The Origin and History of JNF UK

In 1901, on the fourth day of the fifth Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, the assembled delegates debated a proposal to set up a national fund to help build the Jewish state in the land of Israel, then under the control of the Ottoman Empire.

JNF/KKL was the vision of Theodor Herzl who, having witnessed incidents of anti-Semitism, proposed the establishment of an organisation to purchase land for an independent Jewish state in what was then the Ottoman Empire, and subsequently British Mandatory Palestine.

Herzl pleaded with delegates: “After striving for so many years to set up the fund, we do not want to disperse again without having done anything.”

His speech turned the delegates around, the motion was passed, and the Congress resolved that a fund should be established called the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael in Hebrew) noting that “the fund shall be the property of the Jewish people as a whole.”

JNF/KKL was founded on Zionist principles and ideals: establishing and developing a Jewish state for the benefit of Jewish people.

On 8 April 1907, JNF/KKL set up the Juedischer Nationalfonds (Keren Kayemeth LeYisrael) Limited, which was renamed Keren Kayemeth LeYisrael Limited or ‘KKL Limited’ in 1921. In 1953 KKL Limited reorganised as an Israeli company under the name ‘Keren Kayemeth LeYisrael’ or ‘KKL’. KKL, also referred to as KKL-JNF, is a not-for-profit organisation but it is not a charity. In Israel, a reference to ‘the JNF’ is likely to mean KKL; it should not be confused with JNF UK.

In 1905, JNF/KKL activities started in England and by 1908, a body called the Jewish National Fund Commission for England had been set up, which eventually became the Jewish National Fund for Israel in Great Britain and Ireland.

The Jewish National Fund for Israel in Great Britain and Ireland was the precursor to JNF UK. JNF UK was incorporated in July 1939 as an association under the Companies Act 1929, and registered as a charity. Despite originating from the same movement, JNF UK was, and remains, a completely separate entity to KKL or any other JNFs: JNF UK is not a ‘branch’ of KKL or any other JNFs.

JNF UK was incorporated in July 1939 and since then has become an environmental and humanitarian trail-blazer: planting in excess of 240 million trees; building more than 210 reservoirs and dams; developing over 250,000 acres of land; creating more than 1,000 parks and providing crucial infrastructure and humanitarian support to over 1,000 communities.

Please click on the following links to read more about the Relationship between JNF UK and KKL, What is JNF Educational  Trust?, What is KKL Charity Accounts?, What are JNF UK’s Purposes?JNF UK’s Support for the Negev, How does JNF UK selects its projects?What is JNF UK’s Project Criteria?, and What is Zionism and what does it mean to JNF UK?