The Book

In his second book, Bernard Zissman takes another imaginary journey back in time, over one hundred years, to meet Theodor Herzl, the visionary Hungarian born journalist and founder of Zionism.

Zissman and Herzl discuss the impact of anti-Semitism in France in the eighteen nineties around the famous case of Jewish army officer Captain Alfred Dreyfus, wrongly convicted and sent to Devil’s Island. Together they travel across Europe from Vienna to Paris and from Basel to London as Herzl makes his case for the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine.

Spanning over a century of European history and the ravages of war, Herzl meets up again with Zissman who is growing up in England as the Nazis begin to march. Following the end of the Second World War, they watch as the State of Israel is born out of a narrow and critical vote in the United Nations in 1947.

They discuss the realisation of Herzl’s dream as they walk through the narrow streets of a divided Jerusalem, unified twenty years later as a result of the Six Day War in 1967. Nearly forty years pass and after half a century of continuous conflict between Israel and her Arab neighbours, Zissman questions Herzl about his dream and if, with the benefit of hindsight, he now regrets his vision.

The conversation and journey move backwards and forwards across the contrasting deserts and green pastures of the Middle East as Zissman and Herzl discuss the plight of both Jewish and Palestinian refugees. Has the creation of a home and hope for one also created despair and displacement for the other ? Zissman engages with Herzl and seeks to challenge this man of considerable vision to blend hindsight and foresight to provide what might be the foundation of a new era for Israel, a land of milk and honey, but also of peace and goodwill between Jew and Arab.

This book set against the tapestry of one of the most tragic and traumatic periods in Middle Eastern history will fascinate those who support the ideals of Zionism, as well as those who oppose it, Jew and Arab alike, and those who look on as they witness the quest for peace moving onward and onward and onward…………….