In 1897, Theodor Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland. 204 people from 17 countries attended. Herzl had called them together to lay the ground work for the creation of a legal homeland for the Jewish people. The meeting resulted in the "Basel Program". It created the World Zionist Organization with Herzl as President, and the following aims: 1) Promoting the settlement in their biblical homeland of Jews who had experience in trade, agriculture, and the arts. 2) Uniting the Jewish communities spread across the world through the establishment of local and international organizations. 3) Preserving and increasing the Jewish sense of consciousness and identity. 4) Taking prepatory steps to gain the consent of governments necessary to achieve the organization's goals. Six Zionist Congresses were held from 1897 to 1902. Herzl died in 1904 and was buried in Vienna. In 1949, he was reburied on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem.
The three coins are a gold 10 sheqel and silver 2 and 1 sheqel coins. Their common obverse reproduces a famous photo. It shows Herzl leaning on the balcony of his hotel in Basel. There, as he overlooks the Rhine River, he contemplates the solution to what some in Europe called the Judenfrage or "Jewish Problem". The Hebrew text translates, "If you will it, it is no fantasy." The reverse has the denomination and date, Israeli State Emblem, and a Star of David symbolic of the Zionist movement. The legend around the edge reads "Centennial of the First Zionist Congress--Basel 1897" in Hebrew and English."
For more information, contact: Israel Government Coins and Medals, Corporation, Ltd.
PO Box 7900, Jerusalem 91078, Israel. Tel # 011-972-2-5600147, Fax# 011-972-2-5634496,
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