Theodor Herzl (1860-1904). Father of Israel. Founder of Zionism.
“If you will it, it is not a dream, and if you do not will it, a dream it is and dream it will stay.
The Jews who will it shall achieve their State. We shall live at last as free men on our own soil, and in our own homes peacefully die. The world will be liberated by our freedom, enriched by our wealth, and magnified by our greatness.
Perhaps in five years, certainly in fifty, everyone will know it.”
Herzl had a very different vision for Jews. Instead of passively waiting for God to save them, he said they should work and save themselves. The Jews tried for 100 years in France and Spain to assimilate with no success.
The Dreyfuss affair in France where a prominent Jew was falsely accused underscored the problem of the “Jewish Question”
The 1903 pogrom in Bulgaria, on Easter morning, gave power to the thought of becoming active rather than passive in their own destiny. Zionism became a new force that led to the creation of Israel in 1947, 49 years after Herzl said they would achieve their State.
A poem written about the 1903 pogrom entitled The City of Slaughter by Haim Nahman Bialik was widely read and give momentum to the newly formed Zionism movement
For Herzl, Judaism is a national identity, not a religion. It is based on self will and work, not passively accepting life as it comes.
Thousands of young people moved to Israel in the early 1900. They formed collective farms and worked to build Zion. They later become the leaders when Israel is declared a country in 1947. The youth are now in their 50’s and 60. They are the Ben Gurion’s and others who grew up under the secular teachings of Herzl.
In December 1949 the Government celebrated Hanukah by dedicating the site where the bones of Herzl had been placed. The site where Herzl is now buried is viewed as a holy site that is not a religious site, more like a secular temple.
The Feast of Dedication referred to in John 10, is a feast to pay tribute for the Maccabees who fought against the Greeks and rededicated the Second Temple. The dedication of the grave site of Herzl pays tribute to those who put forth the effort, like the Maccabees, to create Israel.
The basic difference between the two prevailing thoughts among Jews is illustrated in the two variations of popular songs sung by children in school. Parents can choose which songs their children sing.
In 1995 Prime minister Rabbine was assassinated by a religious Jew who felt that the prime minister was too willing to compromise with Palestine.
The division between the government parties was cleverly summarized by the newspaper several years ago. It placed the parties on an x-y scale according to their preference for peace vs. security (X axis) and their preference for religion vs. secular (Y axis). The Labor party, as you can see, is in the lower left quadrant.
No single party can rule. A coalition is required and Netanyahu and his Labor party are, at the moment, trying to get enough parties to join them to gain a majority. Avigdor Lieberman is a member of the Yisrael Beiteinu party and it is shown on the graph to the right. It is the third largest party of the Knesset.
The following short video is a good summary of Theordor Herzl who is revered as the father of modern Israel.