I am writing these words on November 29, the day the UN voted in favor of Resolution 181 that gave birth to the modern manifestation of the Jewish state. On this day 74 years ago was realized the vision of Benjamin Zeev Herzl laid down in the first Zionist congress at Basel, Switzerland in 1897. Following this congress that took place 50 years before the Jewish state became a reality, Herzl uttered his famous words, “At Basel I founded the Jewish State. If I said this out loud today, l would be greeted by universal laughter. In five years perhaps, and certainly in fifty years, everyone will perceive it.”
For reasons that we won’t go into here, Herzl is best known as an assimilated Jew who regained his Jewish identity following the Dreyfuss Affair that began a mere four years before the Basel congress. But from his diaries and speeches it is clear that he grew up as a Jew who from childhood was influenced by his grandfather Simon Loeb Herzl, the Gabbai (collector of dues) of Semlin (Belgrade) synagogue, who...
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