Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took part in a state memorial ceremony on Tuesday evening marking 111 years since the passing of Theodor (Binyamin Ze'ev) Herzl, widely hailed as the father of political Zionism and a leading figure in establishing the modern Jewish state.
"Since the days of Herzl the world order has changed. World powers rose and fell, revolutions occurred, great wars took place, but his (Herzl's) doctrine continues to live and exist," noted Netanyahu.
Herzl was born in Hungary in 1860 and passed in 1904. He is viewed as a visionary with a somewhat mixed legacy given his proposals that the Jewish state be established in Uganda and that German be the official language instead of Hebrew; however, his work in pressing for the return of the Jewish people to their historical homeland and reestablishing an independent Jewish state is undisputed.
The prime minister declared "Zionism triumphed, it arose and became established. We have created our security, we took in olim (Jewish immigrants) from all ends of the earth, we made the land bloom and we created a thriving economy and impressive accomplishments in science and industry."
Netanyahu then turned his attention to the nuclear talks being conducted between world powers and Iran in Vienna. As the extended deadline for a final deal rolled around on Tuesday, it was announced that the deadline has been postponed yet again to this Friday.
"The strengthening aggression of Iran is several times more dangerous than that of Daesh, which is plenty dangerous," said Netanyahu, referring to the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group by its Arabic acronym.
"This aggression to reach every corner of the world is its (Iran's) true goal – to in the end rule over it (the world)," warned the prime minister.
He emphasized that "Iran, the largest terror patron in the world, is extorting the world powers into more and more concessions. Iran is the greatest threat to the world and it is building a widening chain of terror."
President Reuven Rivlin also addressed the ceremony, saying, "Herzl dreamed of the Jewish State, in which Jews could exercise their right to self-determination, but rather than settle for just that, would seek to become a state, the values of which are both Jewish and humane, where the love of Israel and the love of mankind are entwined as one."
He called to reach a "vision of equality – which maintains the balance between the Jewish and democratic identity of the state, and the dignity and identity of all its citizens."