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1949 Theodore Herzl returns to Israel

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Uploaded on Jan 5, 2009

Theodor Herzl (Hebrew: בנימין זאב הרצל‎ (Binyamin Ze'ev Herzl)) (May 2, 1860July 3, 1904) was a Hungarian Jewish journalist who was the father of modern political Zionism. Herzl was born in Pest, the Kingdom of Hungary (today the eastern half of Budapest, then a separate city). When Theodor was 18 his family moved to Vienna, Austria-Hungary. There, he studied law, but he devoted himself almost exclusively to journalism and literature. As a young man, Herzl was engaged in a Burschenschaft association, which strove for German unity under the motto Ehre, Freiheit, Vaterland ("Honor, Freedom, Fatherland"), and his early work did not focus on Jewish life.As the Paris correspondent for Neue Freie Presse, Herzl followed the Dreyfus Affair, a notorious anti-Semitic incident in France in which a French Jewish army captain was falsely convicted of spying for Germany. He witnessed mass rallies in Paris following the Dreyfus trial where many chanted "Death to the Jews!" Herzl came to reject his early ideas regarding Jewish emancipation and assimilation, and to believe that the Jews must remove themselves from Europe and create their own state.From April, 1896, when the English translation of his Der Judenstaat (The State of the Jews) appeared, Herzl became the leading spokesman for Zionism.Herzl complemented his writing with practical work to promote Zionism on the international stage.His supporters, at first few in number, worked night and day, inspired by Herzl's example.In 1897, at considerable personal expense, he founded Die Welt of Vienna, Austria-Hungary and planned the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland. He was elected president (a position he held until his death in 1904), and in 1898 he began a series of diplomatic initiatives intended to build support for a Jewish country. In August 1903 he received an offer on the part of the British government to facilitate a large Jewish settlement, with autonomous government and under British suzerainty, in British East Africa, known as the 'Uganda Project.' Herzl did not live to see the rejection of the Uganda plan; he died in Edlach, Lower Austria in 1904 of heart failure at age 44. His will stipulated that he should have the poorest-class funeral without speeches or flowers and he added, "I wish to be buried in the vault beside my father, and to lie there till the Jewish people shall take my remains to Palestine". In 1949 his remains were moved from Vienna to be reburied on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

Herzl envisioned a Jewish state which combined both a modern Jewish culture with the best of the European heritage.He did not envision the Jewish inhabitants of the state being religious, but there is much respect for religion in the public sphere.Herzl did not foresee any conflict between Jews and Arabs. The one Arab character in Herzl's novel "Altneuland," Reshid Bey, who is one of the leaders of the "New Society", is very grateful to his Jewish neighbors for improving the economic condition of Palestine and sees no cause for conflict. All non-Jews have equal rights, and an attempt by a fanatical rabbi to disenfranchise the non-Jewish citizens of their rights fails in the election which is the center of the main political plot of the novel.

However, in his diary, Herzl wrote that land in Palestine was to be gently expropriated from the Palestinian Arabs and they were to be worked across the border "unbemerkt" (surreptitiously), e.g. by refusing them employment. Herzl's draft of a charter for a Jewish-Ottoman Land Company (JOLC) gave the JOLC the right to obtain land in Palestine by giving its owners comparable land elsewhere in the Ottoman empire. According to Walid Khalidi this indicates Herzl's "bland assumption of the transfer of the Palestinian to make way for the immigrant colonist.

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