1 Million Signatures for Balfour: Herzl's Legacy Coming to Life
November 2 marks the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration - a document that many consider to be the first step in the formation of a physical state for the Jewish people when Lord Balfour proclaimed “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish People.”
Just as this represented the first political recognition of Jewish nationalism by a world power, it was also a reflection of the philosophical, practical, and spiritual meaning behind the historical link of the Jewish nation to its ancient homeland.
Once celebrated in Jewish communities worldwide and for well over a decade, the annual celebration of Balfour Day brought hope to those who dreamt of someday having a homeland where they could live free from persecution and hate, as Jews in their own home.
As we near the Balfour Centenary, Israel Forever's ongoing Balfour Initiative continues to increase awareness of the significance of this monumental historical event through content, resources, programming and activism. Our hope is to inspire local celebrations, learning opportunities, and informal activities for communities, families, and groups that emphasize the relevance of Balfour then, now and for the future.
Herzl, the father of modern Zionism, is considered to be inspiration for the Balfour Declaration by setting a precedent with his idealism, passion, and commitment to the fulfillment of an ancient longing of our return to Tzion. His dream, along with the proliferation of political Zionism among Jewish communities worldwide, sparked the fateful meeting between Chaim Weizmann and Foreign Secretary Balfour in 1906. The result is history: a letter declaring a Jewish national home in the biblical land of the Jews.
Dr. Elana Heideman, Executive Director of The Israel Forever Foundation and visionary behind The Balfour Initiative explains,
“Herzl’s legacy comes to life through the Balfour Declaration, which laid the foundation for the establishment of our modern Jewish State. With the delegitimization efforts rising all over the world, it becomes even more important for us to demonstrate the international recognition and affirmation that accompanied the creation of Israel every step of the way.”
In our continued celebration of Balfour Day, Israel Forever is honored to present new tools and resources for Teaching Balfour and Celebrating Balfour - two keys elements in advancing awareness, understanding and pride in the Declaration heard around the world (link to that blog) .
To further highlight and protect the legacy and value of these historical developments, the 1Millionfor100Years campaign unites voices for Israel from around the world committed to the spirit and integrity of the Balfour Declaration. Together, we can show the world that the international recognition of the historic and indigenous rights of the Jewish People to Israel continues beyond Balfour and towards a brighter tomorrow.
In partnership with the Knesset UK-Israel Interparliamentary Friendship Group, the World Zionist Organization, the American Zionist Movement and other organizations from across the globe, our collective voice will remind world leaders and Jewish communities alike that the State of Israel was established with the full backing and support of the international community, protected and affirmed through international law, and recognized throughout the world.The Balfour Declaration served as a reflection of the historical link of the Jewish nation to its ancient homeland, understood and acknowledged for 2000 years since our exile from the Land of Israel. The Balfour Initiative can preserve and affirm that recognition for generations to come.
To highlight the legacy and value of these historical developments, The Israel Forever Foundation is inviting the public to join in collecting 1 million signatures by the 100th anniversary of the declaration: November 2, 2017.
These signatures are meant to serve as a global reminder that Israel was established with the full backing and support of the international community and emphasize that the Jewish connection to Israel perpetuates throughout our world today.
This is a great way for schools, youth movements, congregations and communities to inspire an understanding and connection to Herzl's legacy and the importance of the Balfour Declaration! We hope everyone will share this important initiative so that, together, we can present the initiative to world bodies, organizations, and heads of state and protect the legacy of this important step in the history of Israel and the Jewish People.