Zvi Ron

Tales of our Homeland #6: Herzl vs Rothschild!

Notes and Suggestions for further reading: 

This issue demonstrates that sometimes opponents within the same movement both contribute to success in their own way. Despite Rothschild’s fears, and Herzl’s sense of betrayal, each of these men made invaluable contributions to the creation of the State. Take note of Zvi’s use of symbols and caricatures that illustrate the differences between the supporters of Practical and Political Zionism. Zvi’s art gives you a glimpse into the culture gap between Eastern and Western European Jews. 

Panel 1: Rothschild He contributed so much to build cities, farms and institutions that he was known by the Jews in Palestine simply as “HaNadiv HaYahua” – the Known Philanthropist”. It is a cruel irony that the family name is best known for it’s use in antisemitic conspiracy theories

Panel 2: Der Judenstaat. Although usually translated into English as “The Jewish State”, in German that would be “Der Jüdische staat”. A bit pedantic, I know, but it may be meaningful. Howard M. Sacher in his History of Israel suggests that Herzl was making a point. He claims that Jew was “… a word Herzl flung into the teeth of antisemites and of those acculturated Western Jews who preferred such euphemisms as ‘Hebrew’ or ‘Israelite’”. (page 39) 

Panel 3: First Aliyah

Panel 5-6: The source for this meeting in my hands at the moment is Sacher again, on page 43. You can find many of his unflattering observations about Rothschild here. Here are some samples from that site –  

  • Rothschild will hear nothing of the matter. ..What I am doing he considers dangerous because I render the patriotism of the Jews suspect; and, in addition, injurious – namely, to his own Palestinian colonies… 
  •  I asked him [Edmond de Rothschild] how far he was acquainted with my project. Whereat he began to spout: he had heard about me …and lost himself up hill and down dale in a refutation of my program, of which he had no exact knowledge. After five minutes I interrupted him and said: “You do not know what it is about. Let me explain it to you first. I began: A “colony” is a little state; a state is a big “colony”. And I unfolded the plan.
  •  General impression: Edmond [de Rothschild] is a decent, good-natured, faint-hearted man who utterly fails to understand the matter and who would like to call it off as a coward tries to call off an imperative surgical operation. I believe he is now disgusted that he ever began with Palestine. And the fate of millions of persons hangs on such men!

 Panel 7: Mount Herzl & Ramat HaNadiv Memorial Gardens. Types of Zionism

Michael Unterberg (author) and Zvi Ron (artist) have been making comics together since they were classmates in Yeshivah of Flatbush elementary school. They both live in Gush Etzion.

Please do not reuse without permission from the authors. Thank you. 

About the Author
Rabbi Doctor Zvi Ron made Aliyah in 1986, learned in Yeshivat Shaalvim and served as a shooting instructor in the IDF. After receiving Smicha from the Israeli Rabbanut, he and his wife, Sharon, went on Shlichut to Richmond, Virginia where he served as Rabbi of Keneseth Beth Israel Synagogue for 10 years. The Rons moved to Israel in 2004 and live with their four children in Neve Daniel, Gush Etzion. He is the author of two books on Tanach: Sefer Katan V'Gadol and Sefer Ha'Ikar Chaser as well as dozens of articles in numerous publications. He is editor of The Jewish Bible Quarterly and he was a contestant on the game show The Weakest Link.