1 Million Signatures for Balfour: Herzl's Legacy Coming to Life
November 2 marks the 97th 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 part of IFF’s ongoing Balfour Initiative, to increase awareness of this historical event, this year’s Balfour Day festivities will include the launch of My Herzl, a virtual engagement with Herzl, considered to be the father of modern Zionism and the “architect” of 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.
Herzl's 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.”
Herzl played a pivotal role in the story of the modern State of Israel and while his dream may have been fulfilled, the work of building an exemplary state that unifies Jews worldwide is clearly not finished.
In our continued celebration of Balfour Day, Israel Forever is honored to present each year new opportunities to make Balfour meaningful. This year, we are proud to invite individuals and communities alike to a virtual conversation with David Matlow - Herzl Aficionado - and to the first-ever online screening of his film “My Herzl,” made with his brother-in-law Eli Tal-El and Ruth Diskin Films.
Israel Forever hopes to not only promote a greater understanding of a longtime father-figure of Jewish history, but to reinforce in the 21st century the international validation that at one time came from all parts of the international community.
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.