P. 15

       December 9, 2019 5 Kislev 5765
Statement by the World Chairman of Keren Hayesod, Sam Grundwerg
Every house and every building has a story behind it. Behind the National Institutions Building lies the history of a nation.
Like most of the founding generation that strove to build the Land of Israel, the National Institutions also originated in the Diaspora, subsequently to relocate to what would become the capital of the Jewish state, Jerusalem.
Over the years, the building witnessed exhilarating and tragic events, it hosted joyous occasions and challenges, and it housed leaders who inspired the citizens of the State of Israel and the entire Jewish people.
In the 1930s, the building witnessed the visit of the Director of Keren Hayesod in Poland, Dr. Marcus Spiegel. He attended meetings at the Head Office in Jerusalem and went back to complete his tasks in Europe, never to return.
On November 29, 1947, it witnessed momentous celebrations as crowds danced in its large courtyard on the day the historic vote was taken in the United Nations, which paved the way for the independent State of Israel to emerge.
It was witness to the deadly terrorist attack in its courtyard in March 1948, in which 12 people were murdered, among them Leib Yaffe, the Director of Keren Hayesod.
It witnessed the government meetings of the fledgling state and the most crucial decisions made here in those formative years.
It witnessed significant social initiatives for developing the land, for stimulating immigration and absorption and for the strengthening of settlements from north to south – initiatives led by the Jewish Agency from when it was founded in 1929, in collaboration with the entire worldwide Jewry.
The National Institutions building has majestically gazed over the streets of Jerusalem as they have burgeoned and thrived throughout the 71 years of the State of Israel.
I hope that the impressive structure, which has long since become a national symbol, will continue to look out placidly at the development of the State of Israel – a process that has largely been made possible by the activities of the Jewish Agency throughout its 90 years. I am confident that, over the next century, the building will continue to bear witness the Jewish Agency’s laudable work on behalf of the citizens of Israel and the entire Jewish people.
Sam Grundwerg,
World Chairman of Keren Hayesod

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