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October 18, 1898 Theodor Herzl Meets Kaiser Wilhelm II  Of German in Palestine

October 18, 1898 Theodor Herzl Meets Kaiser Wilhelm II  Of German in Palestine

Eight o’clock in the evening, at the hotel

After the audience with the Kaiser, which I will enter tomor­row en route.

I had arranged with the Kaiser and with Bulow that this very evening I would submit the draft of my address in Palestine (e.g. October 29, 1898).


Your Imperial and Royal Majesty!

Most Gracious Kaiser and Lord!

Thus the Zionist movement of today is a fully Modern one. It grows out of the situations and conditions of present-day life, and aims at solving the Jewish Question on the basis of the possibilities of our time. Indeed, we believe that we may finally succeed now, because mankind has grown so rich in means of communication and technical achievements. Enterprises that would have seemed fantastic as recently as half a century ago are commonplace today. Steam power and electricity have altered the face of the earth. Humane conclusions should be drawn from this as well.

Above all, we have aroused the national consciousness of our scattered brethren. At the Congresses of Basel the program of our movement was formulated before all the world. It is: The creation, under public law, of a home for the Jewish people.

This is the land of our fathers, a land suitable for colonization and cultivation. Your Majesty has seen the country. It cries out for people to work it. And we have among our brethren a fright­ful proletariat. These people cry out for a land to cultivate. Now we should like to create a new welfare out of these states of dis­tress-of the land and of the people-by the systematic combina­tion of both. We consider our cause so fine, so worthy of the sym­pathy of the most magnanimous minds, that we are requesting Your Imperial Majesty’s exalted aid for the project.

But we would not venture to do so if our plan contained any­thing that could offend or encroach upon the ruler of this land. Your Imperial Majesty’s friendship with His Majesty the Sultan is so well known that there can be no doubt as to the intentions of those who are turning to Your Majesty for the most gracious transmission of their desires.

We are honestly convinced that the implementation of the Zionist plan must mean welfare for Turkey as well. Energies and material resources will be brought to the country; a mag­nificent fructification of desolate areas may easily be foreseen; and from all this there will arise more happiness and more cul­ture for many human beings.

Our idea offends no one’s rights or religious feelings; it breathes long-desired reconciliation. We understand and respect the devotion of all faiths to the soil on which, after all, the faith of our fathers, too, arose.

Source: Diaries of Theodore Herzl, Central Zionist Archive

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