(photo credit: SHMUEL BAR-AM)
Theodor Herzl, the father of modern Zionism, heard that Kaiser Wilhelm II
planned to visit Jerusalem in 1898 to inaugurate the Church of the Redeemer.
True, the kaiser, emperor of Germany and king of Prussia, wasn’t in the least
interested in creating a home for the Jews in the Land of Israel, but Herzl
hoped that if they met on the soil of the Holy Land he might be able to win him
over.Herzl docked at Jaffa port on October 28 and traveled by train to
Jerusalem. Although a carriage was sent to bring him from the train station to
his hotel, Herzl decided to walk – as it was Friday and Shabbat had already
begun. (According to another source, there were so many people waiting for the
emperor to arrive the next day that there wasn’t a carriage to be had.) Already
ill when he landed, his fever rose as he made the trek from the station to his
overnight lodgings at the Kaminitz Hotel.
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