Israel and Palestine: Land Rights--Jewish National Fund

Figure 1.-- Here is an early adverisement for the Jewish National Fund Tree Fund. It is undated, but it woukd be some time after 1904 when Theodor Hertzel died. As it is in English as well as Hebrew, it was distributed in America or Britain. The English text reads, "Tge object of the tree fund of the Jewish Natiional Fund is the reaforestation of Erez Israel in memory of Theodore Herzel founder of the Zionist movement." Notice the reference to reforestation. That suggests that the land where trees werebeing planted were areas that were in the past forested. We are not sure if that was in fact the case and if so what led to the deforestation and when it occurred..

The Jewish National Fund (קרן קימת לישראל--JNF/KKL) was founded to buy and develop land in Palestine, at the time part of the Ottoman Empire (1901). The JNF was a creation at the Fifth Zionist Congress in Basel. Theodor Herzl's supported a propsal from German Jewish mathematician, Zvi Hermann Schapira. The first JNF land purchases were transacted in Judea and the Lower Galilee. The JNF hekped to found Tel Aviv (1909). The JNF established the “Olive Tree Fund” which cam to be known as simply the Tree Fund. This was the beginning of the forestation efforts which became part of the lJewish land program in Palestine. The JNF continued to operate after World War I in the British Mandate as well as indepebdent Israel. The JNF was begun as a Jewish charity in the diaspora. Ubiqitous blue tin boxes (pushke) appeared every where in Jewish homes and business to recieve pocket change. It is now a quasi-governmental, non-profit charitable organisation. It owns about 15 percent the land in Israel. A major part of the JNF's program was the forestation of Israel. The JNO has planted nearly 250 million trees. Many Jews contributed money to dedicate a tree to a loved one. The JNF has also financed a range of reclamation efforts, including 180 dams and reservoirs. The JNF has helped develop 250,000 acres of land and eenabled the creatiin of over 1,000 parks. The Tree of Life Award is a JNF humanitarian award. The JNF encourages Jews in the diapora to make donations to plant trees for special occassions like births, Bar or Bat Mitzvah, graduations, weddings, birthdays, and memorials.


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Created: 5:11 AM 4/13/2011
Last updated: 5:17 AM 4/13/2011