ICA, the initials of the Jewish Colonisation Association, refers to the company established by Baron Maurice de Hirsch. He founded the Association in 1891 in a massive effort to improve the productivity of indigent Jews in Eastern Europe and help them escape poverty and persecution by emigrating to the developing nations of the period.
ICA concentrated its activities on acquiring lands, establishing farming villages, and
resettling Jews in Russia, Brazil, the USA, Canada, Turkey and above all, Argentina, where ICA set up 30 agricultural colonies that became home to thousands of Jewish families.
Opposed to ICA's operating in the land of Israel, Baron de Hirsch believed that the conditions there ‒ the Turkish Ottoman rule and what he saw as limited agricultural possibilities ‒ were not suitable for Jewish settlement. Hence the Association did not function at all in the Yishuv (the pre-State settlement in Israel) until after Hirsch's death in 1896, when it began its first activities there.
A major change came about at the start of the 20th century following Baron Edmond de Rothschild's decision to put all his villages in the Yishuv under the care of ICA, placing a large sum of money at ICA's disposal to care for these communities.
ICA operated in the Yishuv with energy and decisiveness. During the early years of the century it created a new block of settlements in the lower Galilee, supporting them and all other colonies till after World War I.
Baron de Rothschild was involved in ICA's activities, closely following the development of the villages and providing assistance as needed.