Benjamin Netanyahu with special message for Magazine readers

Herzl is our modern Moses. To his people in bondage, he offered freedom and salvation. He foresaw the destruction of European Jewry and called for a Jewish state as a safe haven.

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September 1, 2019 10:52
2 minute read.
Benjamin Netanyahu with special message for Magazine readers

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Herzl is our modern Moses. To his people in bondage, he offered freedom and salvation. He foresaw the destruction of European Jewry and called for a Jewish state as a safe haven and as a means for national and personal redemption.

He envisioned a modern technological state proud of its past and able to secure its future with science and free enterprise. It would be able to defend itself by itself, with its own Jewish army. It would be respected by the nations of the world as a beacon of progress.

In large measure, we have surpassed Herzl’s vision.

We have transformed Israel’s economy from its socialist roots – which Herzl disdained – into a free-market economy that unleashed the genius of our people, precisely as Herzl prophesied. We have turned Israel into a rising global power.

Our citizens, Jews and Arabs alike, enjoy the freedoms denied elsewhere in our region and a level of prosperity that now exceeds Japan’s. Our military and intelligence prowess is universally respected.

The nations of the world seek our cooperation, including many Arab states that view Israel as an important ally in the battle against Iran and the other forces of militant Islam.

We are not without our blemishes, but which country isn’t? And despite the lingering efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state, many understand that no other democracy can claim achievements equal to ours in the face of constant challenges to our security and our very existence.

If the Jewish leadership failed Herzl, it was in failing to identify in time the threat of virulent antisemitism, which he warned against. If, following World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Zionist leadership had forcefully pressed for a Jewish state, millions of our people would have been saved and Israel’s population would today number perhaps 20 million.
Still, what we have achieved is a remarkable testament to the life force within our people that Herzl successfully mobilized.
In his last book, Stefan Zweig movingly describes his extraordinary meetings with Herzl in Vienna, and the terrible grief that seized the multitudes of Jews when he died: The prophet was no more, and with him died his great vision. Like Moses, Herzl would not live to see the Jewish people take root in the Promised Land. But Herzl’s vision lived on, 50 years after its promulgation; the hope of generations was realized.

May we continue to be worthy of his greatness and of his unbounded faith in us.


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