Follow The JC on Twitter
Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael (KKL) was founded at the Fifth Zionist Conference held in Basil in 1901. It was to be used exclusively for the purchase of land in pre-state Israel. Many Zionists, even the most secular, were ardent lovers and scholars of both the Bible and rabbinic literature. When naming their projects, they looked to the Jewish canon for a name imbued with significance.
Mishnah Peah (1:1) lists types of good deeds whose rewards you enjoy in this world, while the principle sum of merit you have amassed awaits you in the world to come, hakeren kayemet lo l’olam haba. Keren is the principal sum. Kayemet means exists or remains. If you fulfil such commandments as honouring your parents, loving kindness, and hospitality, the reward that you receive in this world will not diminish your reward in the world to come.
The founders of the Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael were inspired by the jubilee laws that proclaimed, “But the land must not be sold beyond reclaim, for the land is Mine” (Leviticus 25:23).They wanted all the land they bought to remain the public property of the Jewish people forever — a keren kayemet — an enduring possession.