World Zionist Organization
The World Zionist Organisation is an umbrella organisation for the Zionist movement aimed at the creation and maintenance of a Jewish state in Palestine. It was formed in 1897 by Theodor Herzl as the Zionist Organization (renamed "World Zionist Organization" in 1960) and has held the Zionist congress every two years since. It is one of four intertwined organisations that form the Israeli National Institutions, all of which are based in the same building in Jerusalem.
The first Zionist congress convened by Herzl in 1897 is often seen as the founding of the Zionist movement. Herzl had articulated his desire for the creation of a Jewish state in his 1896 book Der Judenstaat and the congress, held in Basle, aimed to express this institutionally.
Presidents of the World Zionist Organisation
- Theodor Herzl : (1897 - 1904)
- David Wolfsohn : (1905 - 1911)
- Otto Heinrich Warburg : (1911 - 1921)
- Chaim Weizmann (1st time) : (1921 - 1931)
- Nahum Sokolow : (1931 - 1935)
- Chaim Weizmann (2nd time) : (1935 - 1946)
- David Ben-Gurion (acting) : (1946 - 1956)
- Nahum Goldmann : (1956 - 1968)
Funding settlement construction
In 2012 the WZO's Settlement Division "financed NIS 400,000 worth of infrastructure work in the West Bank outpost of Negohot, even though the work was carried out without building permits". Whereas all Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, "outposts" are also illegal under Israeli law. As Ha'aretz reports, the Settlement Division has form when it comes to funding their construction:
- "A report on unauthorized West Bank outposts that the state commissioned from attorney Talia Sasson in 2005 found serious flaws in the Settlement Division’s conduct. Inter alia, it found that the division regularly funded illegal construction in many locales.
- In response to Sasson’s report, then-Attorney General Menachem Mazuz issued orders barring the use of public funds for illegal construction. Those orders applied to all public bodies and explicitly defined legal construction as construction carried out in accordance with a valid master plan.
- In addition, the Finance Ministry assigned an accountant to the Settlement Division to monitor its conduct. The accountant is subordinate to the treasury’s accountant general, and his task is to ensure that the division’s financial conduct complies with Israeli law.
- Since then, violations of the rules like what happened at Negohot have become rare."
In response to the Ha'aretz report the Settlement Division acknowledged funding construction in Negohot, but denied that said construction was illegal.
The budget of the WZO's Settlement Division comes from the Israeli state, and has grown every year. In 2012 it was supposed to be NIS 60 million, but rose to NIS 272 million by the year's end.
Members and affiliates
The World Zionist Organization is allocated 50% of the votes on the governing bodies of the Jewish Agency. The JFNA/UIA has 30% of the votes and Keren Hayesod (which does not operate in the US, but covers the rest of the world) is allocated 20%.
Members - Zionist Federations
Organización Sionista Argentina | Consejo Sionista De Mexico A.C. | Zionist Federation of Australia | Zionist Federation of New Zealand (ZFNZ) | Zionistische Federation in Oesterreich | Organizacion Sionista de Panama | Zionistische Federation in Bulgaria | Federacion Sionista del Peru | Zionistische Federation in Belgium | Romanian Zionist Association (RZA) | Canadian Zionist Federation (CZF) | Zionist Federation of Russia (MORIA) | Federacion Sionista de Chile | South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) | Asoc. Centro Israelita Sionista de Costa Rica | Federación de Comunidades Judías de España | Zionist Federation of Denmark | Zionist Federation of Sweden | Fédération des Organisations Sionistes de France (FOSF) | Swiss Zionist Federation | Zionistische Federation in Deutschland (ZOD) | Zionist Organization of Ukraine | Zionist Federation of Greece | Organizacion Sionista del Uruguay | Zionist Federation of Holland | Zionist Federation of Great Britain & Ireland | Mizrachi | Zionist Federation of Hungary - Magyarországi Cionista Szövetség | American Zionist Movement (AZM) | Zionist Federation of India | Federacion Sionista de Venezuela | Zionist Federation of Italy 
World Na'amat | World Sephardi Federation | World Masorti | World Emunah | World Maccabi | Hadassah | Women's Interational Zionist Organization | World Union for Progressive Judaism | B'nai B'rith International | World Union of Jewish Students | World Organization of Orthodox Communities and Synagogues in Israel and Diaspora
- West European Public Relations Group for Information on Behalf of Israel | Zionist Organization of America
- Geographic Israel World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency Based on the following sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
- Jewish Virtual Library
- Wikipedia World Zionist Organization
- Chaim Levinson, World Zionist Organization funneled NIS 400,000 into infrastructure work at illegal West Bank outpost, Ha'aretz, 19 August 2013
- Jewish Agency Jewish Agency Governance Structure. Accessed 16 February 2014.
- WZO Zionist federations. Accessed 12 February 2014.
- WZO World Unions. Accessed 15 February 2014.
- WZO Affiliated Zionist Organizations. Accessed 15 February 2014.
- WZO Youth Movements. Accessed 15 February 2014
- WZO Partners. Accessed 15 February 2014.