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Founder of modern political Zionism. Born in Budapest to an affluent intellectual Jewish family, he was educated at the University of Vienna, admitted to the bar in 1884, and shortly afterward turned to writing. He became a journalist and playwright, particularly famous for his feuilletons, a special type of literary column. In 1891, Herzl became the Paris correspondent of the Neue Freie Presse, the leading liberal newspaper of that day. All his life, he had faced the antisemitism of fellow students and professors. At first he advocated assimilation. But later in Paris he tried to counteract this hatred by writing a play on antisemitism, The New Ghetto. But then the Dreyfus Case occurred, shocking Herzl and changing the whole course of his life. As a newspaper correspondent, Herzl attended the trial and discovered that it was not Dreyfus the army captain, but Dreyfus the Jew who was on trial. Deeply shaken, Herzl took action. He proposed a solution to the problem of antisemitism: the creation of a Jewish State. He started to write down his ideas as he tried to put them into action. While writing Judenstaat (The Jewish State), he began to search for financial support and leadership. Herzl first approached the philanthropist Baron Maurice de Hirsch who dismissed the idea as “fantastic.” Herzl then wrote to Albert Rothschild of Vienna and got no reply at all. The paper he reported for, the Neue Freie Presse, refused to print any articles about a Jewish state. In 1895, it looked as though Herzl’s ideas would never take hold, but then Max Nordau, the Paris physician who was famous as a writer and social philosopher, encouraged him to continue with his cause.

In 1896, Herzl’s Judenstaat was published. Popular response grew, and in January 1897, Herzl issued a call for a Zionist congress. The first Zionist Congress met in Basle, Switzerland, on August 27, 1897. The congress was attended by 204 delegates from 17 countries. Herzl, a magnetic figure, stood before them and declared that “Zionism was the Jewish people on the march.” He reported his efforts to get European nations’ approval and assistance for the formation of a Jewish state in Palestine by obtaining a “charter” from Turkey. He won over the Duke of Baden, uncle of Kaiser Wilhelm II. He went to Constantinople and negotiated with important Turkish ministers, and he was received by King Ferdinand of Bulgaria. In London, he won over the Jewish masses and interested the writer Israel Zangwill. Finally, to provide a forum which would serve as the voice of Zionism, he founded with his own funds the journal Die Welt. During three days of deliberation, the first Zionist Congress created the World Zionist Organization and formulated the Basle Program, stating that “Zionism aims to create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by public law.” For this purpose the Congress decided to obtain the necessary backing of various governments as a legal foundation for the Jewish homeland. Herzl was elected president of the World Zionist Organization. The next, and last, seven years of his life were years of feverish work. At the next five Zionist Congresses (1898-1903), over which he presided, the policies and institutions of the movement were hammered out. The Jewish Colonial Trust (the Zionist banking arm) and the Jewish National Fund (its land purchasing agency) were established. Herzl conducted diplomatic negotiations and was received by the German Kaiser Wilhelm II, by Sultan Abdul Hamid of Turkey, and by British statesmen. In the midst of it all, he wrote the novel Altneuland, a Utopian vision of the Zionist state. To obtain a promise of diplomatic support in Turkey, Herzl traveled to Russia where he was received by two key members of the Government, Minister of the Interior Vyacheslav von Plehve and Finance Minister Sergei Witte. Traveling through Russia, Herzl saw the dreadful suffering of Russian Jews, who were subjected to periodic pogroms. He was so deeply affected that he decided to accept the British offer of Uganda in East Africa as a temporary asylum for Russian Jewry. In August 1903, Herzl presided over a Zionist Congress for the last time. This time 592 delegates attended, and the democratic temper was clearly demonstrated. The Uganda project was rejected after painful sessions. The delegates wanted the Land of Israel or nothing, and the Zionist movement seemed badly split. Herzl continued working for a “charter” for Palestine. In January 1904, he was received by King of Italy Victor Emmanuel III, who responded favorably. Pope Pius X, however, gave Herzl a clear “no.” In April 1904, Herzl met with Zionist executives and made every effort to unify the movement. Worn out, his heart failing, he attended some of the sessions with an ice pack under his frock coat. On July 3, 1904, he died, but the work he had begun carried on. Fifty years after the first Zionist Congress, the State of Israel was proclaimed on May 14, 1948. Over a year later, Theodor Herzl’s remains were flown from Vienna to Israel. The author of the Jewish State was laid to rest on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem on August 17, 1949.

Israeli soldier and statesman. Born in Belfast, Ireland, the son of Rabbi Isaac Halevi Herzog, he immigrated to Palestine in 1935 and obtained a thorough schooling in religious and secular studies. In 1939, he enlisted in the British army and participated in the liberation of the concentration camps in 1945. He returned to Palestine in 1947 and rejoined the Haganah. Upon formation of the Israel Defense Forces in 1948, Herzog served as chief of military intelligence until 1950 and as defense attach

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