Israel Prize Awarded to KKL-JNF on the 100th Anniversary of its Establishment

L-R: Yehiel Leket & Shlomo Gravetz with the Israel Prize. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

On Israel Independence Day 2002, the Israel Prize for 5762, for a life's work and a special contribution to the people of Israel and to the State of Israel, was awarded to KKL-JNF on its 100th anniversary.

Events in honor of KKL-JNF's 100th year opened with a gala ceremony at the Residence of the President of Israel, attended by KKL-JNF executive officers and a delegation of 55 KKL-JNF Diaspora leaders from 18 countries.

A stamp commemorating 100 years of KKL-JNF was inaugurated at the ceremony. The logo of KKL-JNF for the 100 years since it was founded is comprised of three colors: blue (water), green (forest and ecology) and brown (land).

The President of Israel defined KKL-JNF as the spearhead of the Zionist movement in developing land in Israel and making it bloom, and in replanting the Jewish people in their homeland.

The Announcement of the Israel Prize for KKL-JNF:

Nahal Alexander 1936 - disinfection against malaria-bearing mosquitos. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archives.

Picnicing in Nahal Alexander today. PHoto: KKL-JNF Photo Archives

100 years. Year after year, year after year, and one goal: land. Another piece, another bloc. A hill or a desert. The Valley and the Negev. Each time another location, but in one place: the land of Israel.
This is the story of Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-The Jewish National Fund, which has been bonding with the land for one hundred years.

Initially it was distant and abandoned, but little by little, a dunam here and a dunam there, KKL-JNF knew how to bring the land to the people, and the people to the land.

This is the story of a struggle. Of triumph. Of achievements. Of cultivated fields, of green forests, of deserts contained. Of a land full of sunlight that has become a flourishing oasis on the edge of a wilderness.

This is the story of the people and of all its tools—the pitchfork and the shovel and later the tractor, the bulldozer and the cranes—that transformed the face of the earth and brought the color back to its cheeks. That brought people back to live on it and from it. That moistened the dryness and the cracks created in it, and that brought shades of green and blue back to it. But its color was, and remains, brown.

This spectrum of colors has become the symbol of the enterprise that began in Tevet, 5662, December 1901. An enterprise that changes its appearance from time to time but remains faithful to the land and to the people who possess it.

For all of these, KKL-JNF was awarded the Israel Prize for 5762, in 2002, for a life-work, for its special contribution to the people of Israel and to the State of Israel in the 100 years of its existence.

Yatir area in the Negev, 1965

Yatir Forest, 1998. Photos: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

“… and the face of the earth was renewed” – KKL-JNF, one hundred years of working in brown, green and blue, Izzy Mann, the KKL-JNF Audio- Visual Department for Publications and Liaison, 2002, p.117.