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Belkowsky, Ẓevi Hirsch


BELKOWSKY, ẒEVI HIRSCH (Grigori ; 1865–1948), Zionist leader and jurist. Belkowsky was born in Odessa, where his father died of wounds received during the 1881 pogroms. He was admitted to a Russian high school and graduated cum laude from the University of Odessa law school. He was offered a post at the university on the condition that he convert to Christianity. He refused and became a lecturer and later professor at the University of Sofia in Bulgaria (1893–97). As a university student, he had joined the *Ḥibbat Zion movement, and from 1891 was in contact with the pre-Herzl Zionist circle surrounding Nathan *Birnbaum in Vienna. When Herzl's Judenstaat was published in 1896, Belkowsky joined Herzl's group and helped organize the First Zionist Congress (1897). At the Third Congress he was elected to the General Council and appointed representative to the St. Petersburg district of the movement. He was among the leaders of the opposition to the *Uganda Scheme. Belkowsky published a series of pamphlets on Zionist subjects. He also initiated the publication of a bibliographical work in Russian entitled Ukazatel literatury o sionizme ("A Guide to Zionist Literature," 1903). Belkowsky continued his Zionist activity during the Russian Revolution. He was adviser to the British consul in Moscow on matters regarding Palestine immigration certificates, and chairman of the Zionist Central Committee of Russia (1920–22). In 1924 he was arrested for his Zionist activities and sentenced to deportation to Siberia, but the sentence was commuted to banishment from the Soviet Union. He settled in Palestine in 1924 and was active in the Federation of General Zionists. He later wrote his memoirs, Mi-Zikhronotai (1940).


Enẓiklopedyah le-Ẓiyyonut, 1 (1947), 143–6; A.L. Jaffe (ed.), Sefer ha-Congress (19502), 299.

[Yehuda Slutsky]

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