Knesset marks Herzl day

Olmert: "Leaders must adhere to his vision to ensure a Jewish majority."

Theodor Herzl 88 (photo credit: )
Theodor Herzl 88
(photo credit: )
In a special Knesset session Monday in honor of Theodor Herzl, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed to ensure a Jewish majority in Israel. "We must ensure that there is a strong Jewish majority, otherwise the term 'Jewish State' becomes devoid of meaning," said Olmert. "The leadership of Israel must adhere to Herzl's vision to ensure a Jewish majority in the country." Olmert told the Knesset that Herzl day was dedicated to the legacy of Herzl, who realized that a Jewish state was the only hope for Judaism's survival.
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"He didn't invent Zionism, but he turned that dream in a political destination, and the dreamers into a national movement," said Olmert. "We must live here as a united nation. That was Herzl's vision." Speaking after Olmert, Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu corrected the prime minister and called Herzl, "a visionary, not a dreamer." "We must unite where we can unite and dedicate ourselves to stand strongly in the face of danger," said Netanyahu. "We must be Herzl's students." Considered the founder of modern Zionism, Theodor (Binyamin Ze'ev Herzl) was born in Budapest in 1860. Following an early career in journalism, the publication of his Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State) in April 1896 turned Herzl's attention to Zionism. Herzl worked to find territory for the Jews until his death on July 3, 1904.