I just read such an interesting, informative, and even touching speech by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu about Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl’s Jewish identity.
It is quite worth while reading the whole speech. He speaks about how there is a widely accepted idea that Herzl, the father of Zionism, was an unaffiliated Jew. Netanyahu brings proof to show that this was not actually the case. Here is a touching quote from his speech:
“While in Basel he wrote of the experience of being called to the Torah before the Congress in Basel. I will read to you what he wrote before the meeting of the First Zionist Congress: ‘Out of respect for my religion, on the Sabbath before the Congress I went to synagogue. The head of the community called me to read from the Torah, and when I went to the podium I was more moved than on any of the days of the Congress.’ He adds, ‘The few words of blessing in Hebrew got caught in my throat from emotion, more than the opening speech and the closing speech or any of the discussions.'”
I must say that I find it quite intriguing and exciting that this is the topic on which Netanyahu chose to focus on Herzl Day this year. He mentions that he recently read an historical book about Herzl and so I’m sure there were plenty of potential topics there for this speech, and yet he felt it most important, for whatever reason, to bring up this topic.
It is true that even if a lie is repeated many many times, it is still a lie. So, I can see how this topic is important just for the fact that, apparently, there is a wide-spread misunderstanding about it. But besides that, why did Netanyahu choose this topic on which to focus?
You can read the speech here. Recommended.