PFI [10]: Birth of Zionism

Birth of Zionism

Birth of Zionism-01

The first of these organizations was called “Hoveve Zion1)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hovevei_Zion,” or “Lovers of Zion.”

This was a worldwide movement to promote interest in Jewish settlement in Palestine.

The second organization was a small group named “Bilu2)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bilu ie translated “Bilu” is an acronym based on a verse from the Book of Isaiah [2:5] “בית יעקב לכו ונלכה” Beit Ya’akov Lekhu Venelkha [“House of Jacob, let us go [up]”],” composed of people who actually went to Palestine and began to work the land in spite of the objections of the Turks.

The circumstances were very difficult and the settlements that were started were not economically successful.

They were taken under the protection and assistance of Baron Edmund DeRothschild. In this way they survived.

EncJud_Bilu-band4-kolonne1000-emblem-m-kriegserklaerung

Theodor Herzl
Theodor Herzl

The move among the Jews to return to their land, the stirring of the dry bones, was a small affair for more than a dozen years. In 1895, however, a dramatic event set one man’s heart afire for the cause of Zionism. His name was Theodor Herzl3)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodor_Herzl.

Herzl, a Jewish Austrian newspaperman, had come to Paris to cover the public humiliation of Alfred Dreyfus4)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Dreyfus, a French soldier convicted of collaboration with Germany.

Dreyfus, a Jew, seemed the perfect example of one who had assimilated into the European culture and society, overcoming race and religion barriers. Having attended a famous military academy in France, he had received the rank of captain. Now he was accused of giving French military information to the German military attaché at Paris. 

Alfred Dreyfus
Alfred Dreyfus

Despite scanty evidence, a secret court-martial condemned Dreyfus to public humiliation and life imprisonment on Devil’s Island. The case has gone down in history as a miscarriage of French justice.

The public humiliation of Dreyfus took place in January of 1895.

Theodor Herzl stood with the crowd and heard them begin to cry, “Kill the traitor, kill the Jew.”

 
As the Jewish writer listened to the screams of the mob, a shock wave rolled through his entire being.

 
Herzl heard that same crowd in effect crying for his blood, since he was also a Jew.

Walking away from the spectacle, Theodor Herzl was a broken man.

Like Dreyfus, he had lived in comfort and had almost forgotten the persecutions of his people and the barriers that had existed between Jews and Gentiles through the centuries. Now he understood that those barriers still remained, that hatred for Jews was still real, and that all Jews were in jeopardy wherever they found themselves in the world. This awful awakening sent Herzl into seclusion to write a book that would shake the world and play an important role in establishing the State of Israel.

Herzl’s book was a one-hundred-page work entitled:

Der
Judenstaat
5)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Judenstaat
 — The Jewish State
.

The book began:

The Jews who will it shall have a state of their own.

 

In 1897, two years after the publication of his book, Theodor Herzl called the first World Zionist Congress to session in Basle, Switzerland6)http://www.herzl.org/english/Article.aspx?Item=544.

Delegates_at_First_Zionist_Congress
First World Zionist Congress in session.
660px-Flag_of_the_First_Zionist_Congress_1897
The flag chosen

The meeting was held in a gambling casino. The name of those determined to bring about the return to their land would now be “Zionists,” so named for Mount Zion in Palestine. Herzl was elected the international executive. A Jewish fund was established as well as a land bank to make it possible to purchase land in Palestine. A flag was chosen. The colors were white and blue for the colors of the tallith prayer shawl7)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tallit, and “Hatikvah”8)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatikvah (The Hope) was designated as a national anthem.

At the conclusion of that first Zionist Congress, Herzl wrote in his diary, “I have founded the Jewish state. If I were to say so today, people would laugh at me, but in five years’ time, certainly in fifty years, it will be seen that I was right.” [On November 29, 1947, almost fifty years after Herzl wrote the words, the General Assembly of the United Nations by a majority vote made the birth of the State of Israel legally possible. In May of 1948, the nation was born.]9)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Partition_Plan_for_Palestine

The new leader of Zionism exhausted himself in the cause to which he was committed. During the next eight years he met with many of the world’s statesmen. This leader of a homeless people had a vision of a modern-day exodus. He dreamed not of straggling groups finding their way back to the Jewish homeland, but rather of great companies of Jews settling in their land and prospering there.

Herzl spent much of his early effort seeking sponsoring nations among the European powers. His first thought was of Germany and he wooed Wilhelm II10)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_II,_German_Emperor. Finding no help there, he turned to England. In 1903, one year before Herzl’s death, the British offered the Jews the country of Uganda as a place to settle11)https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Zionism/Uganda.html. Although the Jews rejected this African area, England’s offer gave official recognition to the Jewish right of a homeland. Herzl counted that a great victory.

PRIME MINISTER DAVID BEN GURION
David Green from Plonsk changed his name to DAVID BEN GURION

Shortly after the turn of the century, increased persecution in Russia sent many immigrants to Palestine.

Herzl’s work was bearing fruit.

Among these Jewish settlers was a young man named David Green from Plonsk12)http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/plonsk/dbgbio.htm, a Polish town northwest of Warsaw.

His father, an attorney, had been an avid Zionist and young Green had listened enthusiastically as his father discussed the merits of Zionism with his friends.

David Green was not content to simply debate the issues.

He longed to live in Israel and had come there to contribute to the establishment of that nation. In their book, O Jerusalem,13)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O_Jerusalem! Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre write that young Green found Jerusalem like a modern tower of Babel, with Jews speaking forty different languages and half of them unable to communicate with the other half.

Changing his name to David Ben-Gurion, this young immigrant became the editor of a Zionist trade union paper committed to the revival of the Hebrew language. After Herzl’s death, he would become an important force in the establishment and development of the nation he loved.

The foundation of the nation had been laid. The dry bones were coming together. Ezekiel’s vision was on its way to fulfillment; the most significant sign of the end times and the return of the Messiah would, in the next half century, become a reality.

But there were troubled times ahead.

ww1-numbers

War would come to Europe and to the world. Jews would find themselves in the middle of a global war, having friends on both sides of the conflict. The war itself would threaten to extinguish Zionism. For a time it would seem as if the bones of the vision would retreat to the dust and be as dry as the arid soil of the land the Jews were seeking to reclaim.

How did this struggling people manage to overcome the perils of World War I?

 
What part would World War I play in the development of the State of Israel and in setting the stage for the final drama of the ages?

 
What events in World War I were necessary to prepare the world for closing time?

We will cover these topics in the coming weeks.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

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References   [ + ]

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hovevei_Zion
2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bilu ie translated “Bilu” is an acronym based on a verse from the Book of Isaiah [2:5] “בית יעקב לכו ונלכה” Beit Ya’akov Lekhu Venelkha [“House of Jacob, let us go [up]”]
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodor_Herzl
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Dreyfus
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Judenstaat
6. http://www.herzl.org/english/Article.aspx?Item=544
7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tallit
8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatikvah
9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Partition_Plan_for_Palestine
10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_II,_German_Emperor
11. https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Zionism/Uganda.html
12. http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/plonsk/dbgbio.htm
13. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O_Jerusalem!

Missionarius Apostolicus

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