Jewish Agency for Israel

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The Jewish Agency for Israel (Hebrew: , HaSochnut HaYehudit L'Eretz Yisra'el), also known as the Sochnut or JAFI, served as the organization in charge of immigration and absorption of Jews from the Diaspora
Jewish diaspora
The Jewish diaspora is the English term used to describe the Galut גלות , or 'exile', of the Jews from the region of the Kingdom of Judah and Roman Iudaea and later emigration from wider Eretz Israel....

 into the state of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

.

History


The Zionist Organisation (ZO) founded the Palestine Bureau (also known as "Eretz Yisrael Office") in Jaffa in 1908, under Arthur Ruppin
Arthur Ruppin
Arthur Ruppin was a Zionist thinker and leader. He was also one of the founders of the city of Tel Aviv, and a pioneering sociologist credited as being "The Father Of Jewish Sociology", directing Berlin's Bureau for Jewish Statistics and Demography from 1902 to 1907...

, and began to adopt a systematic effort to buy and settle land in Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

.

Following the promulgation of the pro-Zionist
Streams of Zionism
The Zionist Movement was produced by various philosophers representing different approaches concerning the objective and path that Zionism should follow. The principal common goal was the aspiration to establish an independent state for the Jewish people. However, the method of action needed was...

 Balfour Declaration of 1917, Chaim Weizmann
Chaim Weizmann
Chaim Azriel Weizmann, , was a Zionist leader, President of the Zionist Organization, and the first President of the State of Israel. He was elected on 1 February 1949, and served until his death in 1952....

, president of the British Zionist Federation formed the Zionist Commission
Zionist Commission
The Zionist Commission for Palestine was a group chaired by Chaim Weizmann, president of the British Zionist Federation following British promulgation of the pro-Zionist, Balfour Declaration of 1917. The Commission was formed in March 1918 and went to Palestine to study conditions and make their...

 in March 1918 to go to Palestine and make recommendations to the British government. The Commission reached Palestine on 14 April 1918 and proceeded to study conditions and to report to the British government, and was active in promoting Zionist objectives in Palestine. Weizmann was instrumental in restructuring the ZO's Palestine office into departments for agriculture, settlement, education, land, finance, immigration, and statistics.

On 19 April 1920, elections were held for the Assembly of Representatives of the Palestinian Jewish community
Yishuv
The Yishuv or Ha-Yishuv is the term referring to the body of Jewish residents in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel...

.

On 25 April 1920, the Principal Allied Powers agreed at the San Remo conference
San Remo conference
The San Remo Conference was an international meeting of the post-World War I Allied Supreme Council, held in Sanremo, Italy, from 19 to 26 April 1920. It was attended by the four Principal Allied Powers of World War I who were represented by the prime ministers of Britain , France and Italy and...

 to allocate the Ottoman territories to the victorious powers and assigned Palestine, Transjordan and Iraq as Mandates to Britain, with the Balfour Declaration being incorporated into the Palestine Mandate. The League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 formally approved these mandates in 1922. Article 4 of the Mandate provided for "the recognition of an appropriate Jewish Agency as a public body for the purpose of advising and co-operating with the Administration of Palestine in such economic, social and other matters as may affect the establishment of the Jewish National Home and the interests of the Jewish population of Palestine." The ZO leaders had contributed to the drafting of the Mandate. In 1921, the Zionist Commission became the Palestine Zionist Executive and was designated as the Jewish Agency for Palestine for the purpose of Article 4 of the Palestine Mandate.

The Palestine Zionist Executive was charged with facilitating Jewish immigration to Palestine, land purchase and planning the general policies of the Zionist leadership. It ran schools and hospitals, and formed a defence force, the Haganah
Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

. Chaim Weizmann was the leader of both the Zionist Organisation and the Palestine Zionist Executive until 1929. The arrangement enabled the Zionist Organisation to issue entry permits to new immigrants.

Formation of the Jewish Agency for Palestine


In 1929, the Jewish Agency for Palestine was officially created by the 16th Zionist Congress, held in Zurich. The new body was larger and included a number of Jewish non-Zionist individuals and organisations, who were interested in Jewish settlement in Palestine. They were philanthropic rather than political and many opposed talk of a Jewish State. There was strong opposition within WZO when the idea of enlargement was first raised in 1924 and it was only accepted by the Zionist Congress in 1927. It was Chaim Weizmann's initiative and was established on the principle of parity between Zionists and non-Zionists working together in the building of a Jewish national home. Those participating included Sholem Asch
Sholem Asch
Sholem Asch, born Szalom Asz , also written Shalom Asch was a Polish-born American Jewish novelist, dramatist, and essayist in the Yiddish language.-Life and work:...

, H.N. Bialik, Léon Blum
Léon Blum
André Léon Blum was a French politician, usually identified with the moderate left, and three times the Prime Minister of France.-First political experiences:...

, Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

, Immanuel Löw
Immanuel Löw
Immanuel Löw , was a Hungarian rabbi, scholar and politician.-Early life:Löw was born in Szeged, Hungary, 20 January 1854, the son of Hungarian rabbi Leopold Löw. He was educated in his native town and in Berlin, where he studied at the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums, graduating as...

, Lord Melchett
Henry Mond, 2nd Baron Melchett
Henry Ludwig Mond, 2nd Baron Melchett was a British politician, industrialist and financier.-Early life and education:...

 and Herbert Samuel. American non-Zionists received 44 of the 112 seats allotted to non-Zionists. The British Board of Deputies
Board of Deputies of British Jews
The Board of Deputies of British Jews is the main representative body of British Jews. Founded in 1760 as a joint committee of the Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jewish communities in London, it has since become a widely recognised forum for the views of the different sectors of the UK Jewish...

 joined as a constituent body.

Wiezmann was criticized for being too pro-British. When the 1930 White Paper
Passfield white paper
The Passfield White Paper, issued October 20, 1930, by colonial secretary Lord Passfield, was a formal statement of British policy in Palestine, which previously had been set by the Churchill White Paper of 1922...

 was published recommending restricting Jewish immigration his position became untenable and he resigned from the Jewish Agency and in 1931 Nahum Sokolow
Nahum Sokolow
Nahum Sokolow was a Zionist leader, author, translator, and a pioneer of Hebrew journalism....

 was elected President, as well as President of the Zionist Organisation. Arthur Ruppin became President of the Jewish Agency in 1933 and David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

 and Moshe Shertok joined the executive. In 1935, Ben-Gurion was elected President of the Agency to succeed Ruppin.

In 1937 The Peel Commission
Peel Commission
The Peel Commission of 1936-1937, formally known as the Palestine Royal Commission, was a British Royal Commission of Inquiry set out to propose changes to the British Mandate of Palestine following the outbreak of the 1936-1939 Arab revolt in Palestine...

 published its report into the disturbances of the year before. For the first time partition and the setting up of a Jewish State was recommended. The 1937 Zionist Congress declined to endorse the Commission's conclusions, a majority insisting that the Balfour Declaration referred to all of Palestine and Transjordan
Transjordan
The Emirate of Transjordan was a former Ottoman territory in the Southern Levant that was part of the British Mandate of Palestine...

, but the executive was authorized to continue exploring what the "precise terms" were. This decision revealed differences within the Jewish Agency, with the non-Zionists disagreeing with the decision and some calling for a conference of Jews and Arabs.

The Jewish Agency was raided by British troops in 1946 under Operation Agatha
Operation Agatha
Operation Agatha sometimes called Black Shabbat or Black Saturday because it began on the Jewish sabbath, was a police and military operation conducted by the British authorities in the British Mandate of Palestine...

 in retaliation for a number of attacks against British forces, however the Haganah did not attack British forces directly. These were largely carried out by Etzel, better known as the Irgun
Irgun
The Irgun , or Irgun Zevai Leumi to give it its full title , was a Zionist paramilitary group that operated in Mandate Palestine between 1931 and 1948. It was an offshoot of the earlier and larger Jewish paramilitary organization haHaganah...

. The Jerusalem headquarters of the Jewish Agency was bombed by agents of the Grand Mufti
Grand Mufti
The title of Grand Mufti refers to the highest official of religious law in a Sunni or Ibadi Muslim country. The Grand Mufti issues legal opinions and edicts, fatwā, on interpretations of Islamic law for private clients or to assist judges in deciding cases...

 Haj Mohammed Amin al-Husseini
Mohammad Amin al-Husayni
Haj Mohammed Effendi Amin el-Husseini was a Palestinian Arab nationalist and Muslim leader in the British Mandate of Palestine. From as early as 1920, in order to secure the independence of Palestine as an Arab state he actively opposed Zionism, and was implicated as a leader of a violent riot...

 in early 1948, with great loss of life. During the subsequent siege, the Agency moved its headquarters to Tel Aviv.

In 1947 the last non-Zionist member of the Jewish Agency, Wemer Senator, resigned and the Agency and the WZO once again became unified. The Jewish Agency Executive comprised David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

, as chairman, and Rabbi Yehuda Leib Maimon
Yehuda Leib Maimon
Yehuda Leib Maimon was an Israeli rabbi, politician and leader of the religious Zionism movement, originating from Bessarabia.-Biography:Born in 1875 in Mărculeşti, Bessarabia , Maimon studied in a number of yeshivot and received rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein, the author of...

 and Yitzhak Gruenbaum
Yitzhak Gruenbaum
Yitzhak Gruenbaum was a noted leader of the Zionist movement among Polish Jewry between the two world wars and of the Yishuv in Mandatory Palestine, and the first Interior Minister of Israel.-Education and journalistic career:Gruenbaum was born in Warsaw, Poland...

. On May 14, 1948, the Jewish Agency for Palestine, under its leader David Ben Gurion, became the Provisional government of Israel
Provisional government of Israel
The provisional government of Israel was the temporary cabinet which governed Israel from shortly before independence until the formation of the first government in March 1949 following the first Knesset elections in January that year....

.

The Revisionists and the Agency


In 1921 Jabotinsky was elected to the Executive but he resigned in 1923 accusing Weizmann of not being vigorous enough with the Mandatory Government. Other issues between the Revisionists
Revisionist Zionism
Revisionist Zionism is a nationalist faction within the Zionist movement. It is the founding ideology of the non-religious right in Israel, and was the chief ideological competitor to the dominant socialist Labor Zionism...

 and the Agency were the distribution of entry permits, Weizmann's support for the Zionist Labour Movement and the proposal to expand the Agency. The Revisionist broke completely with Agency in 1935, but rejoined WZO in 1947. In 1951 the WZO/JA included all factions except Herut
Herut
Herut was the major right-wing political party in Israel from the 1940s until its formal merger into Likud in 1988, and an adherent of Revisionist Zionism.-History:...

.

American Section


On September 14, 1943 the American Section of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Inc. registered as the Jewish Agency's foreign agent in New York. In 1962 and 1963 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee investigated and received sworn testimony from American Section – Jewish Agency Inc. regarding its status and source of funding. The American Section of the Jewish Agency for Israel shut down after the US Department of Justice forced it to file its 1953 Covenant Agreement with the Israeli government, revealing its quasi governmental powers and government funding.

Jewish Agency for Israel



Following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the government created a new Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) to facilitate economic development and the absorption of immigrants. In 1952 the "Law on the Status of the WZO and the Jewish Agency - 5713" was passed formalizing the roles of each group. In June 1968 the Ministry for Absorption
Immigrant Absorption Minister of Israel
The Ministry of Immigrant Absorption of Israel , known until 1951 as the Ministry of Immigration , a ministry in the Israeli government.In co-ordination with local authorities, the Ministry is responsible for new immigrants for three weeks after they arrive...

 was created which took over some aspects of immigration from WZO/JA.

Since 1948, the Jewish Agency for Israel has been responsible for bringing 3 million immigrants to Israel. New immigrants are accommodated in one of 32 absorption centers across Israel. There they receive vocational training and go through an acculturation process. Most of the olim, or new immigrants, in absorptions centers are from Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

. One of the most significant projects to bring Ethiopians to Israel was through Operation Solomon
Operation Solomon
Operation Solomon was a 1991 covert Israeli military operation to take Ethiopian Jews to Israel.In 1991, the sitting Ethiopian government of Mengistu Haile Mariam was close to being toppled with the recent military successes of Eritrean and Tigrean rebels, threatening Ethiopia with dangerous...

. Since there are fewer Jewish communities at-risk in the diaspora, the Jewish Agency is focusing on aliyah of choice. Staff are working closely with youth and religious movements to encourage immigration to Israel. The organization was also instrumental in bringing over 1 million Jews from the former Soviet Union to Israel.

Though the emphasis of the Jewish Agency's work has been on aliyah
Aliyah
Aliyah is the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel . It is a basic tenet of Zionist ideology. The opposite action, emigration from Israel, is referred to as yerida . The return to the Holy Land has been a Jewish aspiration since the Babylonian exile...

, or immigration to Israel, in the past decade the Jewish Agency has made a significant impact in two other strategic areas: Jewish-Zionist Education and Partnerships in Israel.

The Jewish Agency has a continuum of programming to bring Israel to local worldwide Jewish communities. To some degree this is done through shlichim, or emissaries. Shlichim are Israeli educators who choose to spend an extended period of time abroad to bring Israel to the community. You can also find shlichim on US college campuses in organizations like Hillel
Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life
Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life is the largest Jewish campus organization in the world, working with thousands of college students globally...

 or active in youth organizations. Other programs that are instrumental in instilling Israel in youth is Birthright Israel
Birthright Israel
Taglit-Birthright Israel is a Jewish Israeli registered charity that sponsors free 10-day heritage trips to Israel. Birthright Israel's goals are to diminish the division between Israel and Jewish communities around the world and to strengthen participants' personal Jewish identity and...

, a short-term Israel experience. The Jewish Agency is the largest organizational partners in this initiative. Most recently, Masa Israel Journey was created as a follow up program to Taglit-Birthright Israel
Birthright Israel
Taglit-Birthright Israel is a Jewish Israeli registered charity that sponsors free 10-day heritage trips to Israel. Birthright Israel's goals are to diminish the division between Israel and Jewish communities around the world and to strengthen participants' personal Jewish identity and...

. Masa Israel is in partnership with the Israeli government and provides stipends to young people between the ages of 18–30 who would like to go on a long-term Israel experience. This project was envisioned by former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

.

Israel department programs focus on strengthening Israel's periphery, namely the Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

 region in the north and the Negev
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

 in the South. The emergence of the high tech industry in Israel has created a significant socio-economic disparity between the center of country and the outer regions. Thus, the Jewish Agency has programs to lessen the gap. For instance, Youth Futures, is a holistic approach to dealing with at-risk youth in Israel. A child is connected to a trustee who is responsible for connecting the child to resources and community services. Another flagship program is Net@, a program that is supported by Cisco Systems
Cisco Systems
Cisco Systems, Inc. is an American multinational corporation headquartered in San Jose, California, United States, that designs and sells consumer electronics, networking, voice, and communications technology and services. Cisco has more than 70,000 employees and annual revenue of US$...

. Program participants are high performers who are given the opportunity to rise above their families' socio-economic background by getting the Cisco International Certification. The program is in addition to the participants' high school course load and increases their English comprehension skills.

At the February 2010 Board of Governors meeting, Natan Sharansky
Natan Sharansky
Natan Sharansky was born in Stalino, Soviet Union on 20 January 1948 to a Jewish family. He graduated with a degree in applied mathematics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. As a child, he was a chess prodigy. He performed in simultaneous and blindfold displays, usually against...

 announced that a shift in the priorities of the Jewish Agency from aliyah to strengthening Jewish identity for young adults around the world.

The Jewish Agency for Israel's headquarters is located in Jerusalem, but there are also satellite sites worldwide. The Jewish Agency for Israel North America, which is currently headed by Maxyne Finkelstein, is the organization's main fundraising arm in North America, and is a registered 501(c)(3).

Award


On May 8, 2008, at the 60th Independence Day celebration, the Jewish Agency for Israel was awarded the Israel Prize
Israel Prize
The Israel Prize is an award handed out by the State of Israel and is largely regarded as the state's highest honor. It is presented annually, on Israeli Independence Day, in a state ceremony in Jerusalem, in the presence of the President, the Prime Minister, the Knesset chairperson, and the...

 for lifetime achievement & special contribution to society and the State of Israel.

Leadership

  • Arthur Ruppin
    Arthur Ruppin
    Arthur Ruppin was a Zionist thinker and leader. He was also one of the founders of the city of Tel Aviv, and a pioneering sociologist credited as being "The Father Of Jewish Sociology", directing Berlin's Bureau for Jewish Statistics and Demography from 1902 to 1907...

     – 1933–35
  • David Ben-Gurion
    David Ben-Gurion
    ' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

     – 1935–48
  • Berl Locker
    Berl Locker
    -Biography:Born in Kriwiec in Austria-Hungary, Locker was educated at a Jewish school. In 1902 he began contributing to the Der Yidisher Arbeiter newspaper, which he later became editor of...

     – 1948–56
  • Zalman Shazar
    Zalman Shazar
    Zalman Shazar was an Israeli politician, author. and poet. Shazar served as the third President of Israel from 1963 to 1973.-Biography:...

     – 1956–61
  • Moshe Sharet – 1961–65
  • Arie Lous Pincus – 1965–73
  • Pinhas Sapir  – 1974–75
  • Yosef Almogi
    Yosef Almogi
    Yosef Aharon Almogi was an Israeli politician who served as a member of the Knesset between 1955 and 1977, as well as holding several ministerial posts.-Biography:...

     1974–75
  • Aryeh Dolchin
    Aryeh Dolchin
    Arieh Dulchin was a Zionist activist who served as a Minister without Portfolio between December 1969 and August 1970, though he was never a member of the Knesset....

     – 1978–87
  • Simha Dinitz – 1987–94
  • Avraham Burg
    Avraham Burg
    Avraham "Avrum" Burg is an Israeli author; he was formerly a member of the Knesset, a chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and a Speaker of the Knesset.-Biography:...

     – 1995–99
  • Sallai Meridor
    Sallai Meridor
    Sallai Meridor is an Israeli politician. He was the Israeli Ambassador to the United States between 2005–2009, appointed by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert...

     – 1999–2005
  • Ze'ev Bielski – 2005–09
  • Natan Sharansky
    Natan Sharansky
    Natan Sharansky was born in Stalino, Soviet Union on 20 January 1948 to a Jewish family. He graduated with a degree in applied mathematics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. As a child, he was a chess prodigy. He performed in simultaneous and blindfold displays, usually against...

     – 2009–

Heads of the Political Department to 1948

  • Bianchini – 1921
  • M.D. Eder – 1922
  • Lt. Col. F.H. Kisch
    Frederick Kisch
    Frederick Kisch was a British Army officer and Zionist leader.-Biography:Frederick Kisch was born in India in 1888, and served in the British Army Royal Engineers...

     – 1922–31
  • Chaim Arlosoroff – 1931–33
  • Moshe Shertok – 1933–48

Modern Leadership



Natan Sharansky
Natan Sharansky
Natan Sharansky was born in Stalino, Soviet Union on 20 January 1948 to a Jewish family. He graduated with a degree in applied mathematics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. As a child, he was a chess prodigy. He performed in simultaneous and blindfold displays, usually against...

 is currently the chairman of the executive. He was elected by on June 25, 2009 Jewish Agency. The position was previously held by Zeev Bielski
Zeev Bielski
Ze'ev Bielski is an Israeli politician who currently serves as a member of the Knesset for Kadima. He previously chaired the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization...

 who left to become a member of Knesset with the Kadima party following the 2009 Israeli election. Before that Sallai Meridor
Sallai Meridor
Sallai Meridor is an Israeli politician. He was the Israeli Ambassador to the United States between 2005–2009, appointed by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert...

, former Israeli ambassador to the United States, held the position.

Since June 2007, Richard Pearlstone has been the Chair of the Jewish Agency BOG, following Carole Solomon's leadership Moshe Vigdor serves in the capacity of the organization's director general. Moshe Vigdor announced his resignation in December 2009. On March 1, 2010 Alan Hoffman
Alan Hoffman
Alan Hoffman is the name of:*Alan Hoffman , American mathematician*Alan L Hoffman, Chief of Staff to Vice President of United States and Deputy Assistant to President...

, Director General of the Jewish Agency Education Department, was named as Moshe Vigdor's replacement. Alan Hoffman is the first immigrant to hold that position at the Jewish Agency.
The Board of Governors determines the policy of the Jewish Agency for Israel and manages, supervises, controls and directs its operations and activities. All bodies (other than the Assembly), officers and officials of the Jewish Agency act within the policies set by the Assembly and Board of Governors and are accountable to the Board of Governors. Between meetings of the Assembly, the Board of Governors has full power to act for the Agency and may fix policy, provided that its acts and decisions are not inconsistent with previous decisions or instructions of the Assembly.

The Board of Governors has up to 120 members divided as follows:
  1. 50% World Zionist Organization
    World Zionist Organization
    The World Zionist Organization , or WZO, was founded as the Zionist Organization , or ZO, in 1897 at the First Zionist Congress, held from August 29 to August 31 in Basel, Switzerland...

  2. 30% United Israel Appeal, Inc.
    United Israel Appeal, Inc.
    United Israel Appeal, Inc. , is a wholly owned subsidiary of Jewish Federations of North America formerly known as United Jewish Communities UJC...

     (UIA) and Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), formerly UJC
  3. 20% Keren Hayesod
    Keren Hayesod
    Keren Hayesod – United Israel Appeal is the central fundraising organization for Israel, with operations in 45 countries. The work of Keren Hayesod is carried out in accordance with the Keren Hayesod Law, 5716-1956, passed by the Knesset in January 1956...



The Board of Governors meets three times a year at the Jewish Agency headquarters located in Jerusalem.

Funding sources


The Jewish Agency is supported by:
  1. The Government of Israel.
  2. Founding constituent partners: Keren Hayesod, Jewish Federations of North America, and Jewish federations throughout the world
  3. Primary funders: Keren Hayesod, United Jewish Communities and major Jewish federations in North America, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews


The Jewish Agency is also supported by donor contributions from throughout the world including Israel, where a growing number of philanthropists have joined through the Spirit of Israel Campaign to support the organizations projects and sit on the Board of Governors.

Due to the volatile U.S. dollar, the global economic crisis and the Madoff scandal, the Jewish Agency for Israel has been forced to make significant cuts to its budget. The Board of Governors voted to cut $45 million in November 2008 and an additional $26 million at the February 2009 meeting.

Responding in crisis


As a response during the 2006 Lebanon War. The Jewish Agency (through $302 million from UJC and Federation partners) responded with the following: :
  • Moving 50,000 children from the north to 50 residential camps, established in response to the emergency situation
  • 12,000 children went to day JAFI-equipped summer camps held in community centers
  • 2,100 new immigrants were moved to safety after the Katushas hit a number of absorption centers.
  • 2,700 bomb shelter kits were distributed


The Jewish Agency has taken on a significant role in rebuilding the entire northern region. It established the micro-business loan fund to help boost the local economy. In addition, the Israel Discount Bank
Israel Discount Bank
Israel Discount Bank Ltd. , I.D.B., is one of Israel's three largest banks, with 260 branches, and assets of 171 billion NIS .-History:...

 has partnered with the Jewish Agency by providing matching funds for capital projects there.

Another example, is the Jewish Agency's role in supporting Sderot
Sderot
Sderot is a western Negev city in the Southern District of Israel. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , at the end of 2009 the city had a total population of 20,700. The city has been an ongoing target of Qassam rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip...

 and the surrounding area, which has been hit hard with Kassam missiles from Gaza. Here are some key examples:
  • More than 12,000 children enjoyed respite activities in the center and north of the country
  • 300 educators were trained to work with children living through the trauma
  • Supplemental educational activities were offered to more than 2,000 students
  • The S.O.S. Emergency Fund for Victims of Terror helped more than 200 people whose lives have been directly effected by the Kassam attacks
  • 100 bomb shelters are being renovated in the region
  • 500 students are studying in the Sapir Regional College (near Sderot) with scholarships to ensure their academic continuity and the college's continued operation

Jewish People Policy Planning Institute


The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute was established in 2002 by the Jewish Agency for Israel as an independent professional policy planning think tank
Think tank
A think tank is an organization that conducts research and engages in advocacy in areas such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, and technology issues. Most think tanks are non-profit organizations, which some countries such as the United States and Canada provide with tax...

 to promote the identity, culture, prosperity, and continuity of the Jewish People. Every year, Jewish leaders participate in JPPPI's conferences and meetings that forecast the Jewish condition. Participants have included Dennis Ross
Dennis Ross
Dennis B. Ross is an American diplomat and author. He has served as the Director of Policy Planning in the State Department under President George H. W...

, Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
GCMG is the ninth President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel and once as Interim Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years...

, Natan Sharansky
Natan Sharansky
Natan Sharansky was born in Stalino, Soviet Union on 20 January 1948 to a Jewish family. He graduated with a degree in applied mathematics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. As a child, he was a chess prodigy. He performed in simultaneous and blindfold displays, usually against...

, Malcolm Hoenlein, Tzipi Livni
Tzipi Livni
Tzipporah Malkah "Tzipi" Livni is an Israeli lawyer and politician. She is the current Israeli Opposition Leader and leader of Kadima, the largest party in the Knesset. Raised an ardent nationalist, Livni has become one of her nation's leading voices for the two-state solution. In Israel she has...

. The Institute conducts meetings, publishes reports and position papers, and produces contingency plans that help the development of Jewish communities around the world.

External links