Theodor Herzl on board a vessel reaching the shores of Palestine, 1898..
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
On February 14, 1899, Zionist leader Theodore Herzl published his work “Der Judenstaat,” (The Jewish State). The pamphlet, which Herzl wrote in two months, is his vision of what a future Jewish state will look like. In the work, the Austrian journalist describes every aspect of life in the new state, including how may hours the average citizen will work each day.
The main objective of the pamphlet was to deal with the issue of the “Jewish problem” and how to avoid the anti-Semitism of Europe, even giving the work the subtitle “Proposal of a modern solution for the Jewish question.” Herzl proposes that all Jews begin purchasing land in what was then Ottoman-ruled Palestine. The visionary of the state, however, is also open to founding a state in Argentina.
“Shall we choose Palestine or Argentina?” Herzl asks. Ultimately, though, the Jewish People and their representatives want to hear nothing of a state outside of Israel – the land of the Bible, of the Prophets and the Redemption.
Herzl also writes that it is important to be patient. “Now, all this may appear to be an interminably long affair. Even in the most favorable circumstances, many years might elapse before the commencement of the foundation of the State.” But if this plan is not fulfilled and the Jewish People don’t work in earnest in order to see it become a reality, Jews in a thousand different places will continue to suffer insults, mortification, abuse, blows, depredation and death, he says.
“No; if we only begin to carry out the plans, anti-Semitism would stop at once and for ever. For it is the conclusion of peace,” he writes.
The glory of those who fight unselfishly for the cause, says Herzl, will be immense. “Therefore I believe that a wondrous generation of Jews will spring into existence. The Maccabeans will rise again. “Let me repeat once more my opening words: The Jews who wish for a State will have it. We shall live at last as free men on our own soil, and die peacefully in our own homes.” And at last, we are here. Thanks to God and the work of his messengers, the Jewish People have returned to their land - the Holy Land, Erez Israel.
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