1922 - First large-scale swamp drainage: The drainage of the Jezreel Valley swamps began in 1922 on a scale of work unprecedented in Erez Israel. In the eastern part of the Valley, 16,000 dunams were drained and 35,000 restored in 50,000 man-day units of work. The Valley became the breadbasket of the pre-state Jewish community in Erez Israel.
1936 - First Tower and Stockade settlement: Kfar Hittin, near Tiberias, was established by KKL-JNF on 7 December 1936. This was the first of 57 new such tower and stockade settlements established on KKL-JNF purchased land, which eventually determined the borders of the State of Israel.
1947 - The People's Council is established: The People's Council served as the temporary legislature of Israel before the Knesset and the People's Administration (proto-cabinet), was established upon its independence. The council sat at the KKL-JNF House in Tel Aviv, where Israel's Declaration of Independence was written.
1951 - Draining the Hula:
In 1951, work begins on draining the Hula marshes
, KKL-JNF's largest-ever public development project and the state's first large-scale undertaking. Five years later, the large marshland were gone. Only a 980 acre lake remained to preserve local flora and fauna –the first nature reserve in Israel. This would eventually develop into a world-class birdwatching site
. The rest became fertile farmland, expanding the sources of income and livelihood for thousands of residents in the Hula Valley and Upper Galilee.
Late 1950’s - KKL-JNF is officially enlisted into Israel’s land development program by David Ben Gurion: David Ben Gurion, Israel's first Prime Minister, dreamed of blooming the wilderness, and was well aware of the enormous experience KKL-JNF had gained in rolling back the desert and developing land. He formed a committee to explore how to enlist KKL-JNF in land development.
1960 - Basic Land Law:
In July 1960, based on committee recommendations, the Knesset passed a law formalizing the status of lands in the country and the relationship between KKL-JNF and the State of Israel. In November 1961, a Covenant was signed between the State of Israel and KKL-JNF
establishing the new Israel Lands Administration (ILA). The ILA adopted the KKL-JNF principle of national land ownership and Jewish People land
. All land – not merely KKL-JNF land – was to be nationally owned, and transferable only by leasehold, not sale.
1995- Action Plan Negev:
In the summer of 1995, the largest undertaking in the history of Israel for the development of agriculture and settlement in the Negev - "Action Plan Negev
" - was launched. At the time, KKL-JNF decided to fight the prevalent public image of an arid Negev; to develop a desert region in which agriculture was in crisis and unemployment was rife, into one of the most developed and prosperous regions
in the country. The main component of the plan was increasing sustainable water sources, since all development in the Negev would depend on irrigation. Among other things, KKL-JNF built a system of reservoirs for the harvesting and storage of treated wastewater and flood waters. Even the veteran residents of the Negev could not believe their eyes when they saw the orchards yielding fruit. The Negev's growth program brought an olive growing revolution to the south, when in the past, most of Israel’s olive production was in the Galilee. In addition, it also brought the fish breeding revolution. Fish could now be raised in ponds adjacent to the water reservoirs designated for irrigating agricultural fields in the central and southern Arava and Ramat Negev.
Today, it is thanks to KKL-JNF's efforts that Israel is a beautiful, complex country which is home to many religions and cultures, which live in the country's bustling metropolises, as well as in flourishing towns and picturesque villages around Israel. KKL-JNF continues to work today to enable Israel to be the best it can be, with a special focus on advancing Israel's outlying regions.
Building a Workers' House in the Jezreel Valley, 1920. KKL-JNF Photo Archive
Draining the swamp, Yagur, 1924. Arushkes Zvi Oron, KKL-JNF Photo Archive
The morning after the clandestine establishment of eleven points of settlement in the Negev overnight in 1946 - a pioneer signals that Be'eri is now settled. Photo: Sternberg, 1946
Setting up the Hatzerim settlement overnight in the Negv, Yom Kippur Eve, 1946. Photo: Sternberg, KKL-JNF Photo Archive
KKL-JNF House in Tel Aviv was where the People's Council, the predecessor to the Knesset, sat. Photo: Yoav Devir
Reenactment of the People's Council at KKL-JNF House in Tel Aviv. Photo: Yoav Devir
Navigating the Hula Swamps in a boat, 1951. Rudi Weisenstein, KKL-JNF Photo Archive
Section of the Hula swamp after drainage, 1952. Photo: Werner Brown, KKL-JNF Photo Archive
Drafting the agreement between KKL-JNF and the State of Israel, 1960. KKL-JNF Photo Archive
The fields of Lachish in the Negev, irrigated by KKL-JNF reservoir. KKL-JNF Photo Archive
A newly built synagogue in Bnei Netzarim in the Negev, whose land KKL-JNF prepared for its building. Photo: Yoav Devir
Children play in a Naveh greenhouse. Ra'anan Cohen-JINI, KKL-JNF Photo Archive
The establishment of Negba, the first Kibbutz in the Negev, 1939. Rubinstein, KKL-JNF Photo Archive
Building houses in the western Negev community of Naveh, 2016. Photo: Yoav Devi
The children of Negba, 1946. Avraham Malevsky, KKL-JNF Photo Archive
Children in the western Negev community of Naveh, 2017. Ra'anan Cohen JINI, KKL-JNF Photo Archive
2018: KKL-JNF continues to work to advance Israel's peripheral regions - KKL-JNF House for Excellence, Upper Nazareth. Photo: Yoav Devir