Theodor Herzl (1860—1904) was raised in a comfortable Jewish middle-class home. Moving from Budapest, where he was born, to Vienna, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, he started to practice law, but soon turned to journalism, writing from Paris for the leading Vienna newspaper. A keen observer of the contemporary scene, he vigorously agitated for the ideal of an independent Jewish state. It was not a new idea but one whose time had come. Nationalist ferment was rising everywhere, often combined with virulent anti- Semitism. Under the circumstances, Herzl argued, security for Jews could be guaranteed only by a separate national state for Jews, preferably in Palestine. In 1896 he published his program in a book, Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State), in which he envisaged a glorious future for an independent Jewish state harmoniously cooperating with the local population.
In the following year he presided over the first Congress of Zionist Organizations held in Basel (Switzerland), attended mostly by Jews from central and eastern Europe. In its program the congress called for “a publicly guaranteed homeland for the Jewish people in the land of Israel.” Subsequently, Herzl negotiated with the German emperor, the British government, and the sultan of the Ottoman Empire (of which Palestine was a part) for diplomatic support. In 1901 the Jewish National Fund was created to help settlers purchase land in Palestine. At his death, Herzl firmly expected a Jewish state to arise sometime in the future. The following excerpts from his book express the main points in his plea for a Jewish state.You can also read the full book online at the link bellow.