Modern Zionism / Speeches

Herzliya Conference 2014 Opening Ceremony 8 June 2014

August 6, 2015

Herzliya Conference 2014

Opening Ceremony

Prof. Uriel Reichman

8 June 2014


Baroness Ariane de Rothschild, Mr. Mayor Moshe Fadlon, Prof. Alex Mintz, participants, journalists, friends, from Israel and abroad, welcome all.


The Herzliya Conference is devoted to deal with the balance of Israel’s National strength and security. Such an undertaking requires the assessment of complex data and a wide range of topics. The strength of a nation depends on the robustness of its economy, its technology, military might and international allies and relations. But those observations are only a part of the entire picture and perhaps not even the most important ones.


National strength and security is determined foremost by social solidarity and cohesion, the feeling among the people of sharing a destiny and values. All that is influenced by education, honesty of those in government, the protection of human rights, the efforts to narrow economic gaps, caring for the needy – in short, the morality of the nation.


A nation is the sum total of its citizens. Its strength rests in the commitment of many individuals. Leadership emerges from among the committed, and sometimes they are able to provide a people a new vision and a new course of action.


132 years ago Baron Edmond de Rothschild was taken by the horrible pogroms against the Jews in Russia. From that moment one man, often acting against disbelief and criticism, for 50 consecutive years, devoted his efforts and much of his fortune to play a major part in the unbelievable epoch of the modern return of the Jews to Zion. He saved Rishon-lezion from economic collapse, helped the villages of Zichron Yaakov and Rosh Pina, Petach Tikva and Yesod Hamaala and many others. He laid the foundation for modern agriculture, pioneer industries and agricultural research. The half a million dunams of land that he himself purchased enabled the establishment of 40 villages, and he laid the first real public services of schools and health facilities in the poor and undeveloped ארץ ישראל under the Turkish rule.


At the age of 80, Baron Edmond de Rothschild spoke in Tel Aviv and said:


“Private entrepreneurship creates all kinds of activities, we can say that the National Home stands on two strong pillars: working of the land and industry… but the genuine Jewish symbol of the National Home is the moral and intellectual work… the opening of the University is therefore a great event in the modern annals of Jewish history… the moral perfection is the essence of our religion and its higher spirituality”.


The endless striving towards moral perfection is a motive that was constantly repeated by Herzl, Ben-Gurion and other early leaders. They also believed that the strength of the nation will be determined in the final analysis by its morality.


The Rothschild-Caesarea Foundation, led by the Baroness Ariane de Rothschild, which we celebrate today its 50th anniversary, continues to act in the footsteps of Edmond de Rothschild . The foundation is committed to help narrow the economic gaps within Israeli society, to labor towards social justice and mobility. The foundation is doing a lot to open the gates of higher education for all and encourage innovative social entrepreneurship. It is a difficult task that requires investment and coaching of specific individuals, but that indeed is the only way to progress, from one person to another, step by step, change will be won.


Baroness Adriane de Rothschild’s life experience and business background enables her to lead a value-driven mission carried out to reach recognizable practical results. The philanthropy she leads is not aimed at receiving personal credit but to implement a set of important goals.


We in IDC are very pleased with the cooperation with the Rothschild-Caesarea Foundation, for we share the same values and similar educational goals. IDC was established to educate the future leadership of Israel and its students that come from 84 countries. We equip them with the know-how and courage to be entrepreneurial and self-reliant but at the same time help those who cannot help themselves, stand up for social justice and humanism.


Israel was envisioned by its founders to strive continuously for a model society and moral society. Especially these days we should all do our best to follow the ideological footsteps of the Zionist early leaders.