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World Zionist Organization (WZO)

Website: http://www.wzo.org.il/

Category: Religion

Year of Foundation: 1897

Location of Foundation: Basel, Switzerland

Location of Headquarters: Jerusalem, Israel

Brief Description: The World Zionist Organization describes itself as 'working for Jewish Zionist Education in Israel and worldwide by supporting the activities of Zionist Federations around the world.' (source: www.wzo.org.il; accessed 20 April 2010 - translation adapted from Google Translate output).

Founding Rationales:

At the First Zionist Congress held in Basel in 1897 Theodor Herzl stated 'the Congress will provide for its own continuance, so that we may not disperse once more ineffectual and ephemeral. Through this Congress we are creating an agency for the Jewish people, such as it has not possessed heretofore, an agency of which it has stood in urgent need. Our cause is too great to be left to the ambition or to the discretion of individuals. It must be elevated to the realm of the impersonal if it is to succeed.' The draft Zionist programme stated 'Zionism seeks to establish for the Jewish people a legally secured homeland in Palestine. To achieve this goal, Congress envisages the following methods: (1) By fostering the settlement of Palestine with farmers, labourers and artisans. (2) By organising the whole of Jewry in suitable local and general bodies, in accordance with the laws of their respective countries. (3) By strengthening the national Jewish feeling and national consciousness. (4) By taking preparatory steps to attain any Governmental consent which may be necessary to reach the aim of Zionism.' Concluding his report on the Zionist Organization, Max Bodenheimer stated: 'The ship of the Jewish people drifts aimlessly on the troubled seas; there is no captain or helmsman to bring it into a safe port. Give the people its leader and the well-captained ship will soon, amidst the gay jubilation of its crew, reach the verdant shore of that land which promises us the palm of peace and the sun of freedom.'

Source: The Executive of the Zionist Organization, 'The Jubilee of the First Zionist Congress, 1897-1947' (Jerusalem: The Executive of the Zionist Organization, 1947), pp. 54-5, 73, 76-77.

Evolution of Membership:

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