WLI – Women’s League for Israel, was founded by a group of Jewish women volunteers in the United States in 1928 to assist young women immigrants from Europe to acquire the language, education, and vocation required to start their lives in the Land of Israel. To do so, WLI established its “Pioneer Homes” in Haifa (1931), Tel Aviv (1936), Jerusalem (1943), and Netanya (1950) which provided the women immigrants with a “home away from home.”
Over time, following the changing needs of its community in the young State of Israel, the non-profit organization’s operations have evolved and expanded, but its creed, to “help a person help him/herself” – remained the same. This creed is the key-note of the public actions of WLI throughout its existence, during which it has helped those in need, supported them and encouraged them to embark on an independent way.
Over the years WLI has cooperated with the Ministry of Labor and Welfare and extended it fields of operation by providing social services to underprivileged populations – not only women, but also young families from the lower echelons, students from the periphery, children of divorced parents, sexual assault victims, domestic violence victims, foster families, underprivileged artists and musicians, etc.
In the 50s, WLI donated to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem the funds required for the construction of the first two dormitories for female students, a cafeteria, a gymnasium and a student’s center in the Givat Ram campus. Following the liberation of Jerusalem in the Six-Day War, WLI pioneered the building effort at Mount Scopus and built three more dormitories for female students. WLI has also founded the Sociology cathedra named after Mrs. Rose Izaacs, and had donated funds for a scholarships fund for IDF veteran students.
WLI continues to donate to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem through a fund of 1.5 million dollars, which was established in 2008 to grant scholarships to outstanding BA students, and in 2017 WLI established another fund at the rate of 1.4 million dollars to award scholarships to outstanding graduate students.
In recent years, the Tel Aviv WLI House on King George Street has served as the temporary home for potential new immigrants arriving in Israel as part of “Birthright” and the “Israeli Experience” programs. As in the early 1930s, it serves as a roof over their heads and “home away from home.” They study Israeli history and learn about its complex reality. They learn the Hebrew language, meet with young Israelis, and travel around the country. All this gives hope that they will choose to continue their lives, this time in the State of Israel.
From the early 20th century until today, WLI is called upon the same goal and responds to the changing needs of the society in Israel: it accepts the challenges displayed by various social tasks, supports the needy, lands a hand to new immigrants and nourishes the education and welfare system in Israel. Each year Hundreds of individuals and families in Israel are thankful to WLI for the its support, allowing them to become independent, sovereign and productive people, to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to start their lives, to provide for themselves and their families, to educate and raise their children and fulfill theirs and their children’s human potential.