Registered: 27 August 2008
The ZF was founded in 1899 and helped create support for the establishment of the State of Israel. Today we promote Israel's case and defend our common future.
The Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland was established in 1899 to campaign for a permanent homeland for the Jewish people. At that time, Palestine was a distant and neglected province of the Turkish Empire with a Jewish population of approximately 50,000. Herzl was working towards obtaining permission for Jews to settle in Palestine but had reached deadlock in his negotiations with the Sultan. In the United Kingdom, the leaders of the Jewish Community had not shown support to the Zionist Movement and it was left to the few committed members of the Zionist Federation, men and women of faith and vision who were convinced that history and truth were on their side to support Herzl. It was from this narrow base that the Zionist Federation became the centre of which Chaim Weizmann and his small band of British Zionists waged their struggle for a Jewish State.
In 1917, the Balfour Declaration was communicated to Lord Rothschild and the letter from the British Foreign Secretary concluded "I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation".
During the next 30 years London became the centre of the World Zionist Movement. In the Zionist Federation's home at 77 Great Russell Street the Jewish Agency established its main political office and conducted government negotiations whilst the Zionist Federation secured Jewish and general support as well as financial assistance for the movement. Among others, it was the leadership of the Zionist Federation who founded WIZO, UJIA, JNF and Youth movements. After the establishment of Israel, many of the graduates of the Zionist Federation became leaders in the new State. In 1954 the Zionist Federation via the Zionist Federation Education Trust (now known as Scopus) created a network of Zionist Day Schools to educate Jewish children in the spirit of Zionism. The Zionist Federation Education Trust set up 14 schools with over 5000 pupils.
The British Zionist Federation was also the first in the world to set up its own office in Israel to assist in the integration of British Olim. The Zionist Federation today represents the UK Zionist Movement more than 120 organisations, and over 50,000 affiliated members.
Aims and Objectives
Its function is to support, co-ordinate and facilitate the work of all its affiliates nationwide, and to continue its commitment to the Zionist youth movements.
The Zionist Federation aims to encourage the participation of Jews in Zionist activities including education, culture, Hebrew language and Israel information, underpinned by our belief that the main goal of Zionism is Aliyah.
The Zionist Federation is an umbrella organisation encompassing most of the Zionist organizations and individuals in the country and, as such, represents the Zionist movement in the United Kingdom.
At the present time, when the Jewish world is changing beyond recognition, the Zionist Federation has taken on the modern role of making Israel part of the life of every Jew. This is done by co-ordinating the central national Yom Ha'atzmaut celebration, organising seminar in Israel, arranging lectures and conferences to address contemporary issues, having monthly Hebrew discussion groups, supporting our Zionist youth and young leadership and producing publications.
During 1997, to celebrate 100 years of Zionism the Zionist Federation marked 100 years of British Zionist achievement by taking a group of British Zionists on an educational seminar to Israel. The Federation continues the 100 years theme by commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and organising a special weekend seminar on Zionism 100 to include our annual Israel Conference together with organising and participating in many other activities including: a trip to Sweden, young leadership seminars, trips to Israel