Alfred Dreyfus – have you heard the name? He inadvertently became a catalyst for the State of Israel’s very existence. In the late 1890’s, a Jewish Frenchman named Alfred Dreyfus was wrongly accused of treason. A young Theodore Herzl was a journalist at his trial, and after witnessing this open act of anti-Semitism, concluded that the Jews needed a place of their own in order to permanently escape anti-Semitism. He realized that if the enlightened and emancipated France failed to protect an assimilated and loyal Jewish officer, the rest of Europe would be no different; the Jews needed to leave. Herzl intensified his Zionist efforts, and 50 years after the Dreyfus Affair, the State of Israel was born.
Watch this video and use these prompts to explore a pivotal moment in Israel’s founding.