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always happens in such historic moments, the man unto whom it was
vouchsafed clearly to grasp the idea of which many had a dim presentiment,
and to give eloquent expression to the word that many had awaited, now
appeared. This man was Dr. Theodor Herzl. In the autumn of 1896 he
published a concisely-written book, " The Jewish State," (Der
Judenstaat), which, with a determination hitherto unknown, declared
that the Jews are a Nation, who demand for themselves all the rights of a
Nation and wish to settle on a land where they can lead the complete
unfettered life of a state.
Jewish State" -a subjective work.
Jewish State" became the starting-point of political Zionism- the
starting-point, not the programme. Herzl's book is still the subjective
work of an individual who speaks in his own name. Many portions of it are
literature. It is not easy everywhere to draw a sharp line of division
between the sober earnestness of the social politician and the phantasy of
the prophetic poet. The real programme had to be a collective task,
founded indeed upon Herzl's book and inspired by Herzl's visions, but
freed from all fantastic elements and wrought only out of elements of
effect of "The Jewish State."
Herzl's book was at once greeted by myriads of Jews, especially by young Jewry, as an act of deliverance. They determined that it should not remain mere printed paper, but should be converted into practical reality. There arose everywhere new societies, no longer for the slow, petty colonisation of Palestine by the surreptitious entry of groups of Jews, but for the preparation of a general Jewish immigration into the Holy Land, on the basis of a treaty, guaranteed by the Great Powers, with the Turkish Government, such as should grant the settlers in the country the rights of self-government.
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