Treasure Trove recalls how any investor could buy their own piece of Palestine in the 1920s

During the 1920s, American Zion Commonwealth Inc. sold real estate interests in Palestine to investors in the United States and Poland, with each investor receiving a land ownership certificate like this one.

The company operated alongside the Jewish National Fund which purchased land funded by donations. Recognizing that only so much land could be bought through charitable contributions, American Zion became the vehicle through which additional land could be purchased for the Jewish people, giving investors the opportunity to use the land or otherwise benefit from it.

By 1927, American Zion was overextended financially. Believing that its great mission was to purchase land in Palestine for Jewish owners, it too often said yes to requests from the World Zionist Organization to purchase areas of land that were of national importance. There was always more land available for sale by non-Jewish owners than the company could reasonably afford to purchase. 

The company was taken over by the Zionist Organization of America which arranged for $250,000 to be remitted to Palestine to restore its credit. This enabled deeds for land previously purchased by American investors to be delivered to them and mortgage arrears to be fully paid. 

The land that would become the cities of Afula and Herzliya was purchased by American Zion. Each city has a Kehilat Zion (Zion Commonwealth) street to mark these origins. 

Today, we can see the benefit of the investments in Israel made by our ancestors 100 years ago. Similarly, the investments in Israel we are making today, financially, emotionally and with our time, will be remembered 100 years from now.