Zionism and Israel

Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirovic

Zionism — The term Zionism is derived from the word Zion that in the Hebrew language and cultural-historical tradition of the Jews refers to the citadel (acropolis) of the city of Jerusalem as well as to the Kingdom of Heaven. From the matter of politics, Zionism refers to the political-national movement of the European Jews in the very late 19th century for the very purpose to re-create a Jewish homeland in the form of a nation-state in the Middle East – Israel.[i]

This Zionist movement was to a great extent expressed as a consequence of the European (mostly West European) anti-Semitic (better to say anti-Judaic) sentiments and politics that the (West) European Jews were experiencing for centuries.[ii] Zionism as a political-national movement was formally initiated by Theodor Herzl (1860−1904) at the World’s Zionist Conference in Basle (Switzerland) or the First World’s Zionist Congress held from August 29 to 31st, 1897 attended by 208 delegates and 26 representatives of the press.[iii]

Th. Herzl was born in Budapest. He was an assimilated Jew who became a journalist in Vienna and was the Paris correspondent of the newspaper Neue Freie Presse in 1891−1895. The Dreyfus Affair which started in December 1894 found his interest in anti-Semitism and how to solve the Jewish Question. He published the book in German Der Judenstaat in 1896 in which he claimed that the creation of the Jewish nation-state in Palestine can be the only effective response to centuries of European anti-Semitism. He devoted the rest of his life to the propagation and realization of this idea and for that purpose, he established the World’s Zionist Organization (the WZO), which was convened at the First World’s Zionist Congress in Switzerland in 1897.

From the end of the 19th century onward, (basically after 1897) there have been organized attempts to persuade the European Jews to emigrate to the Land of Israel or known as Palestine. However, it was not at first unquestioned that the Jewish nation-state had to be in Palestine exactly.

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