Russell F. Robinson

Reflecting on the Year: Our Vision Is Israel’s Future

During these Days of Awe and time of reflection, we look back at the previous year and ask ourselves, “How did we get here, and where are we going? What is our place within the community and the world at large? What is our vision for this new year?”

When you surrender to a vision, success begins to chase you.

That is the story of Jewish National Fund. In 1901, Theodor Herzl surrendered to a vision of reclaiming a Jewish homeland in Eretz Yisrael. Our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents recognized the importance of that future. Coin by coin they saved money in Blue Boxes for a future that most of them would never see, but would forever be a part of—the land of Israel for the Jewish people everywhere.

Thanks to their foresight and vision we carry on their legacy today. We are living their dream and we have the opportunity to further that dream.

A few months ago, I participated in historical festivities in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. I stood proudly on the grounds where the decisive battle for Jerusalem took place in 1967. Where, against all odds, the dream of reuniting our ancient city was realized. This is the story of Jewish National Fund. This is the story of Israel.

One of our young leaders, a member of JNFuture, said something that warmed my heart. “We will be here for the 100th reunification of Jerusalem’s celebration,” she said.  Israel—the land and its people—is a special part of who they are, of who we are.  We are doing something right. They give us all hope. With your help, we can do so much more.

Our young people know that they are a part of something bigger than themselves. Through the eyes of those that came before them, they see how a dream, how a vision, has become a reality for their generation and the ones to come. Vision was transformed into mission and hope into success.

BlueBox image

Years ago, many said that we would never be able to bring people to settle in the desert area that encompasses 60% of the land in Israel. Some said no one in their right mind would ever move there. Yet, in a recent special edition of CBS’s “60 Minutes,” the show focused on Be’er Sheva, the capital of the Negev, as the future of Israel. This shows the success of Jewish National Fund’s long-term investment in creating a flourishing future for southern Israel.

Working with partners and companies like CISCO Israel, Jewish National Fund is training and providing residents with the right skills to find good jobs and ultimately bolster the local economy.

Our multi-year strategic plan for the Galilee is already reshaping the economy in northern Israel. In an effort to attract new residents to the region, we are focusing on entrepreneurial opportunities, small businesses, and increasing tourism. It is with your help that we are strengthening the economic and social life for all who call the Galilee home.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did not say, “I have a nightmare.” He said, “I have a dream.” Surrounded by adversity, it would have been easy for him to speak negatively about the world around him. It would have been easy to talk about a nightmare and not a dream. However, he knew people don’t follow nightmares, they follow dreams.

At Jewish National Fund we believe in dreams, so I ask you to join us.

As individuals being judged, the day is filled with fear and uncertainty. However, we stand together as one people, as one community. We have the strength and fortitude to enter this New Year filled with joy and pride. Be a part of the Jewish National Fund community, and take part in what we have built, and what we will continue to dream and build together.

As we enter 5778, let’s work together and shape a more secure, more prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people. Become an active member of our community and our unique vision, and ultimately, our success will find its way back to you.

On behalf of the entire Jewish National Fund family, I wish you a happy, healthy, and sweet New Year – have an easy fast.

About the Author
Russell F. Robinson is JNF’s chief executive officer. Under his leadership, JNF has developed successful far-reaching programs that play a significant role in the quality of life for all Israelis, such as community development, environmental work, sustainable development of the Negev, and solutions for Israel’s water crisis.
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