William Hechler

Another Christian Zionist to influence Herzl was William Hechler (1845-1931), an Anglican priest and chaplain to the British Embassy in Vienna.

The very embodiment of British evangelism (sic) entering the realm of politics, he was, by background and by training, ideally suited to act as mediator between Jewish and non-Jewish Zionism, combining religious, humanitarian and political Zionism. Imbued with evangelical millenarianism, he even formulated his own exact date for the re-establishment of the Jewish state. Equally, he was moved by his concern over the vast stream of East European Jewish refugees now fleeing towards the West... His booklet, The Restoration of the Jews to Palestine (1894), predating Herzl's Der Judenstaat by two years, spoke of the need for 'restoring the Jews to

Palestine according to Old Testament prophecies.'15o

Having read Herzl's call for a Jewish state, Hechler arranged to see the author. Herzl records the meeting on 10 March 1896 in his diary.

The Reverend William Hechler, Chaplain of the English Embassy here, came to see me. A sympathetic, gentle fellow, with a long grey beard of a prophet. He is enthusiastic about my solution of the Jewish Question. He also considers my movement a 'prophetic turning-point' - which he had foretold two years before. From a prophecy in the time of Omar (637CE) he had reckoned that at the end of forty-two prophetic months (total 1260 years) the Jews would get Palestine back. This figure he arrived at was 1897-98.151

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