Photo Credit: WZO / Yaakov Hagoel

One hundred and twenty six years ago, after a long history of persecution and attempts to annihilate us, a young Jew in exile named Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl succeeded in awakening an ancient people from their slumber and paving the way towards the establishment of the Jewish State. He established the World Zionist Organization, which later became an important governmental body of the country to be, and the parliament of the Jewish people in the Diaspora.

Since its establishment, the World Zionist Organization has been working tirelessly to strengthen the strength and unity of the Jewish people. The World Zionist Organization works to instill the values of Zionism and national pride in all Jews and to reinforce the unshakable bond between Diaspora Jewry and the State of Israel. The strength of the Zionist idea is reflected in countless Zionist milestones, both before the establishment of the State, and even more so today, many years after the State’s establishment.


Over six months have passed since the world, and the Jewish people in particular, woke up to a difficult and shocking reality that threatens our very existence as a people and as a country. At the height of the ‘Swords of Iron’ war, a special spirit awoke in us once again. A spirit of unity, volunteerism and shared destiny.

From a place of deep pain and hurting, we knew how to come to our senses, leave our differences behind and mobilize together for the victory of good over evil. We went to war for our homeland together. This war led to an inspiring mobilization of both the people of Israel and Diaspora Jewry as manifested in dozens of projects in countless fields.

The immediate transition to an emergency routine included an accurate mapping of the main needs of the various different populations. Starting from the first days of the war, the World Zionist Organization established a center that gathers donations from communities, companies and donors, while responding to requests from citizens and IDF units in need of equipment. The volunteer center operates around the clock with the help of volunteers and optimizes the transfer of donations according to needs – anything from thermal clothing and mobile chargers for IDFsoldiers, and even gathering food for the animals that remained in the communities after the terrible massacre.

Through its Settlement Division, the World Zionist Organization takes an active part in managing the “Tekuma” organization while assisting in providing community resilience to affected communities. Our teams carry out infrastructure inspections, assess the damages and offer solutions. At the same time, teams are sent to the various communities in order to embrace, support and respond to the needs arising in the field from each community.

Since the beginning of the war, thousands of families have been left homeless. We therefore called on the owners of vacant apartments in Israel to open their hearts and homes and enable families in need of a roof over their heads to stay in unoccupied apartments in these challenging times. In an unusual step, the World Zionist Organization offered itself as the guarantor responsible for handing over the apartment and returning it to its owner in the manner in which it was delivered. The project was advertised among Jewish communities and families from the Diaspora and Israel who own apartments in Israel. The number of inquiries and participation from homeowners who have given their homes for the evacuees is heartwarming and meaningful.

Over 240 people were brutally kidnapped by the ruthless enemy. Among the kidnapped are women, elderly, babies and children. Raising awareness of their situation and mobilizing the international community for their return are critical tools for saving them. When the war broke out, the World Zionist Organization together with our representatives in the Diaspora and the HP Indigo company joined forces to print posters with pictures of the abductees and hang them in major cities around the world. Children are the most vulnerable of all. Thus, as part of last month’s International Children’s Day, hundreds of participants demonstrated outside the UNICEF building in Madrid and demanded the release of the children kidnapped and held in Gaza. Similar rallies and many demonstrations are held globally, receiving media coverage and ensuring the issue of the hostages are at the core of public discourse.

With the outbreak of the war, representatives of the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish communities and the Zionist Federations worldwide mobilized and are active in dozens of fields such as: fundraising, purchasing necessary equipment, solidarity missions, holding rallies, media interviews, advocacy events and raising public awareness demanding the release of the abductees. These examples are only a small part of the tremendous contribution of Diaspora Jewry to our success. This unprecedented mobilization of the Jewish world is an important pillar for raising morale and helping civilians and soldiers.

We must also realize that Diaspora Jewry is at the forefront of this war, and has to contend with a hundred percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents and increasing incitement in multiple places worldwide. Anti-Semitic events include violent demonstrations, hateful graffiti, chants of ‘death to the Jews,’ murder and a general sense of lack of security all over the world. I am in daily contact with the heads of the communities in the Diaspora and follow with concern the harsh reality of life in the shadow of fear and harassment. The initial starting point must be clear: this is a critical hour for sovereign governments worldwide. They are fully responsible for ensuring the safety of every Jew, as equals among equals, just like every citizen living in their territory. The world’s leaders must act swiftly and harshly against any threat or attack, incitement or harassment against Jews. On a practical level, today it is even more difficult to combat these occurences since it includes organizations, companies, various parties and the media that do not spare any means to incite and harm the Jews. Recently, a team of young people from around the world was trained to monitor and report anti-Semitic content online, where anti-Semitism is spreading like wildfire.

Jewish students at universities are forced to hide their Jewish identity and seek refuge on campuses due to harassment from students and lecturers. To combat this, the World Zionist Organization sent a letter to the major donors of universities that turn a blind eye to anti-Semitic incitement on their campuses, or promote rallies and hate speech against the State of Israel and the Jewish people, demanding an immediate halt to funding for these academic institutions. The appeal to donors has gained tremendous support around the world and many of the donors are rethinking their donations and even stopping funding and donations until the academic institutions clarify their policies regarding anti-Semitism. Recently, we sent a letter to Jewish organizations and individuals that financially support academic institutions where anti-Semitic propaganda takes place, asking them to immediately stop their contributions until significant steps are taken by the academic faculties to eradicate the phenomena of anti-Semitism on their campuses.

The fight for international public opinion and the attempt to blur the facts about what happened on October 7th is at its peak. Dozens of delegations of public opinion leaders, heads of Jewish federations and communities, members of the media and volunteers from all around the globe came to Israel for painful and moving tours that present the inhumane atrocities committed by the terrorists on innocent people, and to see and understand for themselves the harsh and true reality we face.

With the help of the amazing activity of the World Zionist Organization and all of its affiliates, and with the help of 300 teaching emissaries that the World Zionist Organization sends to communities around the world, we continue to strengthen the identity and connection of every Jew to our homeland, language, culture, history and our shared future. As someone who is at the heart of the action and is exposed to the spirit of shared destiny, unity and determination of our incredible people, I know that with God’s help and with the help of all of us – together we will win!


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Yaakov Hagoel is chairman of the World Zionist Organization.