Joint Distribution Committee

A Jewish organization founded in the United States, it provided assistance to Jews worldwide by means of direct financial aid or through the founding of constructive enterprises.

Established in 1914, the JDC raised $15 million during World War I and used the funds to provide medical assistance, food and clothing for war refugees in Europe and for the yishuv in Palestine.

After World War I, the JDC assisted many Jewish refugees who had fled Russia and Poland for fear of pogroms. When the Nazis came to power in Germany, the JDC devoted its efforts to assisting German Jews, and during World War II, financed the escape of 180,000 Jews from Nazi-occupied countries.

After the war the organization focused on rehabilitating the hundreds of thousands of Jews in Displaced Persons camps in Europe and helped them emigrate. Its Zionist orientation strengthened and it collaborated in organizing illegal immigration and supported the 50,000 would-be immigrants whom the British interned in camps in Cyprus.

After 1948, the JDC became a major partner in financing mass immigration from eastern Europe and Arab countries. It helped with the aliya of Yemenite Jews in Operation Magic Carpet and the integration of immigrants from North Africa. The main institution of the JDC in Israel was Malben (an acronym for "Institutions for the Care of Disadvantaged Immigrants"), which maintained a network of rehabilitation centers, hospitals and housing for elderly and disabled immigrants.

In 1969, the JDC transferred all of Malben's facilities to the government and concentrated its efforts on improving existing social services by means of a partnership with the government.

Source: Israeli Foreign Ministry