Keren Hayesod Is Founded Early Karen HaYesod propaganda poster. Photo: National Photo Collection of Israel

December 24, 1920

The World Zionist Congress in London launches Keren Hayesod (Hebrew for “The Foundation Fund,” now known in English as the United Israel Appeal) to raise money for the Zionist movement and fulfill the Balfour Declaration’s promise of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The organization connects with individuals and organizations around the world and collects enough money to help tens of thousands of Jews fleeing Europe to reach Mandatory Palestine over the next two decades. The organization not only pays for Jews to make aliyah, but also helps new immigrants develop economic, educational and cultural foundations in both urban and rural settlements to facilitate absorption into society. Keren Hayesod’s fundraising helps establish the infrastructure of a Jewish state in the 1920s and 1930s. The organization moves its headquarters from London to Jerusalem in 1926.

Keren Hayesod is recognized as one of Israel’s “national institutions,” along with the Jewish Agency, the World Zionist Organization and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL, the Jewish National Fund). It is designated as the state’s official overseas fundraising organization, with branches in 45 nations. Working alongside the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israeli government, Keren Hayesod continues to serve Israel through the encouragement of aliyah and the support for projects intended to strengthen the weaker elements of the Israeli population, including disadvantaged youths and new immigrants. The organization also funds programs for Jewish youths in the Diaspora