, Research Paper
Anu banu artzah livnot ul hilbanotbah! -We have come to the land to build and be rebuilt in it! This quote reflects many of Theodore Herzl s beliefs and hopes for the Jewish people and Israel as a state for the Jewish people to call their own. There is no other place in the world where the Jews share both an emotional and historical connection with the land. Theodore Herzl was the father of Zionism; he became a Zionist during the Dreyfus Affair, founded the World Zionist Organization (WZO), and is to be thanked for the ideas he placed in the minds of thousands of people worldwide. Even after his death, his concepts continued to influence the lives of many.
Herzl was an unusual and loyal man with a charisatic appeal. His struggle to create a political organization that would push the Zionist choice and unite all its supporters was extremely successful. By 1897, the first Zionest Congress was held in Basel, Switzerland, and delegates from every majoy Jewish community in the world met there. It was in Basel that the WZO was founded and that Zionism was given an institution to foster its ideology.
It was the Dreyfus Affair in 1894 that made Herzl realize that he was a Zionist. The case consisted of the false arrest of a Jew, Dreyfus, in France. It was a defence of the Enlightenment, provoked anti-Semetic reactions and a sour reminder to Jews all over that the anti-Semetic problem had not been taken care of it only submerged. Herzl was a newspaper correspondant covering the case until it was decided to hold them in private. In a quote, Herzl told that he would never be able to forget the horror that he witnessed in the trials. The accused entered the hall in the artllery uniform,
And the furious roar of the crowds gathered in the street before Ecole Militaire still rings unforgettably in my ears: Mort, mort les juifs! Death to all Jews, because this one is a traitor! But was he really a traitor?
What may have shocked Herzl the most, however, is that this was happening in republican, modern, civilized France, a short only one hundred years after the Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed in France. Through thhis, Herzl basically concluded that Jews had no was out of the terrorism and anti-Semitism other than to settle in their own country.
Herzl started two things around the time of the Dreyfus Affair. First Herzl wrote a play called Das Neue Ghetto (The New Ghetto) in about two and a half weeks. The hero of the play died in a duel which is supposed to remind the audience of Herzl s idea in 1891 to fight a duel with one of the outstanding anti-Semites of Vienna. In the midst of Herzl s playwriting the Dreyfus Affair began. The impact of the trial and the degradation of the mob s cries made Herzl lose the optimism he felt in 1892 regarding the future of anti-Semitism in France. His faith that the solution of the Jewish Problem was expected by the gradual development of humanity towards tolerance.
The Dreyfus Affair also made Herzl realize the need to share his ideas on the Jewish Problem with the world. The idea of a Jewish state had the power to motivate Jews, it was just a matter of showing how the dream could become a reality. Realizing this, Herzl compiled his ideas and published them in a booklet called Der Juderstaat (The Jewish State). The booklet came out in 1896 and examined the status of the Jewish people in their national life with the establishment of their own territory. One of the main points in his booklet is that the Jews could not just move west, but that the political action could very well lead to a Jewish state. While composing The Jewish State, Herzl s friends worried about his health and mental status, Herzl himself even began to worry about his mental condition. It got to the point that Herzl was ready to quit. He even wrote a letter to Baron de Hirsch stating that he was giving it all up. Luckily, this mood disappeared and shortly after the booklet was complete. Many of his friends strongly discouraged the booklet s publication fearing that it would be detrimental to the Jewish Cause. Herzl ignored all the pressure that was being placed on him and continued with the process of publication.