Herzl’s Unfinished Business – The Zionist Imperative Today
Dr. David Breakstone, Vice-Chairman, World Zionist Organization
“Those of us who are today prepared to hazard our lives for the Zionist cause would regret having raised a finger if we were able to organize only a new social system and not a more righteous one,” declared Theodor Herzl more than a century ago.
The visionary of the Jewish state, who far too often is mistakenly perceived as having concerned himself exclusively with seeking a political and territorial solution to the “Jewish question,” was also a passionate advocate of fashioning a utopian society in the Land of Israel. Zionism, he was convinced, would not only bring about an end to anti-Semitism by doing away with the abnormality of Jewish homelessness, but would also give birth to a community characterized by social justice, equal opportunity, diversity of religious expression and the fair distribution of resources.
Unfortunately, we cannot escape the conclusion that Herzl was wrong on both counts. Jews around the world are facing a virulent wave of anti-Semitism on a scale not witnessed since the Holocaust. And Israeli society is plagued by a multiplicity of problems far too serious to dismiss as simply being those that characterize any western democracy.
But that his prophesy has heretofore gone unfulfilled diminishes neither its relevance nor its power to inspire. Only two months before he died, Herzl bequeathed future generations an ethical will that remains as pertinent today as it was a century ago. “I truly believe that even after we possess our land, Zionism will not cease to be an ideal,” he wrote. “For Zionism includes not only the yearning for a plot of promised land legally acquired for our weary people, but also the yearning for moral and spiritual fulfillment.”
There is no better way to honor the father of the Jewish state than to internalize the meaning of these words – and to adopt an action plan aimed at translating his dreams into reality, which is precisely what the World Zionist Organization is all about. The ideals to which we have rededicated ourselves are spelled out in the recently revised Jerusalem Program. The activitiesthrough which we are working to bring about its realization are evident throughout this website.
We invite you to peruse both and determine the way that best suits you to engage with us in continuing to advance the Zionist idea.