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The Mapping Project

Jewish National Fund - New England Regional Office

The Jewish National Fund (JNF) is a non-profit organization which controls approximately 13% of the land in '48 Palestine. The JNF purchased much of the land it now controls from the Israeli government using the staggering amounts of money the JNF raises internationally.


The Jewish National Fund was founded in 1901 by early European zionists hoping to energize the project of Jewish colonization of Palestinian. Throughout its history, the JNF has played a central role executing, managing, and legitimizing expropriation of Palestinian land for Zionist settlement. The JNF and the state of Israel cannot be disentangled. They have always worked together formally and informally. As one example, Yosef Weitz was the director of the Land and Afforestation Department of the Jewish National Fund at the same time as he was a member of the "Transfer Committee" of Israel's first government. As its name suggests, the "Transfer Committee" of Israel's first government facilitated Al Nakba ("the catastrophe") of 1948, through which Zionist militias violently expelled 800,000 Palestinians from their land and the Zionist state prevented Palestinians from returning.

The Jewish National Fund uses both legal tactics and physical barriers to drive Palestinians from their land and prevent Palestinians from returning to it. The JNF has explicitly stipulated that only Jewish people can buy, mortgage, or lease land from the JNF. When Palestinian civil rights groups challenged this practice in the Israeli legal system, the JNF stated:

The JNF is not the trustee of the general public in Israel. Its loyalty is given to the Jewish people in the Diaspora and in the state of Israel ... The JNF, in relation to being an owner of land, is not a public body that works for the benefit of all citizens of the state. The loyalty of the JNF is given to the Jewish people and only to them is the JNF obligated. The JNF, as the owner of the JNF land, does not have a duty to practice equality towards all citizens of the state. 

The Jewish National Fund would like to have sufficient numbers of Jewish settlers eager to move onto the land they have acquired. But they don't. So, in the absence of settlers to hold JNF land, the JNF plants large forests over the ruins of Palestinian homes and villages on the land they have purchased. These JNF forests serve to make it illegal and impossible for Palestinians to rebuild the homes they were forced out of, continue their lives, and cultivate the land that their ancestors have cultivated for centuries. The JNF boasts that it has planted almost 250 million trees, redeveloped over 250,000 acres of land, and built over 2,000 parks -- all to hold expropriated Palestinian land in perpetuity until it can be settled.

Presently, the JNF is focusing its energy and resources on developing infrastructure to attract increased Zionist settlement of the Naqab Desert (in the South of '48 Palestine) and the so-called "Galilee" (in the North of '48 Palestine). These Northern and Southern regions of '48 Palestine are sparsely populated by Zionist settlers relative to concentrations of settler populations in the so-called "Tel Aviv Jerusalem Corridor," which runs across the middle of '48 Palestine. Emblematic of the JNF's focus on expanding settlement in the North and South of '48 Palestine, an online profile of JNF-USA New England Region Board of Directors member Todd G. Patkin which is featured on the JNF's website notes: "Todd's new office proudly displays David Ben-Gurion's picture with his famous quote, 'The State of Israel, to exist, must go south.' Ben-Gurion's vision for the Negev and its future continues to motivate Todd to this day."

In an effort to whitewash over the realities of its land theft and ethnic cleansing, the Jewish National Fund tries to brand its planting of millions of trees over the ruins of the Palestinian homes on the land it expropriates as "environmentalism." In reality, the JNF's tree-planting efforts are horribly damaging to local ecosystems. For example, the JNF has planted massive pine tree forests across much of the land they have expropriated in the Naqab Desert (Southern '48 Palestine). These JNF pine trees fare incredibly poorly in the desert climate of the Naqab, and catch fire hundreds of times a year. The JNF has even had to create and fund a fire prevention safety project as well as a Fire & Rescue Task Force to combat the fires caused b the unsuitable flora they have introduced into the Naqab. The JNF's pine tree forests in the Naqab epitomize the colonial logic of the JNF's program: Similar to their conviction that they can transplant Zionist settlers onto expropriated Palestinian land, the JNF arrogantly believes that they can transplant Northern European flora into the Naqab's desert ecosystem. And, like the Palestinian people who reject the encroachment of Zionist settlers onto their land, the land itself rejects the encroachment of these European pine trees into its ecosystems.


As outlined above, Jewish National Fund relies upon funds raised abroad to purchase vast tracts of land from the Israeli government, land which the JNF stipulates is open only to Jewish settlement. KKL-JNF (Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund) is an organization registered by the Israeli government which operates internationally for this purpose of raising large quantities of funds abroad to enable the JNF to continue purchasing land from the Israeli state for exclusively Jewish settlement. Complement the efforts of KKF-JNF, the Jewish National Fund has created numerous ancillaries which work to raise funds for the JNF's mission in different parts of the world. Among these ancillaries is JNF-USA, the JNF's most successful fundraising branch. JNF-USA sends a portion of the funds it raises to KKL-JNF.

In recent years, JNF-USA has attempted to distance itself from the parent organization, KKL-JNF, with US-based supporters JNF-USA offering tepid criticisms of KKL-JNF contributions to the direct purchase of land for exclusively Jewish settlement, which attempting to highlight the positive impacts of the JNF's "environmentalism," such as the JNF's forest-planting efforts. However, US-based supporters of JNF-USA protest only the most egregious actions KKL-JNF funds, while remaining fully supportive of JNF's broader goal of expanding Jewish settlement in '48 Palestine, a goal which both KKL-JNF and JNF-USA fully support. Moreover, KKL-JNF and JNF-USA are functionally inextricably tied to one another, with resources raised by JNF-USA flowing into the full spectrum of KKL-JNF's efforts. Attempting to treat these two bodies as separable is at best naive and at worst intentionally disingenuous.

In 2013, JNF-USA launched it's "Billion-Dollar Roadmap for the Next Decade" campaign, which outlines a series of initiatives aimed at expanding Zionist settlement of Palestinian land. To date, JNF-USA's Roadmap campaign has raised $856 million dollars. In support of the Roadmap campaign, JNF-USA runs seventeen different task forces, including the "Central Negev Task Force" and the "Go North West Task Force," targeting settlement expansion in the Naqab Desert (Southern '48 Palestine) and the so-called "Galilee" (Northern '48 Palestine), respectively. JNF board members contribute thousands of dollars annually to the JNF for the privilege of being formally associated with these task forces. Because JNF-USA is a 501C3 charitable entity in the United States, all donations to JNF-USA can be made tax free.

In 2021, donations to JNF-USA from New England accounted for the single largest regional donation to JNF-USA's Billion-Dollar Roadmap for the Next Decade campaign. New England donors contributed $11.4 million dollars to the campaign in 2021 alone, a yearly total four times greater than the what JNF-USA received in donations from New England during the previous year. Recognizing this potential of New England donors to provide broad-scale support for its projects, JNF-USA recently expanded the size of its New England Board of Directors, and JNF-USA committed to host its 2022 National Conference at the Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport, in Boston MA, from November 4-6, 2022.

Indoctrination of Youth

The Jewish National Fund works tirelessly to indoctrinate US-based children as well as young adults to become supporters of its project of land expropriation, ethnic cleansing, and settlement expansion. In 2021, the JNF-USA Boruchin Center had 123 students enrolled in a study abroad program it runs in Israel. The JNF-USA also has a traveling mascot, "Blue Box Bob," based on the JNF's infamous blue donation boxes which can be found across Jewish community and religious spaces soliciting donations for the JNF. JNF-USA sends "Blue Box Bob" into US schools in an attempt to capture the interests of children as early as preschool-aged. Meanwhile, JNF-USA's Sababa Society targets 9th and 10th grade students in the United States, encouraging them to raise "just" 104 dollars a year for the JNF, in addition to leading these high school students in gamified lessons about the JNF and Israel. JNF-USA also runs the Alexander Muss Institute for Israel Education, through which JNF-USA sponsors exchange programs for US high school students at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel. JNF-USA encourages students participating in this exchange program to take the "Jewish Youth Pledge," which equates Jewish people with the state of Israel: “I hereby pledge to act today and throughout my lifetime to strengthen the Jewish people and the State of Israel."

The JNF-USA also recruits "young philanthropists 22-40" to join JNFuture, a program JNF-USA describes as:

[A] community of young philanthropists of Jewish National Fund-USA, ages 22-40, who share a commitment and passion for Israel. We engage and energize supporters through a variety of social and educational programming, as well as exciting travel opportunities. As a JNFuture donor you have access to a variety of local and national events, a vast network of like-minded peers, and unforgettable trips to Israel. You also have the opportunity to take on leadership roles, including joining your local JNFuture board, sitting on a Task Force, or chairing an event.

Young adults can secure membership in JNF-USA's "Root Society" by making an annual gift $1,000, or they can secure membership in JNF-USA's "JNFuture Sabra" by making an annual gift of $360. JNFuture runs a chapter in Boston.

Jewish National Fund New England Leadership

Members of JNF-USA's New England Region's Board of Directors are listed below:

Steven London

Boston Chairperson of the Board

Risa Aronson

President, Boston Board of Directors

Steven Aronson

Boston Board of Directors Member

Michael Blank

Treasurer; Boston President Emeritus

Robert Cohan

Boston President Emeritus, Spectacular Sunday National Co-Chair

Isaac Edry

Boston Board of Directors Member

David Eisenberg

Boston Board of Directors Member

Rhonda Forman

Boston Sapphire Society President

Judi Elovitz Greenberg

Boston Board of Directors Member

Amy Parsons

Boston Board of Directors Member

Todd G. Patkin

Boston Board of Directors Member

Jonathan Plaut

Boston Board of Directors Member

Ralph Rotman

Boston Planned Giving Chair

Daniel Rudoy

Boston Board of Directors Member

Jay Shuman

Boston Board of Directors Member

Jeffrey Woolf

Boston Lawyers for Israel Co-Chair

Members of JNF-USA's New England Region's Board of Trustees are listed below:

Lee Aronson

Boston Board of Trustees Member

Richard Calmas

Boston Board of Trustees Member

Gary Cohen

Boston Board of Trustees Member

Tom Davidow

Boston Board of Trustees Member

Steven Dechiario

Boston Board of Trustees Member

Mark S. Furman

Boston Board of Trustees Member

Paul R. Garrido

Boston Board of Trustees Member

Jeffrey Glassman

Boston Board of Trustees Member

David Goodtree

Boston Board of Trustees Member

Kenneth Handler

Boston Board of Trustees Member

Bruce C. Levine

Boston Board of Trustees Member

Scott Levy

Boston Board of Trustees Member

Russell Stein

Boston General Campaign Chair

Joshua Tracey

Boston Board of Trustees Member

Members of JNF-USA's New England Region's Boston JNFuture Board are listed below:

Liz Harris

Chair Emeritus, JNFuture Boston

Len Aronson

Vice Chair, JNFuture Boston

Lisa Shakun

Boston JNFuture Board Member

Caitlin Whittemore

New York JNFuture Member at Large

Brandon Pinsker

Membership Chair, JNFuture Boston

Eli Orkin

Treasurer, JNFuture Boston

Jonathan Epstein

Boston JNFuture Board of Outreach Chair

Members of JNF-USA's New England Region's Capital Region Board of Directors are listed below:

Robert E. Ganz

President-Emeritus, Capital Region

Susan H. Farber

Desert States Board Member & Board of Trustees Chair

Mara Ginsburg

Capital Region President Emeritus 

Lev Ginsburg

Board of Directors Member, Capital Region

Jane N. Golub

Board of Directors Member, Capital Region

Karen Hausler

Board of Directors Member, Capital Region

Lauren Iselin

Capital Region President and Women for Israel Chair

Jennifer Lean

Board of Directors Member, Capital Region

Alan Lobel

Capital Region Synagogue Liaison

Karen Lobel

Capital Region Door "Thank You" Chair

Nancie Segel

Capital Region Board Member

Kenneth Segel, Esq.

Vice President, Communities & Regions; Capital Region Board Member; Miami-Dade Board Member

Richard Weisz

Board of Directors Member, Capital Region

77 Franklin Street, Suite 514 Boston, MA 02110

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