Zionism is the national movement espousing repatriation of Jews to their homeland - the Land of Israel - and the resumption of sovereign Jewish life there.
Yearning for Zion and Jewish immigration continued throughout the long period of exile, following the Roman conquest and the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. This yearning took on a new form in the nineteenth century, when modern nationalism, liberalism and emancipation forced the Jews to contend with new questions, which the Zionist movement tried to answer. The Hibbat Zion movement began to coalesce in the second half of the nineteenth century, but the change of substance occurred later, when Theodor Herzl energized and consolidated Zionism into a political movement by convening the First Zionist Congress in 1897. Herzl was the first to bring the Jewish problem to world attention, and make the Jewish people a player in the world political arena. The Zionist movement which developed from his initiative also created organizational, political and economic tools to implement its vision and ideology.
The Zionist movement enunciated its goals - a national home for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel - in the Basle Program. Apart from the movements that rejected the idea of national revival, Zionism included diverse groups, from Religious Zionism to Socialist Zionism. All of them cooperated towards the aim of the Jewish National Home, an enterprise that culminated in the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.
To mark the centenary of the Zionist movement which had its formal beginnings at the First Zionist Congress, held in Basle, Switzerland on 29 August 1897, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is publishing a series af publications about Zionism. The series will illustrate the basic ideas of Zionism, the philosophy of the Zionist movement and its major personalities. It tells the story of the political struggle for the Land, the battle for security, the efforts to increase the population, to settle the land and to build the foundatians of a state for the Jewish people. The series concludes with an overview of the achievements of the State of Israel in its first 50 years.