Theodor Herzl (1860 - 1904) Zionist

Theodor Herzl is the founder of modern Zionism and the World Zionist Organisation. He was born as Benjamin Zev Herzl on May 2, 1860, in Hungary and spent all his adult life engaged in the fight to establish a national home for the Jewish people.

He published a famous booklet called The Jewish State in 1896 and was the arranger of a number of Zionist Congresses. Although others had suggested solutions to anti-Semitism, Herzl was the first to call for instant political battle. Jewish reaction to his plan was mixed. Many Jews rejected it as too radical, although there were those who responded with passion and asked him to lead what was to become the Zionist movement.

The sixth Zionist Congress, the last one before he died, was held in Basel (Switzerland). Here it was decided that only Palestine could ever be accepted as the Jewish homeland (the other options included Uganda). "In Basel habe ich den J├╝denstaat gegrundet", Herzl wrote in his diary: "In Basel, I founded the Jewish State". He passed away in 1904 before his dream could develop into reality. In 1949 his remains were moved to a mountain in western Jerusalem, which was renamed to Mount Herzl and is today a large military cemetery.

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