The World Zionist Organization is dedicated to promoting the Zionist idea and the Zionist movement as vital elements of contemporary Jewish life. It strives to enhance the impact of Zionist ideology and activity in Jewish communities around the world by encouraging the growth and development of local Zionist Federations, and by providing a wide variety of programs and services emanating out of Jerusalem.
The WZO was founded at the First Zionist Congress, convened by Theodore Herzl in Basel, Switzerland in August 1897. It called for "establishing for the Jewish people a legally secured home in Eretz Yisrael" [then Ottoman-ruled Palestine] and committed itself to "promoting the settlement of Jewish farmers, artisans and tradesmen," "organizing and uniting the Jewish world," "strengthening Jewish national sentiment," and "obtaining the consent of governments,” for the creation of a Jewish Homeland.
With the establishment of the State of Israel, the WZO took on new challenges and focuses today on encouraging Aliyah, Zionist and Jewish education and Hebrew language education, Israel advocacy, combatting anti-Semitism, connecting the younger generations to Israel, and fashioning Israel as an exemplary society.