The journalist Theodor Herzl convened a Zionist Congress in Basle in 1897. Herzl argued that the Jewish people living in Europe should have a home in Palestine.

Chaim Weizmann, a chemist living in England, campaigned for a Jewish state during the First World War. Weizmann, served as President of the World Zionist Organization (1920-1931). Zionist congresses were held in 1923 (Carlsbad), 1925 (Vienna), 1927 (Basle), 1929 (Zurich), 1931 (Basle), 1933 (Prague), 1935 (Vienna), 1937 (Zurich) and 1939 (Geneva).

The Irgun Zvai Leumi resistance movement was established in Palestine in 1944. Menachem Begin became Commander-in-Chief. Over the next five years Begin organized over 200 acts of terrorism including the destruction of the central British administrative offices in the King David Hotel. The explosion killed ninety-one people.

The Jewish state of Israel was established on 14th May 1948 when the British mandate over Palestine came to an end. The neighbouring Arab states refused to recognize Israel and invaded the country on the 15th May. The war came to an end in March 1949. By the time the cease-fire took place Israel had increased the control of its land by a quarter.

Chaim Weizmann was the first president of Israel. David Ben-Gurion became prime minister. The country had a population of 880,000 people, of whom 759,000 were Jewish. Within a couple of years Jewish immigration from Europe quickly brought the population to over a million.

In November 1975 the General Assembly of the United Nations passed a resolution 72 votes to 35, condemning Zionism as "a form of racism and racial domination."