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walked these corridors, deliberated and made decisions which have proved decisive to Israel's Independence, decisions to bring home millions of Jews and to establish hundreds of villages and towns across the land.
The Jewish Agency has since continued to operate from this building in the face of the Jewish People's shifting challenges, generation after generation: In struggles and audacious operations that saw three and a half million Jewish Olim arriving in the State of Israel, in populating the hundreds of settlements it had built all over the country, in leading "Project Renewal" initiatives to rehabilitate and revitalize underprivileged communities and neighborhoods, in extensive cross- sectarian activities, reaching out to Israeli Society on behalf of Diaspora Jewry, for the benefit of the Jewish People worldwide and more.
As we enter our centenary decade, the Jewish Agency faces enormous challenges to our People, both in Israel and abroad, including invoking domestic harmony - Shlom Bayit- within the Jewish People; strengthening the bond between Diaspora Jewry and the State of Israel; making the voice of Diaspora Jewry heard by the Israeli leadership and by Israeli Society, to guarantee their safety and well-being wherever they may be in this era of resurgent anti-Semitism and, of course, facilitating the Aliyah of tens of thousands of Jews each year.
I wish to thank Dr. Mordechai Naor for writing this fascinating book telling the story of the National Institutions Building. Thank you to those who lent a hand in the Zionist Archive - first and foremost to Dr. Yigal Sitry, the Archive Manager. Thank you to the Jewish Agency’s Mr. Amos Yovel, whose phenomenal memory is a treasure beyond compare and a special thank you to my friend Boaz Dekel and his sister Noa Gefen, whose “Dekel Library” enterprise, which is named after their late father Yehuda Dekel, former Head of The Jewish Agency Settlement Division, is a magnificent project. Boaz and Noa are also the grandchildren of Eliyahu Dobkin, a long-time senior figure in The Jewish Agency and one of the signatories to Israel’s Declaration of Independence. Sincere thanks go out to my friend Hanan Mor, Chairman of the Worker’s Committee, for his dedication to this project and to our Chairman of the Board of Governors, Michael Siegal.
A special honorable mention is due to my friend Mr. Avraham Duvdevani, Chairman of the World Zionist Organization, who has followed in the footsteps of his father, the late Baruch Duvdevani, mythological Director of The Jewish Agency’s Aliyah Department, who was our partner in this commendable effort.
They are all credited with telling the story of the building which saw, and will continue to see historic moments in the life of the Jewish People and our State of Israel.
" This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. "
Isaac Herzog
Chairman of the Executive The Jewish Agency for Israel
(Psalms 118, verse 24)
Jerusalem, February 2020

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