Reader jFp has commented a few times wondering why the Jews didn't settle in Uganda instead of Israel given all the hostile opposition to allowing Jews to have a homeland in the Holy Land. jFp is also under the misapprehension that many Jews were in favor of the British offer known as the "Uganda Program" (1). Actually it was completely rejected by the Zionist Congress one year after Herzl's death in 1904.
Theodore Herzl always wanted to establish a homeland for the Jews in Israel. The East Africa settlement was for a temporary refuge for Russian Jews not the permanent homeland. Indeed the British themselves called it a "night refuge" or what we would today call a homeless shelter. So if anyone even imagined that the British were willing to let Jews settle in Uganda permanently they are grossly mistaken.
But let us consider for a moment if Britain had allowed Zionists to set up a national homeland for Jews in Uganda. At the time (1905) the country was mostly Christian with a huge Hindu population as well and surrounded by other countries that were also mostly Christian or some combination of Christianity and African indigenous beliefs. Although Africa had very few Muslims a century ago, today Africa has more Muslims than all the other religions combined (2).
While Israel is indeed surrounded by Arab Muslims, at least it has one side facing the Mediterranean and is not therefore landlocked and dependent on others for access to markets abroad. Had Zionists actually filled up Uganda with Jews, I have no doubt that Uganda today would be the largest, strongest, freest economy in Africa, but Jews would then be dependent on other nations to get their products to market. El Al today can fly to America without asking permission of any Muslim country. But if it were deep in Africa, surrounded with Muslim neighbors, flights would have to constantly be over other Muslim nations.
Certainly Muslims have no problem in burning and slashing their way to hegemony over all of Africa. There is no Christian Army standing in the way of total Islamic control of the continent. So what do you think the Muslims would do if they saw a Jewish state, with a Jewish Army deep in the heart of Africa, standing in their way?
If you can't imagine the obvious, then let me suggest that you would have a Ugandan Liberation Organization made of of former Ugandans lobbing missiles into Uganda-Israel on a daily basis. And if Uganda-Israel retaliated the ULO, made up entirely of Islamic militants, would be crying about war crimes and other Palestinian-related nonsense.
Uganda would have been infinitely worse to defend and if Israel isn't already fairly isolated, think about how much more isolated it would be in the middle of Africa since most of the civilized world hardly cares about the continent at all. In Africa, Muslims can slaughter hundreds of thousands as they have done in Darfur and the only people who complain are a handful of Hollywood celebrities. Uganda-Israel would disappear just as millions of Rwandans and their Tutis and frutis have gone before. That last might be Tutsis and Hutu but hu care?
Listen my friend, if Arabs who own millions of square kilometers of land in the Middle East cannot abide a few thousand square kilometers of worthless sand being occupied by Jews, what makes anyone think that they would tolerate Jews sitting on a few hundred thousand sq km in the middle of a region they aim to claim as an ultimate Islamic empire?
Related: An interesting thing did happen in 1896 when Theodore Herzl met with Sultan Hamid of Turkey and asked him to allow Jews to settle Palestine as a national homeland. The Sultan would not consider ceding Palestine, which was then under Ottoman control saying "if one day the Islamic State falls apart then you can have Palestine for free, but as long as I am alive I would rather have my flesh be cut up than cut out Palestine from the Muslim land." Since the Ottoman Empire fell apart after World War One, I consider this an oral contract where the Sultan's promise means the Jews now have a right to Palestine.