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Mt. Herzl National Memorial Park
Mt. Herzl National Memorial Park Review
Cedars of Lebanon and native pine and cypress trees surround the entrance to the memorial and cemetery, which has a section with the graves of Zionist visionary Theodor Herzl and many Israeli leaders.
In 1894, the Budapest-born Theodor Herzl was the Paris correspondent for a Vienna newspaper when the Dreyfus treason trial hit the headlines. The anti-Semitic outbursts that Herzl encountered in cosmopolitan Paris shocked him. Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army, had actually been framed and was later exonerated. Herzl devoted himself to the problem of Jewish vulnerability in "foreign" host countries and to the need for a Jewish state. The result of his activity was the first World Zionist Congress, held in Basel, Switzerland, in 1897. That year Herzl wrote in his diary: "If not in five years, then in 50, will become reality." True to his prediction, the United Nations approved the idea exactly 50 years later, in November 1947. Herzl died in 1904, and his remains were brought to Israel in 1949. His simple grave marker, inscribed in Hebrew with just his last name, caps the hill.
To the left (west) of the grave site, a gravel path leads down to a section containing the graves of Israeli national leaders, among them prime ministers Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir, and Yitzhak Rabin, and presidents Zalman Shazar and Chaim Herzog. Bear down and right through the military cemetery, exiting back on Herzl Boulevard, about 250 yards below the parking lot where you entered. The main gate closes at set times; the exit via the military cemetery is always open.
The Herzl Museum, immediately to the left as you enter the memorial park, is a strongly engaging, interactive introduction to the life, times, and legacy of Israel's spiritual forebear. Tours take 50 minutes and cost NIS 25. Call ahead to verify times of tours in English. 96421. 02/632-1515. www.herzl.org. Sun.-Thurs. 8:45-3:15, Fri. 8:45-12:15, closed eve of Jewish religious holidays.
- Address: Herzl Blvd., Mt. Herzl, Jerusalem
- Phone: 02/643-3266
- Cost: Free
- Hours: Apr.--Sept., Sun.--Thurs. 8--6:45, Fri. and Jewish holiday eves 8--12:45; Oct.--Mar., Sun.--Thurs. 8--4:45, Fri. and Jewish holiday eves 8--12:45
- Location: West Jerusalem
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