FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JNF Statement on Knesset Bill
July 20, 2007 -- New York, NY -- On July 18, 2007, the Israeli Knesset plenum approved the first reading of a bill which calls for all lands under Jewish National Fund - Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (JNF-KKL) ownership to continue be allocated to Jews only as has been its covenant for over 100 years. The bill passed by a majority of 64 -16 members of the Knesset.
The following is a statement issued by Ronald S. Lauder, president of Jewish National Fund of America.
"We are gratified that the government of Israel, which since 1961 has been entrusted with management of JNF lands through the Israel Land Authority (ILA), recognized that the land purchased by the Jewish people for the Jewish people should remain in the hands of its rightful owners.
"This Knesset decision reaffirms the vision and the dream of Theodor Herzl and the millions of Jews over the past 106 years who contributed and participated in the rebirth of a Jewish nation after 2,000 years. The land of Israel is part of the very existence of the Jewish people from as far back as Abraham. We are a people linked to our land. Now and forever."
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Jewish National Fund (JNF) began in 1901 collecting coins in blue boxes to purchase land and return the Jewish people to their homeland. In over 106 years, JNF has evolved into a global environmental leader and become the central address for the land and people of Israel. JNF has planted 240 million trees. Built over 1,000 parks and recreational areas. Constructed security roads. Educated students around the world about Israel. Created new communities so that Jews from around the world would have a place to call home. Discovered drip irrigation and new means of growing plants under arid conditions, bringing green to the desert. Built over 190 reservoirs and water recycling centers, increasing Israel's water supply by 10%.
As a United Nations NGO, JNF sponsors international conferences on desertification, shares afforestation techniques and funds research on arid land management. Is restoring northern Israel, making it home again to its residents. Is supporting Israel's newest generation of pioneers by developing the Negev Desert, Israel's last frontier. For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit http://www.jnf.org/. JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization.