President Isaac Herzog of Israel will mark the 125th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland on Monday, August 29, the exact date it was held back in 1897.
A global event initiated by the World Zionist Organization will open in Basel in honor of the First World Zionist Congress, founded by Binyamin Ze’ev Herzl, with more than 1,400 Jewish leaders, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists from around the world. President Herzog will be joined by the chairman of the World Zionist Organization, Yaakov Hagoel. The 2022 Congress will discuss the implementation of Herzl’s socio-economic vision and the vision and milestones for the next 25 years in dealing with the challenges facing the Jewish people.
The World Zionist Organization is supported by the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG) headed by Dr. Ralph Lewin.
The event will begin in the Stadt casino Hall in Basel, the place where the First Zionist Congress hosted the first 208 delegates who discussed their vision for the establishment of a Jewish state.
One of the main events in Basel will be the restoration of the historical photo of Herzl, who was photographed on the railing of the balcony of the city’s Three Kings Hotel during the first Zionist Congress.
The synagogue where Herzl prayed on the Shabbat before the congress has hung over its ark the parochet it had received from the Israeli Knesset 25 years ago as a gift by then acting President of the State of Israel and Speaker of the Knesset Dan Tichon.
The Swiss government allocated 5.7 million Swiss Francs ($5.9 million) to secure the event, following warnings about huge anti-Israel demonstrations. The Rhine River will be closed to ship traffic and the city’s airspace will be closed to planes for the duration of the congress, and thousands of police and soldiers will secure the area of the congress hall.
The Zionist Congress 2022 will be divided into two parts: the Herzl Leadership Conference, focusing on modern Zionism in light of Herzl’s vision; and the Impact Conference for social and economic entrepreneurship which will host 125 leading entrepreneurs from the high-tech industry who were carefully selected from thousands of nominations and requests.
A special gala evening will feature President Herzog, President of the Basel-Stadt Canton Beat Jans, former President of Switzerland and current Minister of Economy Guy Parmelin, and Chairman of the World Zionist Organization Yaakov Hagoel.