Edmond James de Rothschild Figurine
Edmond James de Rothschild (1845-1934) | A Jewish-Zionist philanthropist, known as “Hanadiv” (The Generous One). He supported the Jewish settlement in Eretz Israel during the First Aliyah, and was therefore also nicknamed “Father of the Yishuv”. Born in France, into a dynasty of Jewish bankers, among the wealthiest families in 19th-century Europe. Following the “Negev Storms” pogroms (1881-1882), he reasoned that the only solution to the plight of Diaspora Jews is immigration to Eretz Israel, and therefore actively supported development of the Yishuv, then in a state of severe crisis. He sponsored the first settlements, including Zichron Yaakov, Rishon Lezion and Petah Tikva. Beginning in 1887, he visited Israel five times and helped the Yishuv by financing agricultural training and public services, along with providing allowances to the settlers and purchasing land. His important contribution formed the basis for the development of agriculture and industry in Israel, including the wine industry. In 1929, Rothschild was appointed honorary chairman of the WZO. He died in Paris aged 89. In 1954, his remains were brought to Israel for reburial.