The World Zionist Organization is holding a spectacular 125th anniversary celebration of the First Zionist Congress convened by Theodor Herzl. The cost of the event ranges between 6 Million dollars to 9 Million dollars, with much of the funding coming from the Jewish National Fund and Keren Keyemet LeIsrael who owns about 12 percent of the land in Israel. Housing for the guests is at some of the higher rated, higher priced hotels in the area. The guests include some Israeli officials, including President Isaac Herzog. At the First Zionist Congress in 1897, Herzl stayed at the exclusive Hotel Trois Rois (Three Kings) and took the now famous picture of him looking out the room’s balcony overlooking the Rhine River. President Herzog hopes to duplicate the pose from the same balcony.
While a remarkable milestone, not everyone is happy with the extravagance and expense of the celebration. Additionally, the event has limited exposure for virtual guests to participate in the festivities. “Only the gala event scheduled for Monday night will be live streamed on the World Zionist Organization Facebook page. The rest of the multi-day event, including most of the speeches by top Israeli and Jewish officials will not.”
The controversy and criticism notwithstanding, the historic achievement deserves recognition. One statement Herzl made at the conference resonates today, “To those who will it, it is no dream.” He also declared, “Within fifty years, there will be a Jewish state!” Amazingly, in 1947 the United Nations began to consider the possibility of a Jewish state in Israel. The next year, in 1948, it became a reality.
Happy Anniversary, indeed, to the First Zionist Congress and its visionary, Theodor Herzl. Am Yisrael Chai! The People of Israel Live!
Source: The Times of Israel