Israel’s National Institutions, the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and Keren Hayesod, are the organizations established by the Zionist Movement to help bring about the establishment of a Jewish State.
Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the National Institutions have continued to work cooperatively to advance the Zionist enterprise, complementing and interacting with one another in areas as diverse as Aliyah, land reclamation, settlement, strengthening Jewish life in the Diaspora, Zionist education, rescue of endangered Jewish populations, partnering with Jewish communities around the world, combatting anti-Semitism, fundraising, Israel advocacy and fashioning Israel as an exemplary society as an expression of the Zionist ideal.
The World Zionist Organization
The World Zionist Organization is committed to promoting Zionism & the Zionist idea and the Zionist enterprise through Israel Education as vital and positive elements of contemporary Jewish life, in accordance with the principles articulated in the Jerusalem Program. This manifesto is dedicated to instilling the centrality of Israel and Jerusalem its capital deep within Jewish consciousness, encouraging the return to Zion, fashioning an exemplary society in the Jewish state, expanding Zionist education including Hebrew language instruction, settling the land, and combating Anti-Semitism.
The WZO strives to enhance the impact of Zionist ideology and activity in Jewish communities around the world, including Israel, both by working through shlichim of the Zionist Federations and their constituent bodies and by influencing the agenda of the organized Jewish community, particularly through its involvement with the Jewish Agency for Israel.
In 1901, the fifth Zionist Congress announced the establishment of the “Jewish National Fund” – an organization designated to acquire lands for Jewish settlement. The JNF was managed by The World Zionist Organization. Since the establishment of the State, JNF (KKL) is involved with education, forestry, paving new roads and preparing new grounds.
The Zionist Conference that convened in London in July 1920 founded the "Keren Hayesod" (the second fund) to serve as a central financial institution of the Zionist Movement. The Keren Kayemeth (the first) was "released" from dealing with money, and continued to deal with redemption of lands for settlement of Jews in Israel, with their preparation and afforestation. The Keren Hayesod became the financial arm of the Yishuv leadership, and since its founding it has financed aliyah, absorption, security and settlement activities.
The Jewish Agency for Israel
The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) is an international Jewish organization based in Israel. It was founded in 1929 as the executive organ of the World Zionist Organization. On August 11, 1929, as part of the 16th Zionist Congress that convened in Zurich, representatives from 26 countries announced the establishment of the "Jewish Agency for Israel". Dr. Chaim Weizman was appointed as president of the Jewish Agency, who was also the president of the World Zionist Organization.
Under the British Mandate the Jewish Agency constituted the ruling institution of the Jewish Yishuv. With the establishment of the State, administration of the country was transferred to the Israeli government. Today the JAFI focuses on aliyah promotion and absorption assistance, Jewish-Zionist education around the world and strengthening the Jewish community in Israel.
The headquarters of the National Institutions is located on King George Street in downtown Jerusalem (pictured below). The building was completed in 1936 and became a symbol of the Jewish State prior to Israel’s establishment.
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