Theodor Herzl: Outsider as National Leader:
Is the Price Cultural Assimilation?
THE political leadership of underprivileged groups – working-class parties, oppressed national groups, Jews and Negroes in the United States-has often, it has been observed, been drawn from “outsiders.” Herzl was such an outsider-an assimilated Western intellectual who returned, following the classic example of that outsider who became a leader-Moses.
Somewhat paradoxically in such cases- certainly it was so with both Moses and Herzl-the fact that the leader is a stranger helps to win him acceptance. As Shmarya Levin said, had Moses risen from the ranks of the enslaved Jews to urge them to free themselves he would have been rejected. Just because the people saw that the ideas of such a leader could not have arisen from their tradition, they could all the more easily accept him as inspired.
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