In the 1870s Dr Theodore Herzl, a journalist from Vienna had a dream of establishing a Jewish homeland in the biblical land of Israel. Although Herzl was not the first to have this dream, he was certainly the most effective. In order for Herzl to establish a firm financial footing for his dream, two charitable… Read more »
In the 1870s Dr Theodore Herzl, a journalist from Vienna had a dream of establishing a Jewish homeland in the biblical land of Israel. Although Herzl was not the first to have this dream, he was certainly the most effective. In order for Herzl to establish a firm financial footing for his dream, two charitable funds were set up in London in the early 20th century which are now known as the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and the United Joint Israel Appeal (UJIA).
After the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1917, Britain administered Palestine, which was the name of the land given by the Romans after their occupation 2000 years ago. The JNF’s role was to prepare the land for Jewish immigrant farmers and the role of the forerunners to the UJIA was to help settle these farm workers in agricultural establishments (kibbutzim).
During the British administration from 1917 to 1948, the funds from both charities were essential for the wellbeing of the Jewish community in the land. Soon after the State of Israel was established in 1948, the two charities really came into their own. Charity committees were set up all over the western world including of course the UK.
InBrighton & Hove,a joint committee for both charities was established which ran together until the 1970s, after which they split and continued as separate committees until the 1990s. The JNF were known for arranging annual charity variety shows at the Hippodrome and boxing matches at the Metropole Hotel.
The UJIA kept to strict fundraising, both face-to-face canvassing and fundraising dinners which were mostly held at the Metropole Hotel. Many of the dinners were hosted by Leon Tamman who was the President of the local UJIA and Ronnie Bloom as Chairman. These events were addressed by some of the most important personalities of their time – Abba Eban, Golda Meir, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, Manny Shinwell and Harold Wilson.
By the 1990s, Israel had evolved from a third world country to a first world western oriented democracy. The reasons for fundraising for Israel had changed and funds now were being raised centrally in London for wide-ranging medical, educational and environmental projects and other important areas of need in Israel. The work dealt with by local committees then ceased.
The dedicated work of the Brighton & Hove committees will be fondly remembered by the older members of the Brighton & Hove community for its involvement with the growth and building of the modern State of Israel.