zionism and the Jewish state:

In June 1895, Theodor Herzl began obsessively searching for a solution to the so-called "Jewish problem," which refers to both the phenomenon of anti-Semitism and the place of Jews in European society. Once the idea emerged from the abyss of his soul and the depths of his mind, Herzl put his ideas and thoughts on paper. The acknowledgement that he had found a solution to the Jewish problem caused him to fear that he may have lost his reason, but on the other hand it spurred him to outline a political agenda on three fronts: recruiting support from European powers, recruiting wealthy Jews and collaborating with Hovevei Zion -- a variety of groups that responded to anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire by promoting Jewish settlement in the land of Israel -- to establish a national Jewish movement with an organizational and financial structure.

Herzl was able to turn the Jewish problem from a sideline issue to one at the forefront of world politics. Up to that point, no Jew who started off completely anonymous could expect to secure meetings with wealthy Jews, the heads of the Jewish communities, the German Kaiser, the Ottoman sultan, heads of state and foreign ministers, the pope and other political figures, in less than two years.

He utilized his abilities as a dramatist and his experience as a journalist to present his plan in a way that stirred excitement, relevance and willingness to help in the hearts of those who heard his message, both Jews and non-Jews alike. In this manner he managed to place the Jewish problem on the map of international politics and bring its solution to the stage of world history...

Tags: History

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