Many times the Arab nations will be voting against a proposition brought forth and from which they can benefit just because Israel is involved in the proposal and its process. The Ambassador's representation of Israel in such a difficult environment could be summed up with what he so often states: "when I walk the corridors of the UN building I walk tall knowing who I represent and what the country I represent stands for." Israel can greatly benefit if every person who represents Israel and those who are in her corner would religiously say the same.
One of the most ubiquitous endeavors was the collection box, the pushke. Haim Kleinman, a small-town Galician bank clerk, suggested to Yona Krementzky, the first head of JNF-KKL, that a collection box be placed in every Jewish home so that contributions could be made to JNF at every opportunity. In the period between the two World Wars, about one million Blue Boxes were found in Jewish homes throughout the world.
In its over a century of activities in Israel, JNF-KKL has been a leading force in the development and problem solving of Israel's forestry and ecology, water, community development, security, education, research and development and tourism and recreation.
That got me thinking: if JNF-KKL's initial work has been successfully accomplished and Israel is now a blooming and flourishing country, what does the future hold for it?
What is on the JNF-KKL plate for the next 100 years? What are the challenges it has set to meet, where is it going from here?
To get answers to my pondering I spoke with JNF present and JNFuture leadership.
Whereby, at the time of the Fifth Zionist Congress, Jews began to understand that they have to have a homeland, and now, when the homeland has been established, Jews must understand that this homeland must be defended and preserved. That can be done by building a future generation that will keep the torch of Zionism burning hot.
Speaking with Lisa Elkan, a 32 year old, owner of Lisa PR, a Marketing and Public Relations firm, it is clear that JNF-KKL is building such a future generation. Lisa, whose father was born on Israel's Independence Day – 14th May 1948 – was hardly involved with Israel until, in 2007, she partook in the Birthright Program, because a friend convinced her to go. "To me, that was a life altering experience," Lisa told me. "I saw the country, I made friends and the follow-up happened soon after I returned to the USA." One of the people she befriended on the trip called Lisa and asked her to help establish the JNFuture Group in Los Angeles. Lisa became the chapter's Marketing Chair and got involved on the National Board and Young Leadership. In 2011 Lisa took a trip to Israel to see, firsthand, what the money that she helps raise in the USA achieves in Israel and how it is used. She loves her involvement and the people who are involved with her, many of whom she met on her Birthright trip. Their collective goal is to bring awareness of the group and have others join them. JNFuture is following the footsteps and vision of Herzl and the Zionist Congress delegates.
I then spoke with Douglas Williams, Los Angeles, Chairman of the JNF Annual Executive Briefing Breakfast.
JNF also runs Alternative Spring Break in Israel, a FREE trip for Jewish college students and young adults (ages 18-30) to volunteer in Israel, as a follow-up to their Birthright trip. It is an exciting week-long trip allowing its participants to make a personal impact in Israel. Participants are responsible for raising a minimum of $1,500, which supports the project on which they will be working on as volunteers during their trip. (http://support.jnf.org/site/)
The knowledge of what Israel and Zionism is all about is a key component of preserving Jewish culture, claims Douglas. "If we cannot get them at school, if we cannot get their attention in the Synagogue then we give them that precious opportunity to become acquainted with the Jewish Homeland. After they return from Israel we continue inviting them to programs that aim to reduce the assassination of Israel by explaining what it means to be Jewish, what is the meaning of the state of Israel." This will create many Lisa Elkans'.
JNF-KKL's call to duty is to ensure that Israel remains vital and prosperous and OURS! What it means is cultivating Zionism and cultivating the land where Zionists live.JBF spreads its wings to every aspect of Israel.
Here I go back to Ambassador Ron Prosor who is walking the corridors of the UN tall. "We have to respect ourselves so others will respect us," he says. JNF helps us to walk the corridors of Planet Earth tall for being Jews and having a magnificent homeland, Israel! And that is just the beginning; our hands are strong and our arms outstretching.
With JNF, it is fearless Zionism.