The National Institutions

When Theodore Herzl convened the first Zionist Congress in 1897, the Zionist movement begun the process of building the State of Israel. To bring about the founding of the State, they established the so-called National Institutions: the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth Leyisrael-Jewish National Fund and Keren Hayesod. These Institutions still exist today in acknowledgement that 50% of the worldwide Jewish population live outside of Israel and should also have a voice in the State of Israel.

Established in 1897, the World Zionist Organization (WZO) has served as the parliament of the Jewish people ever since. It allows for representation of the various Zionist movements from the full political bandwidth from left to right. The power distribution in the WZO is determined every five years through the elections to the World Zionist Congress. To learn more about the elections, click here.

Keren Kayemet Leyisrael (KKL – the Jewish National Fund) was established in 1901 as a 100% daughter organization of the WZO to purchase land and develop the land of Israel. Today KKL is the largest private landowner in Israel. Its landholdings generate income that helps fund the Zionist movement and supports arzenu in doing Zionist work around the world.

Keren Hayesod (United Israel Appeal) was founded in 1920 as a fundraising organization with branches around the world to provide the Zionist movement with the necessary financial resources. In the USA, Keren Hayesod works through the Jewish Federations of North America.

The Jewish Agency for Israel was founded in 1929. In the pre-state era, its Jerusalem executive organized the movement and absorption of immigrants, fostered settlement on the land, took part in the development of the Jewish economy, and promoted educational and social services in cooperation with the National Council of the Jews of Palestine.