Israeli President Herzog: "We Must Reclaim Zionism"

(JNS) Speaking in Basel, Switzerland, on Aug. 29, 2022, on the 125th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress, Israeli President Isaac Herzog said: "Today, 125 years after that formative moment when a handful of pioneering, inspirational Zionist leaders changed human and Jewish history forever here in Basel, the cradle of political Zionism, in the hall where Theodor Herzl opened the First Zionist Congress, I stand before you as the President of the State of Israel, having come from Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the nation-state of the Jewish People, the State of Israel, the fulfillment of the dreams and prayers of so many generations." "Herzl was Zionism's greatest instigator. He translated Jewish identity into an effective political doctrine, and he opened up the possibility for Jews to experience their identity as an independent political community, as a state." "Herzl's vision...sought to create a new space for the Jewish People, a space that was at once political, diplomatic, territorial and cultural. A space in which the Jewish People could continue arguing, debating and making decisions about their great dilemmas...but without the fears...of anti-Semitism and persecution...and the fear of assimilation to the point of the erasure of identity, culture and spirituality." "A year ago...a major social media company had considered...whether the word 'Zionist' should be censored on social a term of abuse....I was appalled because, inconceivably, at no point did anyone suggest that 'Zionist' might actually be a positive term!" "We must reclaim the term 'Zionism' for ourselves, with our heads held high and our backs straight, as an expression of our own national identity, traditions, hopes, pride, enlightened values, justice and commitment to tikkun olam....This is the mission of our generation." "From a Jewish and Israeli perspective, Zionism means populating the Land of Israel and building Israeli society; it means...the perpetual pursuit of peace and coexistence with members of all peoples and faiths living in Israel and in the whole Middle East." "Our generation's Zionism is expressed in its essential contribution to building whole worlds of intellect and culture, across the world; extending assistance to people in disaster zones; to providing economic, medical and welfare support for those who need it; to waging an all-out war on hatred and violence."

2022-09-01 00:00:00

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