The idea of Zionism is the rebuilding of the Jewish homeland in Palestine, which fell to the Roman Empire in A.D. 70. When the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, the Jews were driven out of their country, but they never gave up hope that their homeland would be restored to the descendants of those who were forced into the diaspora (scattering). After attending a historical conference, Theodor Herzl brought together and organized the first international Zionist congress. That conference was the origin of the World Zionist Organization, and it made major headway in the fight to get Palestine back for the Jews. Thousands of pioneers flocked to the area between 1904 and 1914. Diplomatic efforts to obtain Turkish backing for a Zionist presence in Palestine were unsuccessful before World War I. However, through the efforts of CHaim Weizmann, who succeeded to the leadership of international Zionism after the death of Herzl, the foreign secretary of the British government, Lord Balfour, issue a memorable declaration:
His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of the object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious' rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.Even after so many people had gone to Palestine, it wasn’t until after World War II that the majority arrived. More than one million Jews, many of whom had survived the Nazi murder campaign, made their way to Palestine, which eventually led to the establishment of a Jewish state, called Israel. Israel declared its existence on May 14, 1948. The American component of the World Zionist Organization was the Zionist Organization of America, known by its initials ZOA. Organized in 1897, it was originally entitled the Federation of American Zionists, changing to its present name in 1915.