IN ITS general outline the story or legend of Theodor Herzl is well-known. Once upon a time there was a Viennese-Jewish dandy and litterateur who had established a reputation as a gifted but rather frivolous playwright and journalist. As a correspondent for the famous Vienna daily, Neue Freie Presse, he was given the task of covering the Dreyfus trial in Paris. The anti-Semitic outbursts which the trial produced from every level of French society, supposedly the most enlightened in Europe, shocked him into a new awareness of his own Jewishness, which had hitherto meant little to him, and of the dangers which confronted the entire Jewish people. In this state of shock he hurriedly composed his most famous book, The Jewish State: An Attempt at a Modern Solution of the Jewish Question; then he went on immediately to create, almost single-handedly, a political movement dedicated to bringing into being the state which his book had proposed. Nine years later, at the age of forty-four, he was dead, having utterly exhausted himself in constant effort on behalf of his great cause. Initially he was derided as a madman and visionary both by Jews he was trying to save and by the Gentiles whose support lie tried to solicit. Today his portrait hangs in the chamber of the Israel parliament (the Knesset) in Jerusalem; on a hilltop nearby, which bears his name and which overlooks the city, his body lies enshrined.
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