PM invokes Herzl in first speech to Knesset’s summer session

“Herzl contributed to the regeneration of our people on three levels. First, he clearly saw the danger of murderous anti-Semitism; second, he was the first statesman of our people in the modern era; and third, he called to integrate into the development of the Jewish state — once it was established — the ancient tradition of our people with technological progress,” Netanyahu says during his first address to the Knesset plenum.

“Herzl understood that the only solution for the problem of anti-Semitism is a nation-state that can absorb the persecuted Jews. We paid a hefty price for the passing away of the visionary of Zionism and for the fact that his successors didn’t act on time. This lesson stands in front of us very clearly even today,” continues Netanyahu. “The state of Israel cannot allow itself not to identify danger on the horizon, and preparing for danger is crucial.”

“In the second level acting on the international arena Herzl had a double weapon, the strong belief in allowing the Jewish people to establish a home in our country and shaping our fate, but also the understanding that at the basis of international relations there are interests, and this is why he wanted to create alliances based on interests and this is why he met with leaders who were not great fans of Jews.

“He convinced us that it would benefit their regimes to support Zionism. Herzl managed his battles with his head high, not as someone begging for his life. He stressed at every possibility that a shared interest can be productive for both sides. He understood that when interests collide, we must stand strong and fight forcefully. This is all relevant to our time too,” continues the PM.

“On the third level, Herzl set out a vision of a progressive and prosperous Jewish state. What is described in his novel Altneuland is a pretty accurate copy. Herzl, too, would be astounded at what we have achieved in 67 years of existence. Herzl understood there are tremendous forces within us helping us prevail against all odds,” Netanyahu adds.

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