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Other Articles 
on Zionism



The Time to Favor
Zion Is Come

Herzl and Zionism

The Berlin Congress of Nations gave to Zionists the first genuine opportunity to go about with a sparkle in their eyes. It made possible land purchase in their homeland. This signal awakened Jewish minds to Divine Providence working on behalf of His people. One of those great men of vision was Theodore Herzl, whose name stands as a monument of Zionism.

In 1896 Herzl presented a booklet entitled, "The Jewish State." He appealed to rich Jews to call a congress of Jews and begin laying the ground for Zionist activities. The book was a success. An unexpected success in the wrong quarter. He thought the rich Jews would spearhead the movement. He was wrong. The poor and oppressed Jews all over Europe and Russia arose to the appeal. Zionism came to bloom.

When the Kishinev pogrom and severe persecution meant thousands of Jews had to flee with no place to go that was friendly, Herzl was ready to accept the British offer of land in Uganda. It was practical salvation for the Jews who faced death—humanitarian ideals led him to accept even this land to save his people. Herzl's face turned white when the sixth Zionist Congress said no to Uganda. The lives of some of his kinsmen could not supersede the Divine Destiny and it was then he realized with all those there assembled, that Zionism was linked in-separably with Palestine. There could be no alternative.

Herzl lighted the Zionist torch and carried it high and magnificently, but it remained for Chaim Weizmann to plant the torch in Palestine and gain the international recognition of the rights of the Jewish people to their former homeland. Chaim Weizmann, by the providence of God, secured for his people the Balfour Declaration, November 2, 1917.

Message from the late
Prime Minister Levi Eshkol

One development whose crucial character remains beyond question was the . . . Balfour Declaration. This was indeed an event of paramount national, international and historic significance. The promise it held out went far beyond the formal undertaking of the British Government to facilitate the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine: implicit in this Declaration and herein lies its deeper import—was the promise of a general international recognition of the historic rights of the Jewish people in Palestine, a recognition to be realized a few years later in a decision of the League of Nations.

David Ben-Gurion was aware of one important fact overlooked generally by Jewry. In an article on the Balfour Declaration, published November 14 in "Der Yiddish Kampfer," the organ of the Poale Zion movement in America, he said:

A miracle happened and the broken vessel was made whole again.... England has not restored our land to us. Precisely now at this moment of triumph, it should be emphatically stated: it is nor in England's power to return our land to us. Not because the land is not, or not yet, in her possession. After the entire country, from Beersheba to Dan, is conquered by the British, it will not be ours even with their consent, and even if all the nations of the world agree to it. No people can establish title to a land except through its own toil, creative effort and settlement.

England has done a great thing: it has recognized our existence as a political entity and acknowledged our right to the Land. But the Hebrew people itself must transform this into a living fact. Through its own efforts of body, soul and material assets it must set up its national home and complete its national redemption.

The American Zionists did not receive Ben-Gurion's words favorably. To many in Jewry the Balfour Declaration was the end of the matter, the Balfour Declaration was eternal, and whenever any Hebrew felt disposed to go back to his homeland the opportunity would be there with iron-clad guarantee.

The British were the first to observe that the Jewish people were not in a hurry to return. Aryeh Pincus, Chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive observed: "Between 1917 and the Churchill White Paper of 1922—severing Transjordan from the Jewish National Home—there was abundant room for fast and widespread colonization. But aliya came in trickles, and the small numbers spread out over the years could not prevent the consolidation of Arab complicity. This failure made it easy for the British to high-light the fact that Transjordan was not essential to Jewish national aspirations."

Lord Arthur James Balfour told Dr. Weizmann after the approval of the Balfour Declaration and the decision on the British Mandate at the San Remo Conference: "Now you have got the signal to start, but you yourself will have to do the running." Failure on the part of Jewry the world over to press into the land shows that few of them were in touch with reality. While those in Russia were sealed within the Bolshevik bastion, those elsewhere—free to return—found it difficult to be more than spectators and were unprepared to "run" to the land of promise.

The Balfour Declaration did start a small return of Jewry to Palestine and the work of rehabilitation and reclaiming the land was under way. "For who hath despised the day of small things." (Zech. 4:10) Ironically, the Nazi persecution, which was bent on destroying world Jewry and came near to its goals in Europe, became the very force that guaranteed the survival of Israel. Ben-Gurion said,* "Jews from Germany provided the country with know-how, ability, capital and initiative." David Ben-Gurion also observed that in 1933, immigrations "rose to 30,377, in 1934, to 42,259, and in 1935, 62,000." This fact reminds us of Psalm 76:11: "Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee; the residue of wrath shalt Thou gird upon Thee."