14 Feb The Story Of World Zionist Organization
World Zionist Organization
The World Zionist Organization HaHistadrut HaTzionit Ha’Olamit), or WZO, is a non-governmental organization that promotes Zionism. It was founded as the Zionist Organization (ZO; 1897–1960) at the initiative of Theodor Herzl at the First Zionist Congress, which took place in August 1897 in Basel, Switzerland. When it was founded, the goals of the Zionist movement were stated in a resolution that came of that Congress and came to be known as the Basel Program.
“Zionism aims at establishing for the Jewish people a legally assured home in Palestine. For the attainment of this purpose, the Congress considers the following means serviceable:
The promotion of the settlement of Jewish agriculturists [farmers], artisans, and tradesmen in the Land of Israel
The federation [unified organisation] of all Jews into local or general groups, according to the laws of the various countries
The strengthening of the Jewish feeling and consciousness [national sentiment and national consciousness]
Preparatory steps for the attainment of those governmental grants which are necessary to the achievement of the Zionist purpose.”
Operating under the aegis of the WZO are organizations that define themselves as Zionist, such as WIZO, Hadassah, B’nai B’rith, Maccabi, the International Sephardic Federation, the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS), and more.
The Jewish Agency is a parallel organisation, with goals, attributes and leadership closely intertwined with those of the Zionist Organization during the years before the establishment of the State of Israel, and to varying degrees after that. Significant changes to the statutes of both organisations occurred in 1952, 1970 and 1979.
Founded as the Zionist Organization , or ZO, in 1897 at the First Zionist Congress, held from August 29 to August 31 in Basel, Switzerland. The ZO’s newspaper Die Welt was founded in the same year. It changed its name to World Zionist Organization in January 1960.
The ZO served as an umbrella organization for the Zionist movement, whose objective was the creation of a Jewish homeland in Eretz Yisrael – at that time under the Ottoman Empire and following the First World War, the British Mandate of Palestine. When the State of Israel was declared 51 years later on May 14, 1948, many of its new administrative institutions were already in place, having evolved during the regular Zionist Congresses of the previous decades. Some of these institutions remain to this day.
The finances of the WZO were conducted by the Jewish Colonial Trust (founded in 1899), and acquisition of land was conducted by the Jewish National Fund (founded in 1901).Keren Hayesod (founded 1920) funded Zionist and Yishuv activities prior to the creation of the state of Israel through enterprises such as the Palestine Electric Company, the Palestine Potash Company and the Anglo-Palestine Bank.
Member card of the (Polish) Zionist Organization, issued in 1929
Membership in the ZO was open to all Jews, and the right to vote for delegates to the congresses was secured by the purchase of the Zionist Shekel. Delegations from all around the world, and from many different political backgrounds and religious traditions, took part in each Congress; delegations/parties were mainly grouped by ideology, rather than by geography.
In 1960 the ZO changed its name to the World Zionist Organization and adopted a new constitution under which individuals are ineligible for membership, which is reserved for organizations.