Herzl Museum tour relives Zionist history

Tour covers Dreyfus trial, the First Zionist Congress and publication of The Jewish State.

herzl 298.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
herzl 298.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The scene unfolds in turn-of-the-century France with a young Viennese journalist covering the Dreyfus trial against a backdrop of anti-Semitic cries. The camera then shifts to a modern-day rendition of the First Zionist Congress convened by Theodor Herzl in Switzerland in 1897 following the publication of his polemic tract The Jewish State. Listen in on a reproduction of Herzl's negotiations with the Turkish sultan in Constantinople and Lord Chamberlain in London, as well as his historic visit to the Land of Israel for an audience with the German Kaiser. Next, sit beside lifelike wax figures in a virtual reenactment of the heated debate over the Uganda proposal that Herzl presented to the Sixth Zionist Congress, following his mounting frustration with world leaders over their refusal to help the Jews of Europe as they suffered increasingly frequent outbreaks of violence. Finally, walk past Herzl's original study where he penned reflections of his exhausting cross-continent travels. The 60-minute state-of-the-art audiovisual tour at Jerusalem's Herzl Museum offers a crash course in Zionist history. It attempts to encapsulate the life of the Zionist visionary through a contemporary portrayal of his ambitions, challenges and disappointments. "If Yad Vashem is the center for Holocaust study, we aim to be the center for the study of Zionism," said museum director Dr. Motti Friedman. The ultra-modern $3 million museum and educational center opened its doors last summer on the edge of the capital's Mount Herzl Military Cemetery - where Herzl's remains were reburied in 1949. The museum is run by the World Zionist Organization and was established with the help of a major foreign donation by the Jerusalem Foundation and with the support of Keren Kayemet (Jewish National Fund), the Ministry of Education and the Otzar Hityashvut Hayehudim B.M. The museum is open Sunday-Thursday from 9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and Fridays between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m, with entrance guaranteed by reservation only (02) 643-3266, due in part to the need to separate groups by language. The admission fee is NIS 20 for adults and NIS 15 for children over six, soldiers, students, seniors and groups. The video presentation at the museum is currently available in English, Hebrew and German, and by the end of May will also be in Spanish, French and Russian.