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The Heralders of Zionism
The Society for Working and Redemption of the Land is
established in Jerusalem, which aims to establish the first agricultural
The Moses Montefiore Testimonial Fund (Mazkeret Moshe) is founded in London following Montefiore's 90th birthday. its aim is to aid Jewish settlement in Eretz Israel.
Moses Montefiore, aged 91, makes his seventh and final visit to Eretz Israel.
The Society for Working and Redemption of the Land is again established in Jerusalem, and calls for the establishment of an agricultural settlement. Among its founders are David Guttman and Eliezer Raab, later co-founders of Petah Tikva.
One of its slogans is: "lf there is no country in the world - there is no Israel in the world."
It is possible that the establishment of the association is influenced by a proposal made by Haim Gedalia, a close acquaintance of Moses Montefiore, which he published in 1875. The proposal suggests acquiring all the Sultan's lands in Eretz Israel from the Turks and establishing on them extensive Jewish settlement.
The book "Daniel Deronda" appears in England by the author George Eliot (the literary name of Mary Ann Owens). The book's heroes are English Jews with a national conscience, who aspire to establish a Jewish state in Eretz Israel. The book has enormous influence on generations of young Jews.
Within two months the first two agricultural settlements are established. In the north, Jews from Safed establish Gai Oni (Valley of My Strength) to the east of the city. In the south, Petah Tikva is founded by Jerusalemites among whom are Yoel Moshe Salomon, David Guttman, Joshua Stampfer, Zerach Barnett and Eliezer and Yehuda Raab. Gai Oni is abandoned after a short time and Petah Tikva after three years. The first seeds, however, have been sown.
Laurence Oliphant, an English member of Hovevei Zion (The Lovers of Zion), suggests establishing agricultural Jewish settlements in Eretz Israel. He contacts the Turkish authorities and in 1880 publishes his book, "Eretz HaGilad" (The Land of Gilead), in which he calls for the establishment of a Jewish region in the north of Transjordan. The Turks have reservations.
Yehiel Michel Pines, a representative of the Mazkeret Moshe fund, arrives in Eretz Israel -an important figure during the impending First Aliyah period.
Eliezer Peariman (better known as Eliezer Ben-Yehuda),
aged 21, publishes an article called "A Dignified Question" in
the fifth edition of "HaShachar" (April 1879). He calls for the
return of his people to its land, determining of Jewish policy and renewal
of the ancient language - Hebrew. The article is considered an important
milestone in the annals of Zionism.
September - December
The pogroms in Russia continue. Hovevei Zion emissaries arrive in Palestine and go in search of suitable land for establishing settlements. A few thousand Jews arrive in the country in 1882 alone in what will later be called the First Aliyah. At the same time, Laurence Oliphant renews his efforts to settle Jews in Palestine.
The booklet "Auto-Emancipation" appears in Berlin, written by an unidentified author. He is, in fact, none other than Dr. Yehuda Leib Pinsker, a Jewish doctor from Russia. It is a fundamental publication in the annals of Hibbat Zion (The Lovers of Zion movement) and Zionism (see the chapter entitled Glossary of Terms).
Settlers from Petah Tikva evacuate their village temporarily because of the danger of malaria, and move to Yehud for a number of years before returning home. The moshava of Ekron is established. The Lerer family settles in Wadi Hanin (later Nes Ziona) and the Felman family settles to the north of Jaffa and plants a citrus orchard. All are members of the Hovevei Zion association.
A second moshava is established in the Galilee - Yesud haMa'ala - and towards the end of the year the BILU establishes its moshava - Gedera. The moshava of Bnei Yehuda, founded by people from Safed, is the first attempt to establish a foothold in the southern Golan.
The establishment of the first wave of Jewish moshavot in Eretz Israel comes ot an end. Without the help of Baron Rothschild it is doubtful they would have survived the harsh living conditions. The Turks hinder Jewish Aliyah and the establishment of moshavot.
June 28 - July 1
Aliyah to Palestine once again increases. Delegations and individuals stream into Palestine, buy land and plan the establishment of new settlements. Within two years the moshavot of Rehovot, Hadera, Mishmar Hayarden and Ein Zeitim are established.
Jews continue to arrive in Eretz Israel until the middle of the year. In July the Turkish authorities declare a halt to aliyah and cancel all land acquisition deals. This heralds the beginning of a protracted crisis.
Over 400 individuals, both Jewish and gentile, sign a petition sent by the religious American William E. Blackstone (once dubbed the American Christian "Father of Zionism,") to the President of the United States, Benjamin Harrison, in which he calls on the President to help the Jews return to their historic homeland.
The beginning of the Dreyfus affair in France. Herzl is shocked by the anti-Semitism rampant in all layers of French society and comes to the conclusion that if such a thing can happen in enlightened France, there is only one solution to the Jewish question: mass exodus from Europe and their concentration in their own territory. He decides to act on behalf of the suffering Jews by meeting, as a first step, with wealthy Jews in order to acquire financial backing for his plans.
In the second half of 1895, Herzl, who had left Paris and returned to Vienna, travels throughout Europe, arranges meetings and gives lectures outlining his plan. Most greet him with indifference and even ridicule. Only the philosopher and writer Max Nordau supports him.
Preparations for the First Zionist Congress are complete. When Jewish leaders and rabbis foil Herzl's plans to hold the Congress in Munich, Germany, he moves the meeting to Basle, Switzerland. The Congress is set to take place during the last days of August 1897.
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