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ZANGWILL, ISRAEL (1864-1926).

Writer, satirist, and founder of the Jewish Territorialist Organization. He was born and raised in London‘s East End, amid the struggles of the East European Jewish immigrants to adjust to new surroundings. He understood the ghetto folk and saw their sorrow when the children left their parents’ way of life for the new ways of modern London. In his Children of the Ghetto (1892), he brought these people to life with realism, sympathy, and humor. His journalistic essays were cruelly witty; his non-Jewish novels brought him passing success. Children of the Ghetto was Zangwill’s first claim on lasting fame, followed closely by the King of Schnorrers and Dreamers of the Ghetto.

Theodor Herzl won Zangwill over to Zionism in 1895, and for a number of years he worked actively for the cause. When the Zionist movement rejected Uganda in British East Africa as a “temporary asylum” for the persecuted Jews of Russia, Zangwill left the Zionist organization. He wanted to rind a land in which the Jews could settle immediately and have their own state. For this purpose he founded the Jewish Territorialist Organization (JTO), which searched for a Jewish homeland in other countries, from Africa to Australia. After the Balfour Declaration, which promised “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,” Zangwill returned to the Zionist fold and worked for Zionism until the end of his life.

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