Alkalai, David

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ALKALAI, DAVID (1862–1933), founder and leader of the Zionist movement in Serbia and Yugoslavia. Alkalai, who was born in Belgrade, was a grandnephew of Judah *Alkalai, whose granddaughter he married. He studied law in Vienna, where he joined the Zionist students' association *Kadimah, and was active in the group centered in the first Zionist periodical *Selbstemanzipation. Alkalai continued his studies in Vienna and Tübingen, then returned to Belgrade, where he practiced law. He represented Belgrade at the First Zionist Congress in Basle (1897), was elected to the Zionist General Council (the Actions Committee), and from then on was the moving spirit in the Zionist movement in Belgrade and in Serbia. In 1924 he became president of the Zionist Organization in Yugoslavia, and was, for many years, president of the Belgrade Jewish community. He was instrumental in winning Yugoslav statesmen over to Zionism. Alkalai was a pioneer in the publication of Zionist literature in Serbian. He appears as Aladin, a Sephardi, the Jew heading the Land Acquisition Department in Herzl's novel Altneuland.


N. Agmon (Bistritzkij) (ed.), Megillat ha-Adamah, 2 (1951), 233–4; A.L. Jaffe (ed.), Sefer ha-Congress (19502), 89–90, 292–3; Ha-Olam (Feb. 16, 1933).

[Getzel Kressel]