Operating under Knesset law

March 12, 2015 by Dan Springer
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Recent assertions by the UIA about their “unique” status has raised serious concerns within the boardrooms and offices of other Zionist organisations…writes JNF CEO Dan Springer.

Jerusalem building hosings HQs of KH-UIA, KKL-JNF, The Jewish Agency and WZO

Jerusalem building housing the HQs of KH-UIA, KKL-JNF, The Jewish Agency and WZO

The UIA claims that:

  1. “UIA is the only fundraising organisation in Australia that operates by virtue of a Knesset Law”

Fact: There are 3 Zionist organisations operating in Australia that are governed by their own Knesset Laws, namely KKL-JNF, the World Zionist Organisation (WZO) via its affiliate the ZFA and Keren Hayesod (KH) via its affiliate the UIA.

  1. “The law recognises UIA’s unique status as the official fundraising arm of the State of Israel”

Fact: Neither the Keren Hayesod Law, nor any other laws, recognise or confer such status on the organisation. KH-UIA is a fundraising arm of the Jewish Agency not the State of Israel and both entities operate as non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

  1. “UIA is the only body that operates on behalf of the State and People of Israel to raise funds as per the National Priorities of the Government of Israel

Fact: KH-UIA is one of 4 NGO’s that operate under the status of “National Institutions” and are guided in their work by the “National Priorities of the Government of Israel”. The other 3 are KKL-JNF, the WZO and the Jewish Agency.

The irony, or dare I say it, perfidy, of these claims by the UIA, is that they aim to disenfranchise the very Zionist organisations that not only predated them, but nurtured their early existence, namely their parent organisation the WZO (and the many organisations affiliated with it), and their older sibling the JNF.

A brief timeline is instructive.

1897 – The Zionist Organization (later to be known as the World Zionist Organisation) was created at the First World Zionist Conference, with the objective of creating a Jewish Homeland.

1901 – The JNF was founded at the Fifth Zionist Congress in Basel, with the objective of acquiring and developing the Land on which the Jewish Homeland would be founded.

1920 – KH-UIA was created in London, to help fund the return to the Jewish Homeland i.e. Aliya.

1929 – The Jewish Agency for Israel was created at the 16th Zionist Congress in Zurich, to serve as the operative arm of the WZO in creating a Jewish Homeland.

As an interesting footnote to all of this, the world headquarters of Israel’s “National Institutions” – KKL-JNF, KH-UIA, WZO and Jewish Agency – are all located in the same historic building in Jerusalem. (Please see picture).

It was from the balcony of this building, on the corner of King George and Keren Kayemet LeYisrael St, that the establishment of the State of Israel was declared by members of the People’s Assembly who were besieged in Jerusalem and unable to reach the declaration in Tel Aviv. The first sessions of the Knesset were also hosted in this building, as was the inauguration of Israel’s first president, Chaim Weizman.

Let us all use the physical example of co-existence that the National Institutions Building represents, to work together in expanding the pie of support for Israel and its varied needs and causes. We welcome the UIA in that effort.

Our Community, our Land and our People deserve no less.


One Response to “Operating under Knesset law”
  1. Mike Gold says:

    Thank you Dan for that important history lesson. There’s so much these organisations have in common it would be a shame for them to fight amongst themselves.

    So, what else to the KH-UIA, WZO and JNF all have in common?

    Refusing to let the public see their financial accounts!

    Wasting money on $500,000 on keynote speakers! http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/168511

    Corruption investigations! http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4610722,00.html

    So much in common! Everyone knows the UIA isn’t unique!

    Surely all of us — Zionists, committed to the Jewish state, committed to funding activities in Israel — can agree that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones?

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