Theodor Herzl (/ˈhɜːrtsəl, ˈhɛərtsəl/; German: [ˈhɛɐtsl̩]; Hebrew: תֵּאוֹדוֹר הֶרְצְל Te’odor Hertsel; Hungarian: Herzl Tivadar; Hebrew name given at his brit milah Binyamin Ze’ev (Hebrew: בִּנְיָמִין זְאֵב), also known in Hebrew as חוֹזֵה הַמְדִינָה, Chozeh HaMedinah, lit. “Visionary of the State”; 2 May 1860 – 3 July 1904) was an Austro-Hungarian Jewish journalist, playwright, political activist, and writer who was the father of modern political Zionism. Herzl formed the Zionist Organization and promoted Jewish immigration to Palestine in an effort to form a Jewish state. Though he died before its establishment, he is known as the father of the State of Israel.
Herzl is specifically mentioned in the Israeli Declaration of Independence and is officially referred to as “the spiritual father of the Jewish State”, i.e. the visionary who gave a concrete, practicable platform and framework to political Zionism. However, he was not the first Zionist theoretician or activist; scholars, many of them religious such as rabbis Yehuda Bibas, Zvi Hirsch Kalischer and Judah Alkalai, promoted a range of proto-Zionist ideas before him.