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First Zionist Congress Took Place, 1897

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

On This Day in Jewish History: AUgust 29th, 1897

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#onthisday, 1897, history was made at the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland.

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The Zionist Congress was called by Theodor Herzl to be a symbolic Parliament for those who believed in Zionism and wanted to implement its reality.

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The Congress supposed to meet in Munich but the local Jews opposed it and therefore, was held in Basel.

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This historic event was attended by approximately 200 people from 17 countries including 69 delegates from Zionist organizations (2nd image)

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The Congress began with a formal opening followed by discussions and votes. The agenda of the Congress was: presenting Herzl’s plans, establishing the World Zionist Organization, and the decleration of the Basel program.

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The Basel program stated “the aim of Zionism is to create for the Jewish people a home in Eretz Israel secured by law.”

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They were going to do this by 1) Promoting purchase of land and settlement by farmers, artisans, and manufacturers, 2) Uniting Jewry using local and international organizations, 3) Strengthening the feelings of Jews regarding the Jewish Nation, and 4) Obtaining permission from international governments to create a Jewish Nation State in the Land of Israel.

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At the Congress, it was also decided that Herzl would be the president and they would meet annually.

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Since 1897, the Congress has met yearly with the only exception being during WW2.

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Text Source: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/first-zionist-congress-and-basel-program-1897



✍: @rebeccaroth01

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