Theodor Herzl and Zionism One of the most important influences in the movement that led to the creation of the state of Israel was Jewish writer and journalist Theodor Herzl. He was born on May 2, 1860 in Budapest, Hungary. Herzl studied law in Vienna, but later on went into a literary career. This proved a good decision, as he became a well-known playwright and essayist and in 1891, Hertzl was appointed Paris correspondent for the Vienna Neue Freie Presse (New Free Press). During the Alfred Dreyfus affair in 1894, anti-Semitic feelings in France spread greatly. This greatly affected Hertzl because before that he believed that the best solution of anti-Semitism in Europe was the assimilation of the Jews with the Christian people. After the court-martial of Dreyfus, Hertzl was certain that the only way anti-Semitism could be solved was with the creation of a Jewish state. In 1896, Theodor Hertzl published a short book, Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State), which promoted the establishment of a Jewish State. Although Hertzl was not the first to suggest a Jewish State, he was the first to call for immediate action. Even though some wealthy leaders, such as German emperor William II and Sultan Abd al-Hamid II of Turkey, were sympathetic towards the idea of a Jewish homeland, they were not willing to put up the money to back such a project. After the wealthy leaders rejected Hertzl, he called for a Zionist Congress in 1897, which met in Basel, Switzerland. Nearly two hundred delegates attended the congress. The congress founded a permanent World Zionist Organization that was to establish branches in every country with a substantial Jewish population. They also formulated the Basel Program, which defined Zionisms goal as the creation for the Jewish people of a home in Palestine secured by public law. Herzl now directed his diplomacy towards Great Britain. The British offered to help start Jewish colonization in E…
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