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Theodor Herzl meets Wilhelm II in Jerusalem (1898)

As the founder of the Zionist movement, Theodor Herzl (1860-1904) sought to create a nation-state for European Jews in the wake of the resurgent anti-Semitism of the 1890s. An Austrian Jew and the author of Der Judenstaat [The Jewish State], Herzl laid the groundwork for the state of Israel. Kaiser Wilhelm II entertained an expansionist vision for German foreign policy, and his support for Herzl’s project in the Middle East was part of this vision. Often erratic and self-defeating, Wilhelm’s strategy of undermining France and Great Britain led to oscillating German support for Muslims and Jews in the region.

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At 1:08 pm.

We have already returned from the audience.

This brief reception will be treasured in the history of the Jews for all times, and it is not impossible that it will also have historical consequences.

But how odd were the details of the entire event.

We finished our cursory lunch at around 11:30. I insisted that my gentlemen keep a strict diet so they would be in good form.

Around 12 we were all dressed. Bodenheimer had a grotesque top hat, and his cuffs were so wide that the shirtsleeves kept sliding out. At the last moment we had to dig up other cuffs for him.

I had put on my shabby Medschidje medal (for the first time).

I did not let anyone take bromine – as Marcou Baruch said in Basel: je ne le voulais pas pour l’histoire. [I didn’t want it, for the sake of history].

Et j’avais raison! [And I was right!]

Under the burning noonday sun and through white dust we drove to the tents. A few Jews in the streets looked up as we drove by. Ducks in the marsh, when the wild ducks fly overhead.

At the fence enclosing the tents, the Turkish guards hesitated to admit me and Schnirer. Then came a non-commissioned officer who let us pass.

Inside the enclosed room, Count v. Kessel, in colonial uniform, came up to meet us and pointed to a reception tent. We stood there for about ten minutes and inspected the small salon with the colorful rugs and furniture.

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