Hey it's me, click me to go to the main page, not too hard!
B'siyata d'shmaya - With the help of Heaven
Herzl's "Zionist" Connection Revealed

By Shelomo Alfassá

Published by The Cutting Edge News

(August 14, 2007) Over the many centuries, while the Jewish people were exiled from Eres Yisrael (the land of Israel), Jerusalem, Safed, Hevron and other holy cities, retained a sparse Jewish population, fed by a small but constant stream of pilgrims. A cursory examination of Jewish personalities demonstrates that Sephardim took it upon themselves to migrate to and fortify Eres Yisrael, driven by a sense of historic yearning for their ancestral home. Centuries later, Sephardim continued to not only settle in the land, but were key players in its modern development, although this fact has, regrettably, been often eclipsed in the historical narrative.

Few documents and small bits of history exist on Jewish national liberation and the development of Eres Yisrael, and how the country came to be with assistance and nurturing offered by Sephardic Jews. It is with tremendous ignominy that the Sephardim have been almost completely marginalized in the modern Zionist record of history. Whether they came from Spain, North Africa or the Middle East, what is fact and needs to be remembered is that Sephardim played a considerable role in the State’s origins and modern fruition. Through out their centuries in the Diaspora, Sephardim developed and devoted a sense of philosophical and spiritual nationalism that prepared the foundation for which modem Zionism stood on, and the resulting fruit which is the return of the Jewish people to their land.

"The idea that 'Zionism' originated with Theodore Hertzl is a myth
that has circulated since the secular-Ashkenazim arrived in Palestine."

The former Spanish speaking Chief Rabbi of Ottoman Bosnia, Rabbi Yehuda Alkalay (1798-1878), was writing on Zionism while Theodore Hertzl was still only a small child. Hertzl’s grandfather, Simon Loeb Hertzl, was a disciple of Rabbi Alkalay who for most of his life had lived near Belgrade. Hertzl’s grandfather attended Alkalay’s synagogue and the two frequently visited. Simon Hertzl “had his hands on” one of the first copies of Alkalay’s 1857 book prescribing the “return of the Jews to the Holy Land and renewed glory of Jerusalem.” Contemporary scholars conclude that Hertzl’s own implementation of modem Zionism was undoubtedly influenced by the relationship with the Sephardic rabbi and his Zionistic aspirations. The idea that 'Zionism' originated with Theodore Hertzl is a myth that has circulated since the secular Ashkenazim arrived in Palestine.


Shelomo Alfassa is an international advocate for Sephardic Jewry. He is the Director of the U.S. Campaign for the ‘International Rights and Redress Campaign’ seeking justice, rights and redress for Jews from Arab countries.


RETURN HOME or Sign the Guest Book

© Shelomo Alfassá