BENJAMIN ZEEV (THEODOR) HERZL
|Writer and Statesman Founder of national Zionism and the World Zionist Organization, which elevated the Jewish problem to an international political subject of primary importance. His name and lifework, the political resurrection of the Jewish people, are engraved in the national consciousness and clothed in grandeur and legend.
Theodor Herzl was born in Budapest in 1860. From an early age he was aware of the Jewish problem, antisemitism and the persecution of Jews, but it was the Dreyfus case that awakened in him national Jewish feeling and brought him to the conclusion that the Jewish problem could only be solved by political means. The concept of emergence from the Diaspora and return to Zion found expression in his book "The Jewish State", which was written in 1896. Herzl appealed to wealthy Jews such as Baron Hitsch and Baron Rothschild, to join the national Zionist movement, but in vain. He then appealed to the people, and the result was the convening of the First Zionist Congress in Basel where the World Zionist Organization was established and the Basel Plan was formulated. Herzl convened six Zionist congresses between 1897 and 1902. It was here that the tools for Zionist activism were forged. Otzar Hityashvut Hayedhudim; the Jewish National Fund; the movement's newspaper die Weldtand more.
In his book "The Jewish State" Herzl wrote:
"The Jewish question exists wherever Jews live... where it does not exist, it is carried by Jews in the course of their migration. We naturally move to those places where we are not persecuted and there our presence produces persecution. This is the case in every country. The unfortunate Jews are now carrying the seeds of antisemitism into England; they have already introduced it into America."