About Yad Hanadiv

Major Initiative Historical
Notable Project
First visit of Baron Edmond to Eretz Israel
First visit of Baron Edmond de Rothschild to Eretz Israel
James de Rothschild arrives in Palestine
James de Rothschild arrives in Palestine as an officer of the Jewish Battalion
James & Dorothy de Rothschild on Mt. Scopus
James and Dorothy de Rothschild visit Mount Scopus
Creation of PICA
Creation of PICA to support agricultural settlement in Mandatory Palestine
Baron Edmond’s final visit to Eretz Israel
Baron Edmond’s final visit to Eretz Israel
Death of Baron Edmond
Death of Baron Edmond de Rothschild
Ramat Hanadiv Memorial Gardens
Planting of the Ramat Hanadiv Memorial Gardens
Expedition to Hazor
James de Rothschild Archaeological Expedition to Hazor
Death of James de Rothschild
Death of James de Rothschild
Dorothy de Rothschild, Yad Hanadiv Chair
Dorothy de Rothschild becomes Chair of Yad Hanadiv
Rothschild Prizes
Rothschild Prizes first awarded to outstanding Israeli scholars of the Sciences and Humanities
Computers for Universities
Computers for Applied Mathematics Departments of Weizmann Institute, Technion and Hebrew University
Works of art donated to Israel Museum
Works by Gauguin, van Gogh and Cezanne presented to Israel Museum
Knesset Building
Knesset Building inaugurated
Educational Television
First broadcast of Educational Television
Synagogue restorations
Restoration of synagogues in the Old City of Jerusalem with the Jerusalem Foundation
Support for Yeshivot
Support for Yeshivot
Support for hospitals
Support for hospitals in Jerusalem, Haifa and Be’er Sheva
Centre for Educational Technology
Centre for Educational Technology established
Projects for citizens of Jerusalem
Projects with the Jerusalem Foundation to benefit Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem
Jerusalem Music Centre
Jerusalem Music Centre - with the Jerusalem Foundation
MANOF Youth Village
MANOF Youth Village established with the Ministries of Education and Welfare
Israel Institute for Advanced Studies
Israel Institute for Advanced Studies established
Open University of Israel
The Open University of Israel admits its first students
Rothschild Innovation Prize
Rothschild Prize for Excellence in Innovation and Export (inactive)
Rothschild Fellowships
Rothschild Fellowships
Ramat Hanadiv Nature Park
Designation of the Ramat Hanadiv Nature Park
Fellowships for Torah scholars
Yad Avi Hayishuv Fellowships for outstanding Torah scholars to study in Israel
Fellowships in Jewish Studies
Visiting Fellowships in Jewish Studies by Yad Hanadiv and the Beracha Foundation for research in Israel
Max Rowe Prize in Education
The Rothschild Prize in Education established in Memory of Max Rowe
Support for Basic Research
Support for Basic Research through the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Death of Dorothy de Rothschild
Death of Dorothy de Rothschild
HEMDA Science Education Centre
HEMDA Science Education Centre - with the Tel Aviv Municipality and the Tel Aviv Foundation
Lord Rothschild, Chair of Yad Hanadiv
Lord Rothschild becomes Chair of Yad Hanadiv
Archaeology Curatorship at The Israel Museum
Tamar and Teddy Kollek Curatorship in Archaeology at the Israel Museum
School libraries
School Libraries project with CET – development of six model libraries in elementary and middle schools
Rare Book Reading Room at NLI
Rare Book Reading Room at the Jewish National and University Library in honour of Sir Isaiah Berlin
Supreme Court Building
Supreme Court Building Dedication
Jerusalem Seminars in Architecture
First of seven Jerusalem Seminars in Architecture
KEF Loan Fund
KEF Loan Fund for Small Businesses with Clore Israel and SACTA-Rashi to assist immigrants and young Israelis
Water Research Institute
Water Research Institute with the Technion
Hanadiv Fellowships
Hanadiv Fellowships for young scholars of European and Western History
Victor Rothschild Memorial Symposia
Victor Rothschild Memorial Symposia established at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies
Support for Archaeological Science
Support for the Kimmel Centre for Archaeological Science at the Weizmann Institute
Bruno Awards
Michael Bruno Memorial Awards established for scholars under 50 of exceptional promise
Nekudat Hen
Nekudat Hen to promote sustainable agricultural land use, planning, policy and practice
Initiative for Applied Education Research
Israel Initiative for Applied Education Research established to provide evidence-based research to decision makers
Dorothy de Rothschild Campus of OU
Dorothy de Rothschild Raanana Campus of the Open University of Israel opened
Natural History Collections
Natural History Collections and Biodiversity Initiatives
JDC–Masira – to promote initiatives in Arab society for disabled individuals and their families
Avney Rosha
Avney Rosha – The Israel Institute for School Leadership
Environment and Health Fund
Environment and Health Fund established
Ramat Hanadiv Visitors Pavilion
Ramat Hanadiv Visitors Pavilion – first LEED-certified building in Israel open to the public
Plant Gene Bank
Israel Plant Gene Bank with the Ministries of Agriculture and Science
Nanotechnology Initiative
Support for Technion Nanotechnology Initiative
Humanities Fund
Humanities Fund – with the Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education (VATAT)
Arab Women Employment Partnerships
Arab Women Employment Partnerships - with JDC and later with Al-Tufula
Hirschfeld Archaeology Fellowships
Yizhar Hirschfeld Memorial Fellowships in Archaeology
CET – Arabic Textbooks for Native Speakers of Arabic
CET – Arabic Textbooks for Native Speakers of Arabic
National Library Renewal
National Library of Israel Renewal launched
GuideStar nonprofit database – with the JDC and the Ministry of Justice
Digitization with NLI
Digitization projects with the National Library of Israel, including Hebrew Journals and Jewish Newspapers
Yad Hanadiv LEED-certified Office
Yad Hanadiv opens its Silver LEED-certified office
Arab Employment Initiative
Arab Employment Initiative – with the Government and JDC
Marine Conservation Strategy
Marine Conservation Strategy to promote resilience of the ecosystem in Israel’s EEZ
Support for MindCET – CET’s Centre for Innovation and Tech Development in Education
Arab Excellence Strategy
Arab Excellence Strategy to increase representation of Arab citizens in Science and Engineering studies and careers
Alfanar established to manage the Employment Centres of the Arab Employment Initiative
Life Sciences Strategy
Life Sciences Strategy to improve national infrastructure in the field
Humanities Faculty Planning Initiative
Rothschild Faculty Planning Initiative in the Humanities
Teacher Leaders Strategy
Teacher Leaders Strategy to upgrade Professional Development of teachers
Ramat Hanadiv Regional Partnership
Ramat Hanadiv Partnership towards a Sustainable Hanadiv Valley
NLI Groundbreaking
Groundbreaking for new National Library of Israel building of design consultants Herzog and de Meuron
River Rehabilitation Strategy
River Rehabilitation- promotion through Integrated River Basin Management
Hannah Rothschild becomes Chair of Yad Hanadiv
Hannah Rothschild becomes Chair of Yad Hanadiv
Turnaround Schools Strategy
Turnaround Schools Strategy to improve failing elementary schools serving disadvantaged students
Early Childhood Programme
Early Childhood Programme to provide every child with the best conditions for healthy development by supporting parents and ensuring quality care and frameworks

Yad Hanadiv seeks innovative opportunities to address the needs of Israeli society. It carries forward a tradition of support for Jewish revival in Palestine begun by Baron Edmond de Rothschild in the second half of the 19th century. Established in its present form in 1958, the Foundation’s work is guided by a distinguished Board of Trustees led by members of the Rothschild family.  

Major projects have included the building of the Israeli Knesset and Supreme Court, establishment of the Centre for Educational Technology, the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies at The Hebrew University, Educational Television, Rothschild Fellowships and Prizes, the Jerusalem Music Centre, Israel’s Open University, the MANOF Residential Youth Centre, the Environment and Health Fund and Avney Rosha - The Institute for School Leadership.

James de Rothschild speaking in Rishon Lezion

Yad Hanadiv is dedicated to creating resources for advancing Israel as a healthy, vibrant, democratic society, committed to Jewish values and equal opportunity for the benefit of all its inhabitants, carrying forward the philanthropic tradition of the Rothschild family.

Yad Hanadiv’s grantmaking is currently focused on the areas of Education, Environment, Academic Excellence, Arab Community and Early Childhood. We also support the operation of the Ramat Hanadiv Nature Park and Memorial Gardens and are cooperating with the National Library in its renewal programme, including the construction of a state-of-the-art, 21st-century National Library for the State of IsraelYad Hanadiv initiates projects in its core areas of focus and does not accept applications for unsolicited grants. 

At the end of the 19th century, the lot of the Jew in Russia was a particularly difficult one, marked by persecution and pogroms. As early as 1880, Baron Edmond de Rothschild and his brother Alphonse organised a committee for the relief of the pogrom-stricken Jews of Russia. At the time, Edmond, the son of James and grandson of Meyer Amschel, was 35 years old. Two years later, he made up his mind to settle Jews from Russia and from elsewhere in Palestine.   

The name ‘Hanadiv’ is the Hebrew word for benefactor and it is appropriate that through the Foundation that bears this name, Yad Hanadiv, he is honoured to this very day. Baron Edmond’s motives were partly philanthropic and partly religious, but he was truly a pioneering Zionist - amongst the first to believe in a Jewish home in Palestine, a national existence for the Jews, a place for the development of the Jewish people. He asked in his Will that he and his wife Adelaide both be buried in Palestine as it then was. Twenty years after his death in 1934, his remains and those of his wife were taken from the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris, via an Israeli naval frigate, to Haifa. He was given a state funeral and buried on the top of a hill near Haifa in the area known today as Ramat Hanadiv, which overlooks many of the agricultural settlements and towns which Edmond himself had helped found.  

He declared in a speech to the early settlers: ‘I did not come to your aid because of your poverty and suffering for, to be sure, there were many other similar cases of distress in the world. I did it because I saw in you the realisors of the renaissance of Israel and of that ideal so dear to us all – the sacred goal of the return of Israel to its ancestral homeland.’  

Edmond entrusted his son James de Rothschild with the task of carrying on his work through the Palestine Jewish Colonisation Association (PICA). Towards the end of the First World War, the question of a home for the Jews in Palestine was coming to the fore under the leadership of Chaim Weizmann. James de Rothschild had by then settled in England, and he and his wife Dorothy were committed to Zionism and assisted Weizmann with his contacts in Britain. However, it was to the second Lord Rothschild, Walter, to whom the British Government turned and finally, in November 1917, addressed the famous Balfour Declaration:  

His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.  

In 1948, the State of Israel was declared based on a 1947 UN resolution. For three quarters of a century the work of Edmond and his son James had been threatened with setbacks and disasters, with wars, disease and famine. It was a fundamentally poor country with a lack of natural resources and no oil, but the Jews somehow managed through the capital which they did possess – technical skills, ingenuity, energy and desperation - to create fertile farms, factories and cities and a living organic Jewish society with a brilliance in scientific technology.  

By 1957, James felt that PICA’s task had been fulfilled. He wrote to the Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, to say that the principles which he and his father had always adhered to were ‘First, that we did our work without regard to political considerations and second, we endeavoured to give to Israel and her people all that we could without seeking anything in return – neither profits nor gratitude nor anything else’. He declared that he was turning all the remaining PICA lands over to national institutions, and asking that the State and the people, supported by world Jewry, carry on with the work. He decided to give most of the remaining available funds to the construction of a new Knesset building in Jerusalem, with the hope that the new building should become ‘A symbol in the eyes of all men of the permanence of the State of Israel’.  

James left the door open regarding the future, stating that he wanted to look into the possibility of making a modest contribution towards the advancement ‘of science, art and culture in Israel’. Following James’s death in 1957, his widow Dorothy delivered the letter to Ben-Gurion and reaffirmed to the Prime Minister that she would examine whether some future contribution in the fields James had mentioned might prove feasible. Ben-Gurion responded: ‘…your husband’s letter marks not the closing of his historic life’s work, but the supreme expression of his relationship and identification with Israel. …truly a great father was followed by a son no less great.’  

Dorothy de Rothschild, from the death of her husband until her own death in 1988, gave unremittingly and unswervingly through her endeavours to honour the wishes of her husband and of his father Edmond. Under her leadership, Yad Hanadiv was formed and projects were undertaken that ranged from the establishment of Educational Television, the Open University, the Centre for Educational Technology, the Jerusalem Music Centre in Mishkenot Shaananim and HEMDA- the Centre for Science Education in Tel Aviv.  

Dorothy was assisted by a group of distinguished Advisors, which included Lord Victor Rothschild, the Hon. Amschel Rothschild and Sir Isaiah Berlin [and Lord Jacob Rothschild]. They were later joined or replaced by other family members, Professor Emma Rothschild and Mme Béatrice Rosenberg de Rothschild, and colleagues such as James Wolfensohn – the namesake of James de Rothschild, who served with Wolfensohn’s father in the Jewish Battalion during WWI.  

One of the highlights of this period was the building of the Supreme Court which was completed in 1992. In 1984, Dorothy de Rothschild wrote to Prime Minister Shimon Peres, offering to fund construction of a new Supreme Court building, which she viewed as ‘a development of the work of both my husband and of his father before him’. The aim of both men was to provide some of the essentials needed by the people of Israel since the days of the first Aliyah. These ideals still animate the Foundation and will, hopefully, continue to inspire future generations to come.     

Adapted from a speech delivered at Waddesdon, July 2009 by Lord Rothschild, Chair, Yad Hanadiv  

Lord Jacob Rothschild served as Chair of Yad Hanadiv from 1989 until 2018. He currently serves as the Foundation's President. In 2018, Lord Rothschild's daughter, the Hon. Hannah Rothschild, assumed the role of Chair.

We support effective, creative and innovative responses to critical needs of Israeli society.

We seek a clear focus on sustainable initiatives with potential for broad influence.

We are prepared to take calculated risks.

We emphasize collaborative planning, assessment and attention to quality.

We typically rely on other organisations to implement.

We value sharing of knowledge and enhancement of professional capabilities.

We honour the distinction between the roles and responsibilities of Government and those of philanthropy.

We work closely with our major strategic partners to ensure successful implementation and the ability to overcome difficulties, in the hope of making lasting change.

We do not have all the answers and are committed to listening and to a modest public profile.