18 September 2006

As Promised...

A few words about the Sochnut Yehudit, aka the Jewish Agency.
According to our friend, Wikipedia, there have been two Jewish Agencies in the past 100 years. The first, the Jewish Agency for Palestine, was established in 1923, while Palestine was under the British Mandate (1917-1948). It was a Zionist organization, formed with the intention of facilitating Jewish immigration to Palestine and acting as a quasi-governmental organization which served to represent the Jewish community in Palestine in its dealings with the British and other world governments. The Agency was officially recognized by the British in 1929. Its military wing, the Haganah, was at the time an illegal militia; after the state's establishment in 1948, it became the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces), known by its acronym Tzahal (צה"ל) in Israel. Israel was established on May 14, 1948. The Jewish Agency became the government of Israel, and David Ben Gurion, the leader of the J.A., became its first Prime Minister. Israel's main airport, near Tel Aviv, is named after him.

The second Jewish Agency, the Jewish Agency of Israel, was created in 1948 "to facilitate economic development and the absorption of immigrants". Apparently, the Jewish Agency is the brunt of many jokes in Israel about its immobile and incompetent bureaucracy. Funny, I thought the bureaucracy jokes were about Israel in general...

Relevant terms defined:
Yehudit: Hebrew for Jewish (fem.)
Tzahal/IDF: Israeli Defense Forces, i.e. the Israeli Army

Info provided courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Agency
Jewish Agency's homepage: www.jewishagency.org

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