ז' סיון התשע"ח

The Jewish State: The Jewish State - IV. Local Groups

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Author: Theodor Herzl


So far it has only been shown how the emigration may be carried out without an economic upheaval. But such an emigration also involves many deep and powerful emotions. There are old customs and memories which bind all of us to certain places. We have cradles and we have graves, and it is well known what graves mean to Jewish hearts. Our cradles we shall take along; in them there slumbers our future, rosy and smiling. Our beloved graves we shall have to leave behind; I think this is what we covetous people will find it hardest to part from, but it will have to be.

Economic distress, political pressure, and social hatred are already driving us from our homes and from our graves. We Jews are even now constantly moving from one country to another; a strong current even carries us across the sea to the United States, where we are not liked either. Where will people want us as long as we have no homeland of our own?

But we will give the Jews a homeland-not by forcibly uprooting them from their soil, but by lifting them out carefully, roots and all, and transplanting them in better ground. Just as we want to create new economic and political conditions, we intend to keep sacred all emotional attachments to the past. This theme can only be briefly touched upon, for at this point the danger is greatest that my plan will be considered overly romantic.

And yet this, too, is possible and real, though it now occurs in actuality in a tangled and ineffectual form. Organization can turn it into something rational.


Our people are to emigrate in groups of families and friends. No one will be forced to join the group departing from his present locality. Everyone may go the way he wants to after he has settled his affairs. After all, everyone will be paying his own way, in whatever class of railroad and ship he chooses. It is possible that our trains and boats will have only one class. On such long trips the poor are bothered by differences in wealth. And even though we are not taking our people across for entertainment, we still do not wish to spoil their good humor on the way.

No one will travel under conditions of hardship, but everything in the way of elegant comfort will be available. People will make arrangements far in advance - even in the most favorable circumstances it will be years before the movement gets rolling among the individual propertied classes - and the well-to-do will form traveling parties. All personal connections will be taken along. We know that, with the exception of the wealthiest, Jews have almost no social relations with Gentiles. In some countries those Jews who do not support a few dinner-table parasites, spongers, and flunkeys have no Gentile acquaintances whatever. The ghetto continues to exist within.

Therefore, those of average means will make prolonged and careful preparations for departure. Every locality will form a group. In large cities there will be several district groups which will communicate by means of elected representatives. There is nothing obligatory about this division into districts; it is actually intended only as an aid to those less well-to-do and to obviate discomfort and homesickness during the trip. Everyone is free to travel alone or to join any Local Group whatever. The conditions will be the same for all travelers of a particular class. If a traveling party is large enough, the Company will give it a special train and thereafter a special boat.

Suitable living accommodations for the poorer people will be provided by the Company's housing office. Later on, when the more prosperous emigrate, their easily foreseeable lodging needs will have encouraged private enterprise to build hotels. Besides, the well-to-do emigrants will have built their houses beforehand, so that they need only move from an abandoned old home into a finished new one.

There is no need for us to assign tasks to our intelligentsia. Every man who rallies behind the National Idea will know how to propagate it and translate it into action in his own circle. We shall make a special appeal for the participation of our spiritual leaders.


Each group will have its Rabbi who will travel with his congregation. All groupings will be voluntary. A Local Group will have a Rabbi as its nucleus; there will be as many such groups as there are Rabbis. For the Rabbis will be the first to understand us, to be enthusiastic about the cause, and they will impart their enthusiasm to the others from their pulpits. There will be no need to call any special assemblies with a lot of blather. The appeal will be included in the religious service, and properly so. We recognize our historic identity only by the faith of our fathers, because we have long since inextinguishably absorbed the languages of various nationalities.

The Rabbis will then regularly receive the announcements of the Society and the Company, and they will share them with, and explain them to, their congregations. Israel will pray for us and for itself.


The Local Groups will appoint small committees of representatives under the chairmanship of the Rabbis. The committees will discuss and decide all practical issues in accordance with local needs.

Charitable institutions will be freely transferred by the Local Groups. Endowed institutions will remain with their original Local Group on the other side. The buildings should not be sold, in my opinion, but donated to needy Gentiles in the cities concerned. When land is distributed over there, the Local Groups will receive credit for this in the form of free building sites and special consideration in construction.

The transfer of charitable institutions will provide another of those opportunities which occur at a number of different points in this plan to make an experiment in the service of humanity. Our present disorganized system of private philanthropy does little good in proportion to the expenditure involved. These institutions can and must be organized in such a way that they will supplement one another. In a new society these institutions can be set up in accordance with modern ideas and on the basis of all available socio-political experience. This matter is of great importance to us, since we have a large number of paupers. The weaker characters among us, disheartened by external pressure and spoiled by the flabby charity of our rich men, easily degenerate to beggary.

The Society, supported by the Local Groups, will give its full attention to educating the people in this respect. A fertile soil will be created for many energies that are now withering away uselessly. Whoever is willing shall be suitably employed. Beggars will not be tolerated. Anyone who refuses to work of his own free will is going to be put in a workhouse.

On the other hand, we shall not relegate our old people to homes for the aged. Such homes are one of the most cruel forms of charity that our fatuous benevolence has devised. In a home for the aged an old person dies of shame and grief. Actually, he is buried alive there. But we will leave even those on the lowest level of intelligence the comforting illusion of usefulness till the end of their lives. Those incapable of physical labor shall be given light tasks. We must take into account the atrophied arms of an already enfeebled generation. But future generations shall be brought up differently: in freedom for freedom.

We shall seek for all ages, for all walks of life, the moral blessings of labor. Thus will our people regain its skill in the land of the seven-hour working day.


The Local Groups will delegate their authorized representatives to select sites for towns. In the distribution of land every precaution will be taken to ensure a gentle transplantation and the preservation of all rightful claims.

The Local Groups will have plans of the towns. Our people will know beforehand where they are going, in what towns and in what houses they will live. The building plans and the clear illustrations which are to be distributed among the Local Group have already been mentioned.

Just as strict centralization will be the principle of our administration, the principle for the Local Groups will be full autonomy. Only in this way can the transplanting be accomplished painlessly.

I do not imagine all this to be easier than it actually is; on the other hand, people should not imagine it to be harder.


The middle classes will automatically be drawn along by our movement. Some will have their sons on the other side, as officials of the Society or employees of the Company. Lawyers, doctors, engineers of every description, young businessmen - in fact, all Jews in search of opportunity who are now fleeing oppression in their native lands to make a living in other parts of the world - will assemble on a soil so full of promise. Others will have daughters married to such up-and-coming men. Then one of our young people will send for his fiancee, another for his parents, brothers, and sisters. In a new civilization people marry young. This can only benefit general morality, and we shall have sturdy offspring-not those delicate children of fathers who have married late, having already spent their energies in life's struggles.

Every middle-class emigrant will pull others of his kind along.

Naturally, the best of the new world will belong to the most courageous.

Here, to be sure, seems to lie the greatest difficulty of the plan.

Even if we succeed in initiating a serious worldwide discussion of the Jewish Question -

Even if this discussion leads to the most unequivocal conclusion that the Jewish State is a world necessity –

Even if we acquire sovereignty over some territory through the support of the Powers -

How do we get the Jewish masses to move from their present homes to this new country without coercion?

For do we not always envisage their emigration as a voluntary one?


Great exertion will hardly be necessary to stimulate the migration. The anti-Semites are already taking care of this for us. They need only do what they are doing now, and the desire of the Jews to emigrate will arise where it does not exist and intensify where it is already present. If Jews now remain in anti-Semitic countries, they do so chiefly because even those among them who are ignorant of history know that the numerous changes of residence over the centuries have not brought us any lasting benefits. If today there were a country where the Jews were welcomed and offered even fewer advantages than will be assured when the Jewish State comes into being, that country would immediately attract a great influx of Jews. The poorest, who have nothing to lose, would drag themselves there. But I maintain, and everyone will know for himself whether this is true or not, that as a result of the pressure weighing upon us there is a desire to emigrate even among our prosperous classes. Actually, our poorest strata alone would suffice to found a State; in fact, they are the most suitable human material for acquiring a land, because a little bit of desperation is necessary for great ventures.

But as our "desperados" raise the value of the land by their arrival and their labor, they will gradually entice people of greater means as well to follow them.

Higher and yet higher strata will become interested in going across. The expedition of the first and poorest settlers will be directed jointly by the Society and the Company, and in this they will probably be supported by the existing emigration and Zion societies.

How can a multitude be directed to a particular spot without being given a command?

There are certain Jewish philanthropists on a grand scale who wish to alleviate Jewish suffering through Zionistic experiments. These benefactors have already had to face this problem, and they thought they were solving it when they provided the emigrants with money or means of employment. Thus a philanthropist would say, "I shall pay these people to go there."

That is dead wrong, and all the money in the world cannot pay for it.

The Company, by contrast, will say: "We shall not pay them; we shall make them pay. Only, we are going to offer them something."

I will illustrate this by means of a humorous example. One of those philanthropist - let us call him "The Baron" - and I would like to assemble a crowd of people on the plain of Longchamps near Paris on a hot Sunday afternoon. By promising them 10 francs each, the Baron will bring out 20,000 perspiring, miserable people who will curse him for having inflicted this drudgery upon them.

I, on the other hand, shall offer the 200,000 francs as a prize for the swiftest race horse-and then I shall put up barriers to keep the people off the Longchamps course. Those who want to get in have to pay: 1 franc, 5 francs, 20 francs.

The upshot will be that I shall get half a million people out there; the President of the Republic will drive up a la Daumont. The expression "a la Daumont" originated during the period of the French Restoration and referred to driving in state after the manner of the Duc d'Aumont, the initiator of the four-horse carriage in which the horses were led by two postillions]; and the people will have a good time entertaining one another. Most of them will find the exercise in the open air a pleasure in spite of the heat and the dust, and for my 200,000 francs I shall have collected a million in admissions and betting taxes. I can get those same people out there again any time I want to; but the Baron cannot-not at any price.

Let me give a more serious illustration of the same phenomenon in an economic situation. Try to get someone to shout this in the streets of a city: "Whoever is willing to stand all day long, in the bitter cold of winter or the burning heat of summer, in an iron hall exposed on all sides and there to accost every passer-by and offer him junk, or fish, or fruit, will receive two florins, or four francs, or anything he pleases."

How many people do you suppose will go to that hall? If hunger drove them there, how many days would they stand it? And if they did hold out, how much eagerness would they display in trying to persuade the passers-by to purchase fruit, fish, or junk?

We shall go about it in a different way. In places where trade is active-and these places we can discover all the more easily because we shall channel trade in any direction we please - we shall build large halls and call them markets. These halls could be worse, built and more unhealthy than those I have mentioned, and yet people would flock to them. But we shall make them better and more attractive, applying our best efforts. And the people, to whom we have promised nothing, because we cannot promise them anything without deceiving them, these good, enterprising people will create an atmosphere of fun and do a thriving business. They will tirelessly harangue the buyers; they will stand on their feet and scarcely think of fatigue. They will not only rush there every day so as to be the first on the job, but they will form unions, combines, all sorts of things, just so they can continue this gainful employment undisturbed. And even if it turns out at the end of a day that all their honest work has netted them only a florin-and-a-half, or three francs, or whatever, they will still look forward hopefully to the next day, which may be better for them.

We shall have given them hope.

Would anyone like to know where we are going to get the demand which is needed for the markets? Is it really necessary to spell this out?

I demonstrated earlier that the assistance par le travail will produce a fifteen-fold return: fifteen millions for one million; fifteen billions for one billion.

Well, is this just as true on a large scale as it is on a small one? Does not capital yield a return that diminishes in inverse ratio to its own growth? That is true of inactive capital, capital that has gone into hiding, but not of the active kind. In fact, that kind of capital yields a tremendously increasing return in large amounts. Indeed, this is the crux of the social question.

Am I stating facts? I call on the rich Jews to attest to it. Why do they engage in so many industries? Why do they send men to work underground and bring up coal for meager wages and amidst terrible dangers? I cannot imagine this to be pleasant, even for the owners of the mines. For I do not believe, and do not pretend to believe, that capitalists are heartless. My desire is not to agitate, but to reconcile differences.

Do I need to illustrate the phenomenon of masses and the ways of attracting them to any desired spot by discussing religious pilgrimages, too?

I do not wish to offend anyone's religious sensibilities by words which might be misinterpreted.

I merely cite in passing what the pilgrimage to Mecca means in the Mohammedan world, or what Catholics feel for Lourdes and countless other places, including the Holy Coat of Trier [The Holy Coat of Trier is a treasured relic in the Cathedral of this city. It is a seamless garment supposed to have been worn by Jesus, and, when exhibited in 1844 and 1891 (and again in 1933), it attracted vast crowds of pilgrims] from which people return home comforted by their faith.

Thus we too shall create goals for the deep religious needs of our people. Our clergymen will be the first to understand us and go along with us.

We shall let everyone find salvation over there in his own way. That includes, and very particularly, our beloved freethinkers, our immortal army which is conquering more and more new territory for mankind.

No more force will be applied against anyone than is necessary for the preservation of the State and public order. And the force required will not be arbitrarily determined by whatever person or persons happen to be in authority at a given time, but will reside in iron-clad laws.

Now, if it be inferred from my illustrations that the masses can be attracted to such centers of faith, of business, or of amusement only temporarily, the rebuttal is simple. One of these objects can only attract the masses, but all of the centers combined are designed to hold them and give them permanent satisfaction. For all these centers together constitute a great, long-sought entity, one for which our people has never ceased to yearn, for which it has kept itself alive, for which it has been kept alive by external pressure: a free homeland! Once the movement comes into being, we shall pull some along with us and let others follow; still others will be swept along, and the last will be pushed after us.

These, the hesitating laggards, will be the worst off, both here and on the other side.

But the vanguard, those who go over with faith, enthusiasm, and courage, will have the best places.


There are more misconceptions in circulation about the Jews than about any other people. And our age-old sufferings have made us so depressed and so discouraged that we ourselves parrot and believe these canards. One of them is that Jews have an immoderate love of business. Now, it is well known that wherever we are permitted to share in the rise of classes we quickly give up trading. By far the great majority of Jewish businessmen send their sons to the universities; hence the so-called "Judaization" of all professions. But even in the lower economic strata our love of business is by no means as great as is supposed. In the countries of Eastern Europe there are large masses of Jews who are neither traders nor afraid of hard work. The Society of Jews will be in a position to prepare scientifically accurate statistics of our manpower. The new tasks and prospects that await our people in the new country will satisfy our present craftsmen and transform many of those who are now small tradesmen into manual workers.

A peddler who travels about the country with a heavy pack on his back does not feel as happy as his persecutors imagine. The seven-hour day can convert all these people into workmen. They are good, misunderstood people, who may now be suffering more than anyone else. The Society of Jews will, incidentally, concern itself from the outset with their training as artisans. Their profit motive will have to be stimulated in a wholesale manner. Jews are thrifty, resourceful, and imbued with a strong sense of family. Such men are suited for any gainful employment, and merely making small trading unremunerative will be sufficient to cause even those now active as peddlers to give up this occupation. This could be brought about, for example, by encouraging large department stores which carry all conceivable items. Even now such stores crush small trading in the large cities; in a new civilization they would prevent it from arising altogether. The establishment of these stores would have the further advantage of making the country immediately habitable even for people accustomed to a higher standard of living.


Is a reference, even a passing one, to the little habits and conveniences of the common man in keeping with the serious nature of this pamphlet?

I believe it is. In fact, it is very important. For these little habits are like a thousand fine threads; each of them is thin and fragile, but together they make up an unbreakable cable.

Here, too, narrow preoccupations must be swept away. Whoever has seen anything of the world knows that precisely these small everyday habits can even now be easily transplanted everywhere. Indeed, the technical achievements of our time, which this plan would like to employ in the service of humanity, have heretofore been used chiefly for those little habits. There are English hotels in Egypt and on the mountain peaks of Switzerland, Viennese cafes in South Africa, French theaters in Russia, German opera houses in America, and the best Bavarian beer in Paris.

When we journey out of Mitzraim [Egypt] again, we shall not leave the fleshpots behind.

Everyone can and will find his little habits again in the Local Groups, but they will be better, finer, and more pleasant.

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