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Vaad Leumi


Vaad Leumi

The Jewish National Council (JNC) (Hebrew: ועד לאומי‎, Va'ad Le'umi), also known as the Jewish People's Council was the main national institution of the Jewish community (Yishuv) within the British Mandate of Palestine.


The JNC was established in 1920, the same year as the Histadrut and the Haganah were founded, in order to conduct Jewish communal affairs. Its first chairman was Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook.

The organization represented almost all major Jewish factions, however a few smaller groups at first objected to the creation of centralized leadership. Notably, Agudat Israel joined only in 1935. The members of the JNC also participated in meetings of the Zionist General Council.

Role in the establishment of Israel

The Political Department of the JNC was responsible for relations with the Arabs, ties with the Jewish Agency and negotiations with the British government. As the yishuv grew, the JNC adopted more functions, such as education, health care and welfare services, internal defense and security matters, and organized recruitment to the British forces during World War II. In the 1940s, departments for physical training, culture and press and information were added.

The report of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry issued in 1946, stated:

"The Jews have developed, under the aegis of the Jewish Agency and the JNC, a strong and tightly-woven community. There thus exists a virtual Jewish nonterritorial State with its own executive and legislative organs..."[1]

When the State of Israel was established in 1948, this departmental structure served as a basis for the government ministries. On March 2, 1948, the New Jewish Council:

" begins work on organization of Jewish provisional government" [2]

On May 14, 1948, (the expiration day of the British Mandate), its members gathered at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and ratified the proclamation declaring the establishment of the State of Israel. The members of the JNC formed the provisional government of the nascent State of Israel.


  • The Political Department
  • The Education Department
  • The Health Department
  • The Communities Department
  • The Rabbinate
  • The Social Welfare Department


See also


External links

  • JVL
  • Library of Congress
  • Facts About Israel-History at MFA
  • The Cry of the Children in Palestine
  • Between the World Wars
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