The History of Keren Hayesod - UIA
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The key to Eretz Israel is now in our hands and we must endeavour to make sure that through these gates, which will open widely, the largest possible number of Jews will enter, settle and integrate into the country. We need to provide ourselves with the means for this great work and we must begin today...
Israel's future first President Dr. Chaim Weizman, 1920
KH Manifesto, 1920
Keren Hayesod was established in London in the summer of 1920 to provide the Zionist movement with the necessary resources to bring about the return to the Land of Israel, following the Balfour Declaration in 1917 - a statement that turned the ages-old dream of return to Zion into a politically feasible goal. Within a short time, Keren Hayesod established fundraising organizations around the world, beginning primarily in Western and Central Europe. Leading figures from the entire political spectrum, such as Chaim Weizmann and Ze’ev Jabotinsky, were involved. Teams of representatives traveled abroad to establish Keren Hayesod offices and to inform Jewish communities about the organization and seek their support. In 1921, for example, Chaim Weizmann and Albert Einstein went to the United States in an effort to raise funds to establish the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with Keren Hayesod support. In 1925, the university became a reality. In 1921, Keren Hayesod helped found Bank Hapoalim and began establishing physical projects in the Land of Israel, starting with Beit Ha’am in Ramat Yishai (Lower Galilee), in 1927.
In 1926, Keren Hayesod relocated its headquarters from London to Jerusalem. With the establishment of the Jewish Agency in 1929, KH became its fundraising arm while continuing its own wide-ranging activities.