JNF-Jewish National Fund-celebrates its 120 anniversary

The JNF, founded by the Zionist movement, celebrates its 120 anniversary. The Hebrew name for JNF is KKL, standing for Keren Kayemet LeIsrael.

The history of it is being told by pictures hung long the departure hall at TLV in Israel.

JNF’s main areas of activity and action are: forestry and environment, water and stream restoration, settlement and road construction, education and youth, tourism and activity in forests and parks, research and development.  JNF’s logo is in green, blue and brown.

These three colors symbolize JNF’s contribution to Israel’s development: Brown symbolizes the purchase and cultivation of land. Green symbolizes the forests that KKL-JNF planted, its environmental conservation work and fighting climate change. Blue represents KKL-JNF’s contribution to lsrael’s water economy

In the picture below we see Binyamin Ze’ev Herzl, the founder of the Zionist movement and the prophet of the modern state of Israel. At the Fifth Zionist Congress held in 1901, Herzl realized that in order to establish the Jewish state, a national fund should be established to purchase land in the Land of Israel, which at that time was under Ottoman rule. This is how the JNF came into the world.

The JNF is known for the creative methods it has come up with to raise money for its operations. One of the most recognizable symbols of JNF are the “blue boxes”, donation boxes that were distributed among Jewish communities. These boxes resulted in popular donations from all over the Jewish world, which funded JNF activities in the Land of Israel.

The “Golden Books” are an additional marketing concept created by JNF.
Each Book of Honor weighs about thirty kilograms, and is bound in a thick cover, decorated with works of art. In these books are inscribed the names of generations of donorsa commemoration enterprise unlike any other. Prominent among the Books of Honor is the Golden Book. Donors whose names were inscribed int his book received a beautiful certificate that was designed in 1901, the year in which KKL-JNF was founded. KKL-JNF’s other Books of Honor lists pecial events in the lives of those whose names were inscribed in them: Bar or Bat Mitzvah, marriage, and the births of children.

Over the years, the Golden Books have become a unique commemorative and memorial enterprise in the world.

This poster, from the earliest days of the State of Israel, presents, in naive style, the work of KKL-JNF in the young State of lsrael. During the first decade of the state’s existence, KKL-JNF provided employment and a livelihood for new immigrants, who worked mainly inp reparing the ground and in afforestation


David Ben-Gurion, the man who courageously declared the independence of the State of lsrael despite the enormous danger to the tiny, fragile
Jewish comunity that was living in the country at the time, understood the importance of planting trees on the land. “No building or electricity is more
important than a strong eucalyptus, an ancient sycamore, an oak grove. They are the roots of humanity,” he said.
David Ben-Gurion was happy to plant trees at every opportunity. Here he is seen planting the tree that came to be known as “Ben-Gurion’s Cedar” in the Jerusalem hills.

In the past hundred and twenty years the JNF planted all over the Land of Israel more than 250 million trees, making Israel the only country in the world where the number of trees is increasing every year, rather than decreasing, as happening elsewhere.

Different travelers who visited the Land of Israel before the JNF started its activities usually described a shadeless country, having barent hills and mountains.
One of the aims of planning the trees was to get the people connected to their land while enjoying the new forests that were planted.

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Picture of Shai Shvalb

Shai Shvalb

Shalom! My name is Shai Shvalb, and I am a professional private tour guide, and the owner of Know the Land. As a storyteller, I love to lead and guide my guests using my private car in the Land of Israel. I am especially enthusiastic about guiding those interested in history and archaeology, interfaith dialogue and comparison, the Bible, Israeli society, and, of course, Israeli food and markets. I guide in a deep and meaningful way, seasoned with a sense of humor.

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