The president of the Republika Srpska of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina agreed on Monday to help exhume the bones of the grandfather and grandmother of Theodor Herzl, the father of modern political Zionism, and send them to Israel.

President Željka Cvijanović visited Mount Herzl earlier this week.

During her visit, she laid a wreath at Herzl’s grave, toured the Herzl Museum, received an explanation of his Zionist vision and finally signed a guest book that many visiting heads of state previously signed.

During the visit, Yaakov Hagoel, chairman of the World Zionist Organization, said that Herzl’s grandparents, from whom he drew his Zionist inspiration, were buried in her country, and asked the president to help bring their bones to Israel.

After the establishment of the state, Herzl’s remains were exhumed from his tomb in Vienna and reburied on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem in August 1949, with his parents and sister by his side. Many years later, in September 2006, the bones of his two children were also brought to Israel, and buried next to those of their father.

In 2007, the remains of Herzl’s only grandson, Stephen Theodore Norman, were exhumed from a Washington cemetery for burial in Jerusalem. Herzl’s paternal grandparents, who inspired his Zionist conception, remained buried in the small cemetery in the town of Zemun, on the outskirts of the Serbian capital Belgrade.

Born in 1805, Herzl’s grandfather, Shimon Loeb Herzl, was an ultra-Orthodox Jew who served as a rabbi in various honorary priesthoods in the Zemun community in Serbia. He was enthusiastic about the idea of ​​Zionism, and actively advocated in his community for the idea of ​​establishing a Jewish state in the land of Israel.

The town’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Yehuda Alkalai of Zemun, one of the forerunners of Zionism, influenced Herzl’s grandfather and guided him to the vision of political Zionism, which he then, evidently, passed on to his grandson.

This report first appeared in Israel Hayom.


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