5th September 2003 at 01:00
A secular, nationalistic ideology created in the late 19th century by Theodore Herzl, an Austrian Jewish writer, it is based on the belief that the only way to end anti-semitism in the world is to create a Jewish homeland in Israel, the Biblical promised land, for all Jews. Herzl's concept arose at a time of fierce pogroms (anti-Jewish riots and expulsions) throughout Russia and Poland. While the World Zionist Organisation that he established in 1897 attracted interest in Europe and America, most Jews were dismissive of it, concerned that it would ghettoise them and deny them citizenship rights in their own countries. The Nazi Holocaust in the Second World War, leading to the near extermination of European Jewry, wiped away those concerns. However, certain sects of ultra-Orthodox Jewry have always rejected Zionism as a violation of God's will.

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