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The Jewish State
Theodor Herzl's Program for Zionism

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These men will have three tasks to perform: (1) An accurate, scientific investigation of all natural resources of the country; (2) the organization of a strictly centralized administration; (3) the distribution of land. These tasks intersect one another, and will all be carried out in canformity with the now familiar object in view.

One thing remains to be explained -- namely, how the occupation of land according to local groups is to take place.

In America the occupation of newly opened territory is set about in naive fashion. The settlers assemble on the frontier, and at the appointed time make a simultaneous and violent rush for their portions.

We shall not proceed thus to the new land of the Jews. The lots in provinces and towns will be sold by auction, and paid for, not ih money, but in work. The general plan will have settled on streets, bridges, waterworks, etc., necessary for traffic. These will be united into provinces. With- in these provinces sites for towns will be similarly sold by auction. The local groups will pledge themselves to carry the business property through, and will cover the cost by means of self-imposed assessments. The Society will be in a position to judge whether the local groups are not venturing on sacrifices too great for their means. The large communities will receive large sites for their activity. Great sacrifices will thus be rewarded by the establishment of universities, technical schools, academies, research insti- tutes, etc., and these Government institutes, which do not have to be concentrated in the capital, will be distributed over the country.

The personal interest of the buyers, and, if necessary, the lacal assessment, will guarantee the proper working of what has been taken over. In the same way, as we cannot, and indeed do not wish to obliterate distinctions between single individuals, so the differences between local groups will also continue. Everything will shape itself quite naturally. All acquired rights will be protected, and every new development will be given sufficient scope.

Our people will be made thoroughly acquainted with all these matters.

We shall not take others unawares or mislead them, any more than we shall deceive ourselves.

Everything must be systematically settled beforehand. I merely indicate this scheme: our keenest thinkers will combine in elaborating it. Every social and technical achievement of our age and of the more advanced age which will be reached before the slow execution of my plan is accomplished must be employed for this object. Every valuable invention which exists now, or lies in the future, must be used. By these means a country can be occupied and a State founded in a manner as yet unknown to history, and with possibilities of success such as never occurred before.

CONSTITUTION

One of the great commissions which the Society will have to appoint will be the council of State jurists. These must formulate the best, that is, the best modern constitution possible. I believe that a good constitution should be of moderately elastic nature. In another work I have explained in detail what forms of government I hold to be the best. I think a democratic monarchy and an aristocratic republic are the finest forms of a State, because in them the form of State and the principle of government are opposed to each other, and thus preserve a true balance of power. I am a staunch supporter of monarchial institutions, because these allow of a continuous policy, and represent the interests of a historically famous family born and educated to rule, whose desires are bound up with the preservation of the State. But our history has been too long interrupted for us to attempt direct continuity of ancient constitutional forms, without exposing ourselves to the charge of absurdity.

A democracy without a sovereign's useful counterpoise is extreme in appreciation and condemnation, tends to idle discussion in Parliaments, and produces that objectionable class of men -- professional politicians. Nations are also really not tit for unlimited democracy at present, and will become less and less fitfed for it in the future. For a pure democracy presupposes a predominance of simple customs, and our customs become daily more complex with the growth of commerck and increase of culture. "Le ressort d'une democracie est la vertu," said wise Montesquieu. nnd where is this virtue, that is to say, this political virtue, to be met with? I do not believe in our political virtue; first, because we are no better than the rest of modern humanity; and, secondly, because freedom will make us show our fighting qualities at first. I also hold a settling of questions by the referendum to be an unsatisfactory procedure, because there are no simple political questions which can be answered merely by Yes and No. The masses are also more prone even than Parliaments to be led away by heterodox opinions, and to be swayed by vigorous ranting. It is impossible to formulate a wise internal or external policy in a popular assembly.

Politics must take shape in the upper strata and work downwards. But no member of the Jewish State will be oppressed, every man will be able and will wish to rise in it. Thus a great upward tendency will pass through our people; every individual by trying to raise himself, raising also the whole body of citizens. The ascent will take a normal form, useful to the State and serviceable to the National Idea.

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Translated from the German by Sylvie D'Avigdor
This edition published in 1946 by the American Zionist Emergency Council

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