World Zionist Organization

World Zionist Organization

The World Zionist Organization (Hebrew: ההסתדרות הציונית העולמית), or WZO, was founded as the Zionist Organization (Hebrew: ההסתדרות הציונית), or ZO, in 1897 at the First Zionist Congress, held from August 29 to August 31 in Basel, Switzerland. [See [ Chapter 2: "The Seven Years of Herzl"] of " [ Zionism – The First 120 Years] " by the Jewish Agency.] The ZO served as an umbrella organization for the Zionist movement, which aimed at creating a Jewish State of Israel in the region then known as Palestine. Theodor Herzl, who with Max Nordau, organized the first Congress, later wrote in his diary: "If I were to sum up the Congress in a word – which I shall take care not to publish – it would be this: At Basle I founded the Jewish State. If I said this out loud today I would be greeted by universal laughter. In five years perhaps, and certainly in fifty years, everyone will perceive it." ["The Diaries of Theodor Herzl", ed. and trsl. Marvin Lowenthal, London, 1958, p. 220 as quoted in [ Gideon Shimoni: "Historiographical Issues in Conveying Herzl’s Legacy"] .]

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.Fact|date=June 2007

In January 1960 the ZO changed its name to the "World Zionist Organization". The WZO's headquarters is in Jerusalem.Fact|date=June 2007

Membership and delegations

Membership in the WZO 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.Fact|date=June 2007

Presidents of World Zionist Organization

:* Theodor Herzl : (1897 - 1904):* David Wolfsohn : (1905 - 1911):* Otto Warburg : (1911 - 1921):* Chaim Weizmann (1st time) : (1921 - 1931):* Nahum Sokolow : (1931 - 1935):* Chaim Weizmann (2nd time) : (1935 - 1946):* David Ben-Gurion (acting) : (1946 - 1956):* Nahum Goldmann : (1956 - 1968) [ [ ZIONISM- Timeline of Events ] ]

Chairs of the Executive of World Zionist Organization (and the Jewish Agency for Israel)

(Note: Many citations needed for these):* Ehud Avriel : (1968 - 1972):* Louis Arie Pincus : (1968 - Oct 1973) , (head of the executive to 1972) :* Arie Leon Dulzin (1st time) (acting) : (Oct 1973 - 1975):* Pinhas Sapir : (1975 - 12 Aug 1975):* Arie Leon Dulzin (2nd time) (acting) : (12 Aug 1975 - 6 Jan 1976):* Joseph Almogi : (6 Jan 1976 - 1978):* Arie Leon Dulzin (3rd time) : (1978 - Dec 1987):* Simcha Dinitz : (Dec 1987 - 14 Feb 1994):* Yehiel Leket (acting) : (Feb 1994 - Feb 1995):* Avraham Burg : (Feb 1995 - Feb 1999):* Sallai Meridor : (25 Feb 1999 - 2005 ) , (acting to May 1999):* Zeev Bielski: (2005 - present)

ister organizations

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). [ [ Chapter Two The Seven Years of Herzl ] ] 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". [ [ Keren Hayesod - United Israel Appeal ] ]

World Zionist Congress

The World Zionist Congress (Hebrew: הקונגרס הציוני העולמי) is also known to many as 'The Parliament of The Jewish People' and it is the most important democratic gathering of Jews worldwide. It elects the officers and decides on the policies of the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency. Any Jew over age 18 who belongs to a Zionist Association is eligible to vote. []

From 1897-1901, the Zionist Congress met every year, then every second year from 1903-1913 and 1921-1939. Until 1946 the Congress was held every two years in various European cities, save for interruptions during the two World Wars. Their goal was to build an infrastructure to further the cause of Jewish settlement in Palestine. Since the Second World War, meetings have been held approximately every four years. Also, since the creation of the State of Israel, the congress has met every four or five years in Jerusalem. [ [ The Zionist Century | Concepts | Zionist Congresses ] ] The 35th World Zionist Congress was held in June, 2006 [ [ Haaretz - Israel News - Search Results ] ] . The largest faction in the World Zionist Congress at present is a coalition consisting of Kadima, Labour-Meretz, Mercaz (representing Conservative Judaism) and ARZA (Representing Reform Judaism.)Fact|date=March 2008 Zeev Bielski of Kadima was re-elected WZO Chairman. The next Congress is scheduled for 2010.

Jerusalem Program

The platform of the WZO is the Jerusalem Program. The Zionist Council, meeting in Jerusalem in June 2004, adopted this text as the latest version. [ [ Jerusalem Program 2004 ] ]

Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, brought about the establishment of the State of Israel, and views a Jewish, Zionist, democratic and secure State of Israel to be the expression of the common responsibility of the Jewish people for its continuity and future.

The foundations of Zionism are:

- The unity of the Jewish people, its bond to its historic homeland Eretz Yisrael, and the centrality of the State of Israel and Jerusalem, its capital, in the life of the nation;
- Aliyah to Israel from all countries and the effective integration of all immigrants into Israeli Society.
- Strengthening Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state and shaping it as an exemplary society with a unique moral and spiritual character, marked by mutual respect for the multi-faceted Jewish people, rooted in the vision of the prophets, striving for peace and contributing to the betterment of the world.
- Ensuring the future and the distinctiveness of the Jewish people by furthering Jewish, Hebrew and Zionist education, fostering spiritual and cultural values and teaching Hebrew as the national language;
- Nurturing mutual Jewish responsibility, defending the rights of Jews as individuals and as a nation, representing the national Zionist interests of the Jewish people, and struggling against all manifestations of anti-Semitism;
- Settling the country as an expression of practical Zionism.

Herzl Award

Since 2004, Department for Zionist Activities of the World Zionist Organization bestows the Herzl Award annually upon outstanding young men and women in recognition of their exceptional volunteer efforts on behalf of Israel and the Zionist cause. [ [ The Herzl Award 2004-2005 ] ]

External links

* [ National Association for the Advocacy of Modern Zionism]
* [ WZO – Doing Zionism]
* [ The WZO Hagshama Department] (formerly the Student Department)
* [ World Zionist Congress Gallery]
* [ Exhibit of election posters] for WZC elections across the decades.


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