It is named for Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, the first President of Czechoslovakia. Before the First Czechoslovakia Republic was established in 1918, Masaryk played a role in the Hilsner Affair, an anti-Semitic blood libel targeting Leopold Hilsner, a Jewish villager in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Masaryk, then a professor at the Czech University in Prague, fought for Hilsner. As president, he represented the humanitarian interests of the Czech nation and its policy of religious tolerance. At that time, Czechoslovakia officially recognized Jewish nationality and granted Jews full civil rights. During the Masaryk era, three congresses of the World Zionist Organization took place there, in Prague and Karlovy Vary. Masaryk was a supporter of the Zionist movement and was the first head of state to visit the Yishuv in 1927.