The singular triumph of the Zionist movement is that it invented a state and a people - Israel and the Israelis - from scratch. The first Hebrew-speaking child in 1900 years, Ittamar Ben-Avi, was not born until 1882. His father, the brilliant linguist Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, created a modern language for him to speak by improvising from the language of the Bible.
The founder of the Israeli state was Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), an assimilated Viennese writer who was convinced by the Dreyfus trial in France - and the horrendous right-wing anti-Semitism that resulted from it - that Jews had to get out of Europe.
In 1897, he wrote the book that would essentially inaugurate the Zionist movement. It was called Der Judenstaat (meaning "the Jews' state" or "the Jewish State"), which was his proposal for moving the Jews out of Europe and into their own country.
He didn't specify where the Jewish homeland should be. He was more concerned about quickly obtaining territory anywhere for Jews to seek refuge.