[MUSIC] One way to start thinking about Zionism is to trace the ideas and visions that eventually led to the foundation of the Jewish state. I have asked Professor Shlomo Avineri to talk to us about the process through which the visions and ideas of one Zionist thinker, Theodor Herzl, have contributed to the shaping of the future Israeli state. Professor is one of the world's leading scholars on the history of Zionism and Zionist ideologies. Avineri Is a Professor Emeritus of political science in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. He was awarded the Israel Prize for distinguished scholarship in the field of political science and has been published widely in both academic and popular outlets. He is the author and editor of numerous books, many of them devoted to early Zionist leaders and thinkers, and their ideas. Our discussion today is based on his most recent book, Herzl, Theodor Herzl and the Foundation of the Jewish State. Herzl is known as the Israeli state visionary but the Zionist movement in Europe evolved before he came to the scene and eventually, due to his early death, he, himself, didn't take part in the state building process in Palestine. Why do you regard his writing and activism as so important in the construction of the future Israeli state? >> I agree with you that the term Huze Hamedina, visionary of the state is wrong. It's on one hand wrong, because Herzl wasn't the only, and the first one. There were visionaries before him, like Moses Hess, a colleague of Karl Marx, Leon Pinsker, who wrote 20 years earlier about Jewish auto-emancipation. So he wasn't the first one. On the other hand, when you say visionary, you mean that Herzl's contribution is only in vision. He wrote two visionary books, the Jewish State and the utopian novel called AltNeuLand, Old New Land. But his major contribution to my mind is that he created the organization, Zionist organizations that spoke or pretended to speak in the name of the Jewish people. I think this is something very revolutionary. When you look at it, until the establishment of these Zionist organizations, the first one is the Congress in Basel in 1897, it wasn't for 2,000 years, an organization or institution that spoke or imagined that it was speaking for the Jews, for the Jewish people, for the Jewish religion. There is no Jewish church, it's not like the Catholic Church. You had Jewish communities, Kehilot. You had Jewish countrywide organizations like Kehilat Arba Aratzot the Committee of the Four Lands of the Polish Commonwealth. But you never had, until the establishment of the Zionist organization, an organization, institutions that spoke in the name of the Jewish people. And when Herzl wrote, in his diary after the First Zionist Congress, in Basel, 1897, I established a Jewish state. This was obviously not right, but he said something else in this notification. We are the national assembly. We are speaking not just for ourselves, but we are speaking, or we would like to speak for the Jews as a people and this was not just a statement. The most important thing that happened in the first Zionist Congress was not the setting up of the program, which is called the Basel Program. Which said that the aims of the Zionist organization is to establish a Jewish commonwealth in Eretz Israel in Palestine. This is program, this is a piece of paper. What is important is that as the first Zionist Congress, you have the establishment of the institutions which eventually made it possible to move in 1947, 48 from a Jewish community in Palestine, which was a non-state community, to a state structure. Three or four examples. In Basel city and this was Hertzl's idea that there will be a Zionist Congress meeting every year and they had to make a decision who are going to be the members. The members of the first Zionist Congress were members by invitation. Hertzl sent invitations to people who were in correspondence with him, who wrote him that they agreed with his views about the Jewish state. There were about 200 people who didn't represent anybody except Hertzl's friends. But if you want to institutionalize it and create a structure, you had to decide how to do it. The idea was it was going to be a membership and only the members of the Zionist organization will be able to elect the members of the congress. And by inspiration, somebody suggested to call the membership Shekel, which was an ancient Jewish coin. This created something which had to do with history, with Jerusalem, with the temple in Jerusalem, with the links between the Jewish diaspora that sent half a shekel every year, every person supposedly, into Jerusalem. It put the idea of a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine in a historical context. The second thing which happened was, okay, so there are going to be elections. Once you have elections, you have contests and the first contest and the first, second, or third congresses were personal. But then, slowly you could see that there were some candidates that were liberal and some were conservative, some were religious, some were socialist. So, you had the creation in the Second or third Congress already of political factions, of political parties. They also decided to elect the first congress, an executive committee, I think of seven, eight members, I don't remember. They decided that each member will be responsible for a certain field of activity, for fundraising, for education, for land buying in Palestine. In other words, it created a parliamentary, multi-party system and this is what a Zionist organization was. Even Hertzl himself had to be elected every congress to be the chairman of the organization and there wasn't really anybody at that time who was running against him. But at the Third Congress, people said does Hertzl always have to be the head of the Zionist organization? You have here a structure and I like also to add, women. 1897, this is a year where in no parliamentary democracies were women given the rights to vote. In the Second Congress, they decided that obviously women can buy the shekel, pay membership fees and therefore, they are eligible both to vote and be elected. So you had a parliament which in 1897, 1898 already was an infastructure of a political entity. The Zionist organization and then the Jewish agency in Paris found after the country was occupied by the British in World War, created a parliamentary system of an autonomous community and people like Ben Gurion who was chairman of the Jewish agency became the provisional prime minister. They knew already how to do elections. One of the funny things which many Israelis don't know, that the first election to the representative assembly of Palestinian Jews in 1920 Was held in 1920, and they found there were less than 100 Jewish inhabitants in the country. There were 20 parties who presented in this assembly. So when we ask ourselves about our proportional representation system, the multiparty system, the need for coalitions, all of them were already established at the first Zionist Congress. Much more important than what's written on a piece of paper. >> The Zionist movement evolved as part of a broader evolution of nationalist ideology and movement all around Europe. How does Herzl's Zionist doctrine reflect the zeitgeist, the spirit of the time in Europe? How is it different from other streams in Zionism? >> Well, in order to understand why is it that only in the 19th century did there emerge a Jewish national movement calling for a political entity, a state, an autonomous region. I mean, at the beginning, it wasn't really clear. After all, this was part of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. Why the 19th century? Why not for 19 centuries? To suggest that it was anti-Semitism that pushed Jews to this is nonsense because Jews were living under much worse conditions all through the Middle Ages. And the 19th century was the century of emancipation, of equal rights. Not all Jewish communities, certainly not in czarist Russia, enjoyed equal rights. But this was, in a way, the best century for Jews ever since the destruction of the temple at the end of Jewish independence, or whatever you would call the second-day commonwealth. Why? Because the identity of people in Europe moved in the 19th century from a religious identity to a national identity. If you went to any place in Europe, say around 1750, and asked people, what are you, people would say, we're Catholics, we're Christians, we're Protestants. And those people are Jews, and what's the difference between them and you? I have a different religion, regardless of whether politely or not very politely. And the same, of course, was the self-identity of the Jewish people. People called themselves Am Israel, but Am Israel was basically a religious community. In the 19th century, you have the emergence of modern nationalism. People started identifying as Frenchmen, as Englishmen, as Germans, as Poles, as Russians. And that was a challenge for the first time for Jewish people because all of a sudden, Jewish people were viewed by non-Jews as not just being of a different faith or religion, but being of a different nation, nationality, ethnicity, or even race. And Jews in multinational empires, like the Austro-Hungarian Empire where Herzl was born and grew, or in Russia, Jewish people found themselves in the crossfire of national movements. In the 17th century, when there were religious wars between Catholics and Protestants, Jews didn't have to participate in it or take a position. They were neither Protestants nor Catholics. But when, in Vienna, or Prague, or Krakow in the 19th century, the non-Jewish communities identified as Polish, or Czech, or German, the issue wasn't religion anymore. The issue was ethnicity, nationality, history, and how do you relate to your cultural heritage? And this is where Herzl, and people who a preceded Herzl, Moses Hess, came up with the idea that if Jews are viewed by everybody as a nation, then they start to view themselves as a nation. The beginning of the Jewish Enlightenment, the Jewish Haskalah in the 19th century in Europe, went back not to ideas of Eretz Israel, but to the Hebrew language. Why? Every nation has a language. Nations identify, not exclusively, but many in the 19th century, by their linguistic affiliation. Polish people were the people who spoke the Polish language, and not the Russian language or not the German language. So you have the Hebrew Haskalah, which we borrowed Hebrew, not as a spoken language, this happened later in Eretz Israel, but as a language of culture. People begin to read the Bible, not as a religious text, because many of those enlightened maskilim were, I wouldn't say secular, but certainly not religious in a traditional sense. They viewed the Bible as a historical repository of Jewish history. So it is in this context that Herzl became one of the spokespeople for Jewish nationalism between 1882, which is the beginning of the major crisis of Russian Jewry. In 1914, more than 3 million Jewish people emigrated from the Russian Empire because of the policies, and programs, and the official anti-Semitism of the Russian czarist government. 95% of them went to the United States, to Australia, to Latin America. Less than 1% of them, the Aliyah harishona, or the first or second immigration to Israel, the went to Palestine. And it's also the people who are fleeing anti-Semitism. To flee anti-Semitism, you fled to the United States. If you decided to come to Eretz Israel, which was at that time a very undeveloped province of the Ottoman Empire, and a not very enlightened government at that time. You came to Eretz Israel, and then to America because you believe that this is where this is your home. So you have here a very small minority between 1881 to 1914 who went to Eretz Israel. It was a minority. This wasn't the answer to anti-Semitism. This was the answer to the idea that Jews are a nation. And as a nation, they deserve to have a land, or a country, or a piece of land, and a language, as well. And this is when Herzl came in. And of course, when we speak today of nationalism, one has to be careful because there are two kinds of nationalism. There is a liberal, universalistic nationalism whose profit, if you wish, was the intellectual leader of Italian nationalism, Giuseppe Mazzini, who said, I'm a citizen of the world by being a citizen of my own country. Trying to create a dialectic interrelationship between a particularist national identity and the universal humanity. And then there is another kind of nationalism, the nationalism which is identified with extreme naturalistic, chauvinistic, xenophobic, and racist nationalism. Perhaps the most significant person is a German historian, a great historian, but a nasty nationalist, Heinrich Treitschke, who viewed nationalism as the expression of power, that nations fight for power. And those nations who dominate are those who are strong. This was 1890, in Germany at the time with the emergence of German nationalism. German unification, then German nationalism was very crucial. Herzl belonged to the first kind of nationalism, to the liberal, humanistic nationalism. And therefore, in Altneuland, in the Utopian novel which was written in 1903, it describes a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine as it would look in 1923. There are non-Jews in the country, not just visitors or people who come because they like the place. Herzl is very much aware that there are Arabs in the country. One of the nastiest lies, and I don't like to use that term, but it's a nasty lie, And the interesting thing within Herzl's view, in Herzl's public writings and in his correspondence and his A, it wasn't empty, and certainly Hertzl was very much aware of it. He visited the country. And when you look at how his utopian Zionist commonwealth looks, not only are there Arabs there, they are equal citizens. And one of them is one of the leaders of the modern society, which is a Jewish state. But it is, to use a current jargon, a Jewish state, but it's a democratic and liberal state. Not only that, and this is quite interesting in retrospect. The political plot of the novel describes an election in this Jewish commonwealth, supposedly in 1923. And this is a time, according to Herzl, when a new political party emerges with a racist Jewish leader who says, this is a Jewish state, and non-Jews, mainly Arabs, should not be equal citizens. And he sets up racist Jewish party. Which according to Hertzl, of course, is being soundly defeated in the election because the liberals and the humanitarian universalists eventually win. On the other hand, and one should not read things too much backwards. Hertzl was a non-practicing person in religious terms. It wasn't that he wasn't religious. He was, of course, member of the Jewish community in Vienna. What else could you do? But he was of course non-religious. But he very much, as a true 19th Century liberal, respects religion. Not because he believes in it, not because he agrees with it. But A, because he understands that there are people who feel very strongly about their religious faith. And they are part of the Jewish people, and one should accommodate them. And therefore when he decided with his friends to convene the first Zionist Congress, one of the first questions he asked the people who were organizing it, is there a kosher restaurant? And eventually, in Basel, where the first Zionist Congress opened it, there was. And in your invitation, which is a political, modern invitation, the last line says there is a kosher restaurant. Yesh Achsanya Kshera And in his diary during the Congress, he writes, we are again sitting in Mrs. Braunschweier restaurant, which was a kosher restaurant, eating the terrible food. But what doesn't one do for the Jewish people? You hear here a very sophisticated, self-ironic, if you wish, but liberal view. That yes, there people who are religious. I am not. But we should respect them, they are part of our community. And therefore when he describes in The Old New Land how Jerusalem would look, it's on the eve of Shabbat. Shabbat is Shabbat in Jerusalem. Not everybody goes to synagogue, but it is a official day of rest. And as he says in a very moving sentence, the Sabbath dwells in people's hearts. So it's a very interesting modern, liberal approach to religion, which you see it is part of the social network, especially social network of the Jewish people. Especially because so much of Jewish history is related to religion, and you have to accept it as a fact. Basically, they're trying to find their way between respect for religion and setting up what is basically a modern secular humanistic outlook on society. >> In 1898, Hertzl visited Jaffa and Jerusalem, which at the time was still under Ottoman Empire rule >> What did he find here? And how this scene affected his vision for the future Israeli state? >> Well, first of all, one has to understand that there are unusal, ironic context of Herzl's visit to Jerusalem and to Palestine. He came here because he sought and he was given to understand that the German emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II, who was visiting the Holy Land at that time, will make a public declaration supporting Zionism. Eventually it didn't happen. But he met, he and the Zionist delegation met the German emperor. So Hertzl came to Israel not as a pilgrim, not as a Zionist visionary, but in order to try to create a political diplomatic agreement with the emperor of Germany, who he thought would support Zionism. His description of his trip is very detailed. And it really has two parts of it. First of all, he visited, because he landed in Jaffa in Yafo. In Jaffa, he visited two of the new Jewish settlements, Moshavot, Rishon LeZion and Rehovot. And he was enthusiastic to see Jewish agricultural workers, to see Jewish youngsters riding horses. Very different from the image of the European Jewish basically as a businessman or intellectual, there are other Jews here. And he saw it as a part of the regeneration of the Jewish people. His view about Jerusalem is very complex. One one hand, he was deeply moved by seeing Jerusalem. He arrived in Jerusalem a little bit with a fever on Friday evening after the setting of the sun, so it was already Shabbat. And they decided not to ride from the train station to the hotel, but to walk. It is inconceivable that an official Zionist delegation would enter Jerusalem by desecrating the Sabbath. They went to see the Wailing Wall, and Herzl was immensely not impressed. He didn't like the filth. He didn't like the paupers and the schnorers, and the people who were tearing at his sleeve and asking for alms. And he made an interesting statement, once Jerusalem will be ours, we will clean all this filth. We'll make sure that the Old City of Jerusalem will have all new religious institutions. Not only Jewish, but both Christian obviously, and Muslim. And we will build a new modern city outside the city walls. The Old City will be, if you wish, an historical museum. Respect for religion, not only for Jewish religion, and creating in a very different way. So you see again somebody coming with the culture of a European humanist and universalist, viewing that Jerusalem, yes, it will be the capital of the Jewish Commonwealth. But there are the other religions here and you should respect them. On the other hand, and this is the last comment on this issue, Herzl mentioned they decided during the visit at the Wailing Wall not to go out to see the mosques. Because there is, as Herzl writes, there is a Rabbinical interdict against it. So Herzl, as a cultural traveler, and he traveled a lot in Europe, would of course be interested to see the mosques, among one of the most sacred sites of Islam. But he understood that there are issues of Jewish tradition which you should respect. And again, doesn't mean that you agree, but you should respect. You shouldn't do something that will make a lot of Jewish people uneasy because you want to be inclusive. You want to be inclusive with every woman. You want to be inclusive with every religious people. You want to be inclusive as broadly as possible. And the interesting thing within Herzl's view, in Herzl's public writings and in his correspondence and his You never find a definition of who is a Jew. Herzl was too smart for fall into that trap. Every definition defines somebody out. In Hebrew Hagdara means it's a fence. You, somebody is out. No you should be as inclusive as possible. And Herzl was very much aware again you can see and he learned on his way that not all Jews are Europeans. He was very much interested in Jews and Jews from Kazakhstan. He made a funny statement that there are even black Jews from India. And he tries to explain why how come there are black Jews. He spoke when he met the king of Italy about the Ethiopian Jews, about what were called at that time Falasha. So Herzl, the only place where you can find something which is close enough to a definition. But the description of the Jewish people is we are people of different anthropological elements. >> In his last influential book, the Jewish State, and Herzl describes in great details the future Jewish state as he envisioned it. This detailed description incited the imagination of Jews all over Europe. Can you tell us something about what he imagined, how this future Israeli state would like like? >> Herzl is, in this respect, very important because many other people, some of them who preceded him, some who came after him, had a vision of a Jewish state. We want a Jewish state, we're going to achieve it and there's no other way. Very few of them had a vision how the state would look. And therefore as a utopian novel is a very unique document. I am not aware that any other national movement had a similar document which doesn't just explain its legitimacy, its claim, or whatever. Or its program. But says how our country will look when we will achieve it. And there are basically three issues there, which I think are important to this very day. We can view this novel. It's a very 19th century romantic novel. We did a lot catching it and we did a lot of long speeches. It's not going to be a bestseller today but, I suggest everybody, read it precisely because it gives you an idea of what division was on those three issues. One, equal citizenship. One, the second is socioeconomic structure, and the third is religion and state. We spoke already about equal citizenship. First of all, men and women. No problem, no problem. Not because people were feminist, they were not. But because they believed in equality as simple as that. And Arabs and other known Jews equal citizens of the country and to vote and be elected. So, equal citizenship. To Herzl is a Jewish state. Non Jews would have equal citizenship. Second issue is social economic structure. Herzl was not a socialist. He even was afraid of revolutionary socialism, with its inherent danger of violence. But he was also a critic of European capitalism, which he knew about as a journalist, as an editor, and he wrote about it. And therefore, he viewed the social structure, and economic structure of the Jewish state, as what one would call today the Third Way. He called it mutualism, which was, I think, a good term. And he says again in one of the long speeches that some of the leaders of the country make in the novel. They say that we have learned from Europe and we have learned to adopt that good side of capitalism and the good aspects of socialism. What are the good aspects of capitalism? Initiative and freedom. And what are the good aspects of socialism? Equality and justice, not bad as definitions go. And again, because Herzl knew politics, he doesn't leave it at the level of a program. There are institutions. For example, land would be publicly owned. There will be no private property, no private property in land. So there's not going to be real estate bubbles and all the other things which we know today. Secondly, agricultural settlements will be cooperative, industry will be part cooperative and part, especially when it comes to small industry or small package way just will be proper. But what in Marxist language was, would be called the commanding heights of the economy will be social, will be socially owned and not private. Herzl believed that a Jewish state would be established as part of an international agreement, so it wouldn't need an army. Here, again, you see the 19th century, a little naive, liberal. But will be national service. There will be free compulsory education for men and women until the age of 18 and then everybody men and women spend two years in national service. What will they do? Some will be teachers, social workers. Medical workers will be working in old age homes. In Israeli language, there will not be Philippine assistance for old aged people. Everybody will have to do it. Nobody will have to do it all his life, because it's not a very nice occupation being a hospital assistant or something like that. But you'll do it for two years, and you'll pay back to society what society has already invested in you, or in a way, will invest when you yourself will be old and feeble and sick. So you see a vision of a society which, I would say was revolutionary for 1897 or 1903 when Herzl wrote but was very progressive and head of its time. Basically, it's a welfare state system and the last issue is state and religion. It was a respect for religion but in the state society is secular society. But everybody, not only Jewish but non-Jewish can practice their religion freely. This is a mirror to Israeli society. When you look at the way in which the Jewish community in Palestine Before 1948, in the state of Israel after independence developed. They developed more or less on those lines. Not in a doctrinal way, nobody opened to Herzl and said we're going to do this and that. But basically out of the logic of the situation. Zionists have not always respected [INAUDIBLE] Was aware. And tried not always successfully to accommodate them. That's why designers movement accepted in 1947, 1948 petition. Realizing that we are not the only people here, there are other people here. Perhaps we don't like them, perhaps we'd be better off without them here. But they're here, and you have to respect them. And of course, the Jewish State when it was established in 1948 In the first elections in 1949, the Arabs who remained in the country, who either didn't flee or were not expelled, had equal right to vote in the class and they voted for the Communist Party. So what? This is part of freedom and equality. In the last few years we've seen elements of the Israeli political nationalist camp becoming extremely ethnocentric and extremely, I wouldn't say racist. Some of them are, but trying to limit the rights of Israeli Arabs and then call it Zionism. This is exactly the opposite of Zionism as envisioned by Herzl. The same about the economy, the economy of the Jewish community in Pakistan and later. First 30 years of Israeli society, we had a mixed economy. Of course, it was private enterprise but land was, not all, but most of it owned by national institution, Hakeren Hakayemet or the Israeli Rent Authority. But, in industry was [FOREIGN], a private bank owned by the trade union, Histadrut, something which we still do. Something we certainly at that time didn't think about, but it was a mixed economy. In the last few decades, and this reflects the political shift in Israeli politics to the right and is also reflected back. We have moved from this sort of mixed economy with a very strong welfare state, which for many years was a model for Western European social democratic parties. And we have made them the market, stock exchange which according to Herzl there wouldn't be a Jewish stock exchange in Israel because he knew the role of Jews in the stock exchange in Europe, which was problematic. And we moved to sort of what can be called the market fundamentalism. Callings to a very naive and provincial way of trying to imitate the United States. We see how it doesn't work exactly in the United States, but certainly, not when you try to do something about nation building. Nation building and capitalism don't go together very well. And we have moved away from that. And the same can be said about state and religion. The Jewish community in Eretz Israel, the Zionist movement tried, according to Herzl, following Herzl, to find a way of accommodating religion in what sometimes were very unpleasant coalition agreements which sometimes were unsavory. And sometimes were political, even on the verge of corruption. But they enabled people to live together. And to have some absurd situations where on Saturday you don't have public transport but you can't afford to drive your own car or use taxis. It doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense in terms of Jewish Orthodoxy, and it doesn't make sense in terms of abstract liberalism. Why shouldn't you, why should Saturday be different from Wednesday? Well, because this is the price you pay for togetherness. In the last few years and decades, we see on one hand a much more fundamentalist approach in some parts of the religious community. Some of the religious community, one of the religious Zionist parties, Hamafdal, the National Religious Party, which was always until the 70s a moderate party when it came to national issues, is now the spearhead, if you wish, of a very nationalist, religious quasi-messianic movement. And you see on the other side, extreme secularists, who view anything that's called Jewish as if it is is something coming from Iran, which is utter nonsense. Both those developments are basically against the moderate view of Zionism which tried, with a lot of internal contradictions, to accommodate both secular majority and the religious minority, not very easy. If you look at the history of Israeli coalition governments, most of them had crises because of issues, not about sticking to religion on matters of principle, but about where the borderline is. And the borderline was somewhere in the middle. And now you have extremists on both sides. So when you read Herzl, Alteneuland, you can see a vision and you can also see how this vision can be viewed both as, An achievement of what has happened, but also criticism of developments which are now very crucial to Israel. And there's three issues, equal citizenship, a third way between capitalism and socialism, and a complicated relationship between state and religion. Those were three issues with Herzl viewed as central. They are central today as well. So reading Herzl, despite the fact that Altneuland is a very boring book, but I think one should, one can overcome this boredom. >> At the beginning of the 20th century, after the failure of his attempt to convince the Turks to grant him a charter for the land in which a Jewish state or a Jewish entity could be founded, Herzl considered several alternatives. The Uganda program, the El Arish program. Can you tell us something about these programs, these solutions, and why did they fail? >> First of all, Herzl never gave up the idea that Zionism is about an individual. But what happened in 1903, after he failed, as you said, to negotiate a charter with the Ottoman Authorities, after he failed trying to get the German Emperor's support in this. In 1903 we had one of the major modern pogroms in the Russian Empire, the Kishinev Pogrom. And this was not the worst pogrom in the history of 19th, 20th century. The pogroms in 1881 where tens of thousands of people were killed, and Kishinev, probably less than 100. But this was the 20th century. When people were celebrating the beginning of the 20th century, they were celebrating a century of liberalism, of freedom, of enlightenment, and then boom, you have a pogrom. It was also on the western fringes of the Zionist empire. So news traveled very fast, to the West, to Vienna, to Budapest, to Prague, to Berlin. And this was the first pogrom when you had photographs. And when people were seeing in the West, Jews and non-Jews, children, women, mutilated lying corpus in the street, this was a great shock. And the Zionist movement at that time didn't have an answer because people were beginning to flee, they were refugees. And at that time, a few months before that, the British Foreign Secretary, Colonial Secretary, offered to Herzl the idea, why don't you think about our new colony, Kenya. And Herzl said no. And Herzl said no three times. After the Kishinev problem, Herzl, and I think it was a political mistake on his part. Being under pressure that the Zionist organization wasn't able to give an immediate answer to the immediate pressure of refugees after Kishinev, when the British Secretary, Colonial Secretary suggested to him, why don't you look at it again? He said, let's look at it. And the Uganda controversy was not about whether you accept Uganda, because it wasn't awful, but whether the Zionist organization would be willing to send A serving commission to look at the possibilities. And for many Zionists, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, this was sort of slippery slope. You start with a survey, you say, as Herzl said, at the Congress. If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning “Aim Askachech…”. He said it even in Hebrew which wasn't exactly his language. And this was a mistake. Herzl got a majority for this, but eventually when you look at what was offered to them, more than district in which Jewish people can settle and they may have municipal autonomy. So it was a flop. I think Herzl should have done differently. At that time, the same time, as it was an idea perhaps. The Brits who were controlling Egypt were ready to consider a Jewish settlement in northern in Al Arish as you mentioned. And Herzl called it Egyptian Palestine. So this was very close. The border at that time was not as we know it today about borders. At that time the borders within the larger Ottoman Empire was a little bit more flexible and nothing came out of it. So, those are basically episodes. They created a lot of flack because the Zionist movement at that time didn't have much to offer in real terms. And the idea that it’s an idea you can discuss it. >> What happened after Herzl's death? How did his death affect the Zionist movement? >> Here again, Jewish history is part of world history. The ten years between 1904, Herzl's death, and the beginning of World War I in 1914, are what is called in Hebrew Lo Mishtanot, where things were very very minute. Yes, there was a Zionist movement, there were Zionist congresses every year, there were land purchases in Palestine, there was a Jewish immigration, small but continuous. Tel Aviv was established at that time. Some of the small agricultural communities but none of the people who followed Herzl were of his stature. Most of the names are totally unknown today and forgotten and rightly. But when Herzl left Constantinople for the last time, it was clear to him that he's not going to get anything, any charter for Jewish settlement in Palestine from the Ottoman authorities. He said at the end of the day we will have to come back to Constantinople, but this may have the only happen at the end of the Ottoman Empire. Which at the time was diminishing, was getting weaker and weaker, because the Balkan Christian states were getting independent. And that's exactly what happened at the end of World War I. When we look in retrospect what was the Balfour declaration. The was a support of a British empire that had just conquered or were about to conquer Palestine that it will support in one way or another the establishment of some Jewish entity. The language is very, very complicated. It's not a state, but a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine. And this was exactly the way how Herzl set about it. So it has to be an international opportunity. He was aware that in his own time that this opportunity wasn't there, but he showed the map that it maybe. And that's exactly what our people were able to convince the British to support Zionists lane for Palestine. World War II. They were doing in World War I. So we see that when we talk about political Zionists, and there's spiritual Zionism to religious Zionism. Herzl stands for political Zionism. It means, really, two things. First of all, you create political institutions, the Zionist Congress, elections, executive committee, a bank, I mentioned earlier. You create the infrastructure of a state. Medina Baderech a state in the making. And on the other political Zionism means that yes, immigration to Palestine very important, land purchase, very important. If you wish a political entity you have to play the game of politics. And the game of politics is trying to get support of the power that be. The power that be don't necessarily have to be very philosemitic, some would say maybe even anti-semitic and want to get rid of the Jews. Some Russian ministers whom Herzl met. But you have to create political alliances and that's when you look at it happen not only in 1917, it also happened in 1947, 48. When the two major power of the world at that time at the beginning of the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union supported partition, the establishment of the Jewish state. We all know that President Truman of the United States supported and recognized Israel. We somehow tend to forget that it was stunning, stunning, who did support partition. And in providing the Jewish state with very crucial armaments at very crucial moment. One maybe a little bit ironic when Stalin eventually at the last judgement will stand before his Creator and there will be a long list of accusations. And Stalin was one of the worst dictators of the 20th century. So there will be two things that we always have to be remembered. That it was the red army, the Soviet army, which eventually not only freed the concentration camp, but defeated Nazi Germany and put an end to Nazi Germany. And then in 1947, 48, stand in support of the State of Israel. At the time when the American president, Truman, who recognized Israel and supported Israel, but as part of international diplomacy tried to not to get involved. And therefore, there was an America embargo on arms to the Middle East. Which didn't really hit or hurt the Arab countries because they had countries, they had states, armies, and British and French support, it only hurt Jewish community and in essence State of Israel. In the book of history they have a very, very complex legacy. We should, we realize that it means that if you play politics, you don't always get support of the kind of people that you would like to get support. You get it, where you find it? It's a very tough game. It's not an intellectual game, it's not a parlor game, and sometimes you can't be a chooser. >> To conclude our conversation, I'm interested to know, in your opinion, what are Herzl's main contributions today, future Israeli state? What parts of his visions still have an imprint in our society today? >> Again, Herzl's major contribution is paradoxical. On one hand, nothing came out of his diplomatic conference, but between 1896 and 1904, eight years. The years of his activity as a Zionist leader. Herzl met hundreds of people in the upper echelons of European society. You mentioned the German Emperor, the King of Italy, the Pope, the Grand Duke of Bulgaria, Russian ministers, Austrian, Italian, French, British, foreign secretaries. No Jewish person has ever met in such a short period of time so many leaders of world politics. Presented to them a Jewish problem and a Jewish political problem. And he failed, but it registered. When Herzl died, the world press mentioned the fact that he was the leader of the Zionist movement. Herzl had a very known conclusive meeting was the Pope. When the Pope said to him that if you come to Palestine, there are a lot of mosque's and churches and if compare, we want to welcome you because you always pray for your enlightenment. Basically saying, no. But, the fact that this was reported in the press that there was a meeting in Rome between the Pope and Theodor Herzl. Between the Pope of hundreds of millions of Catholics, in the leader of the Zionist movement, which at that time had perhaps 1,500 members, or paid up members. It created a presence on the scene of world politics. And Herzl was very much aware as a political journalist since Whitlam. He knew that small people, oppressed people, weak people. In order to get what you want, you have to get attention. If you want to get a political state or autonomy or whatever. You have to get first of all world support and therefore he met all those people. But you also have to put your claim somewhere in the headline news and he learned it from weak nationalism, Serbian nationalism etc. There are other national movements who also put themselves in the headline by terrorism, and murders, and killings and blowing up schools. And no, he did it by the the gift of the gab, if you wish, by the introduction ability of he himself and other Jewish people to organized but also to make it clear. And when the organization which Herzl set up was weak. It didn't have many, practical very few achievements, but he puts his Zionist claim for the Jewish homelands in Palestine on the world map. This is his major achievement. >> Thank you so much. >> You too. >> For being with us today. >> Thank you. >> Thank you. Thank you, Shlomo. As we have learned, Herzl's vision has materialized only partially. In the rest of course, we will look into many of the features characterizing the real state in society that emerged out of Herzl's vision and those of other Zionist thinkers and doers. Those that reflect the vision, and those have diverted from it. One of the challenges Herzl and others have not envisioned, was the challenge of creating homogeneous national identity for the inhabitants of the new state. In their vision, a pluralistic label of democracy would allow both the local population and the returning Jewish population to develop a new identity that would be grounded in their affiliation with the state and it's modern values. The reality was different. The construction of a homogeneous identity has proved to be a complicated and maybe even impossible mission. In our next class, Professor Vintzki-Seroussi will talk to us about the quest for a collective identity. And about the states continuous effect to construct one.