P. 20

The story of the house fits in well with the annals of the Jewish Yishuv (Settlement) in Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel), in the pre-state days. This epic, which lasted seventy or eighty years, beginning with the establishment of Mikveh Israel and Petah Tikva and until the establishment of the state in 5708-1948, also includes components of leadership and leaders. At first there was no agreed upon leadership for the small Yishuv, which began to spread its (admittedly tiny) wings during the First Aliya (immigration) Period. The first signs of leadership were in the "Great Assembly" – the first gathering of the representatives of the Yishuv and all its components and hues in Zikhron Ya'akov in the Summer of 1903. However, this modest beginning had no continuation. Five years later, in 1908, another foundation was placed: The Palestine Office of the Zionist Organization, which was established by Dr. Arthur Ruppin in Jaffa. Jerusalem, the largest city in the Land of Israel and the place where most Jews of the Land of Israel resided, seemed to have been shunted aside. This was corrected after World War I. The Zionist leader Dr. Chaim Weizmann arrived in 1918. He established the "Zionist Commission" in Jerusalem – The Zionist representation that was supposed to coordinate the development of the national Jewish home with the British authorities.
In the Spring of 1920, an important step forward was made. General elections were held for the Assembly of Representatives – a representative body for the entire Jewish Yishuv ("Knesset of Israel"), which elected the Jewish National Council – the quasi-government of the Yishuv, which was recognized by the British authorities. Over the following years, the Zionist Executive became the Zionist leadership, which constituted the representative of the World Zionist Organization in the Land of Israel. In 1928, the British Mandate granted recognition to the "Knesset of Israel" as the official framework of the Jews in the Land of Israel.
Two additional important entities should be added to these two, which also had Zionist-National goals: The Keren Kayemet Leisrael - Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF), which was founded in 1901 and sought to purchase lands in the Land of Israel and transfer them to Jewish Hands, and the Keren Hayesod (United Israel Appeal), which was founded in 1920 in order to serve as the primary financial instrument for the establishment of the Jewish Yishuv.
Thus, we have four institutions with one common denominator and different modes of operation, which over time received the name "the National Institutions." In 1929, the newly established Jewish Agency for Eretz Yisrael replaced the Zionist Executive and within a few years it was the senior of the four entities. There were those who later called it – "the Future Government."
Even before the establishment of the Jewish Agency, the leaders of the institutions reached the conclusion that they must join forces and establish for themselves the "home of self-governance" for the Jews in the Land of Israel. Until then, the institutions were scattered along a series of apartments and offices throughout Jerusalem, and even outside of it. A settlement seeking to establish a state, should have a symbol of authority in the form of a suitable building that impresses those who see it and come through its gate.

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