The World Zionist Organization was founded by the initiative of Theodor Herzl during the first Zionist congress in Basel (Switzerland) in 1897.


World Zionist Organization
ההסתדרות הציונית העולמית

First Zionist Congress

The World Zionist Organization was founded on the initiative of Theodor Herzl at the First Zionist Congress in 1897 in Basel, Switzerland.

During the congress, a resolution known as the “Basel Program” was adopted, outlining the goal of the Zionist movement as the “establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in the land of Israel.”

To achieve this goal, the following directions were defined:

  • Facilitating the settlement of Jewish farmers, craftsmen, and workers in Palestine;
  • Organizing and uniting all of Jewry through local and international institutions, in accordance with the laws of each country;
  • Strengthening and developing Jewish national feeling and self-awareness;
  • Taking preliminary measures to obtain the consent of governments to the implementation of Zionist goals.
  • The Basel Program served as the foundational document for Zionist activity until the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.
  • In 2004, a new resolution known as the “Jerusalem Program” was adopted, becoming a new platform for the activities of the World Zionist Organization.

Jerusalem Program – 2004

The State of Israel emerged as a result of Zionism, the national-liberation movement of the Jewish people. Zionism envisions the Jewish, Zionist, democratic State of Israel within secure borders as an expression of the collective responsibility of the Jewish people for its continuity and future.

Basel. City Casino

The building of the City Casino, where the First Zionist Congress took place in 1897.

Meeting of the World Zionist Organization

The fundamental principles of Zionism include:

  • Unity of the Jewish people, its connection to its historical homeland, Eretz Israel, and the central place of Israel and Jerusalem as its capital in the life of the Jewish people.
  • Aliyah to Israel from all countries and the successful integration of all immigrants into Israeli society.
  • Strengthening Israel as a Jewish, Zionist, and democratic state and shaping in the country an exemplary society, as prophesied by the prophets, with its unique moral and spiritual character, characterized by mutual respect among Jews in all their diversity, a society striving for peace, and contributing to improving life on our planet.
  • Ensuring the future and national identity of the Jewish people through the development of Jewish and Zionist education, the study of the Hebrew language as the national language of the Jewish people, commitment to the spiritual and cultural values of the Jewish people.
  • Development of mutual responsibility among Jews, protection of the rights of each individual Jew and the collective rights of all Jews as a people, representation of the common Zionist interests of the Jewish people, and the struggle against all manifestations of anti-Semitism.
  • Settlement of Israel as the practical realization of Zionism.

120 Years of the World Zionist Organization

In 2017, the World Zionist Organization celebrated its 120th anniversary. Over these years, Jews established their state, defended its independence, and achieved incredible successes in many areas.

120 years are not just a symbolic date. It marks the beginning of a new stage in the promotion of the idea of Zionism and the development of Zionist activities in the Jewish world. It is time to elevate relations with the Jewish diaspora to a new level and build bridges that will bring Jews closer to Israel and encourage them to return to their historical homeland.

Jerusalem. Building of the World Zionist Organization and Jewish Agency “Sohnut.”

Constructed in the 1930s according to the design of architect Yohanan Ratner.