JNF Deal Ends Dispute in Israel, U.S., U.K.

The Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemeth Leyisrael-KKL) in Israel has signed agreements with its two main affiliates abroad, in the United States and Britain, over the last two weeks, ending lengthy disputes over the use of the JNF name and trademarks.

For the last five years a battle has been raging between KKL and JNF-USA over the latter's efforts to register the organization's trademarks in the U.S. and the allocation of funds raised for projects in Israel. Under the agreement signed two weeks ago by the boards of the two affiliated organizations, a jointly-owned company will be set up that will own the trademarks and lease them to JNF-USA for 99 years. The two sides also agreed to cooperate in joint development programs in Israel, funded by money raised in the U.S.

Last Wednesday, a second agreement was signed between KKL and the JNF-UK. The dispute with the British branch has been going on for almost a decade and it concerns both the trademark and the ownership of land bought with JNF-UK funds in Israel before the establishment of the state. At the height of the dispute, KKL officially announced it was severing ties with JNF-UK and setting up its own independent fundraising organization in Britain. Through the agreement, the land will be transferred to KKL, which will pay NIS 30 million for it, over the next ten years. The money will be reinvested by JNF-UK in KKL ecological projects in Israel. JNF-UK will also be given use of the trademarks in Britain for the next 50 years for the one-off sum of NIS 60,000.

"This is a historic day," said JNF-UK chairman Samuel Hayek in a statement. "It was like a family feud, and that is how it ended - within the family."