BENCHIMOL , Moroccan family. The descendants of abraham benchimol, one of the leaders of the community in *Fez (1700), established a business of international repute in Tangiers at the end of the 18th century. For four generations the family played a leading role in Morocco's political and economic life. As diplomats, they were entrusted with many missions by the French or the sultans. Ḥayyim (1834–1915), who lived in Tangiers, was the founder of freemasonry in Morocco. There he organized and supported the *Alliance Israélite Universelle. He also established the first newspapers in Tangiers for the defense of human rights and of the Jews in particular. His influence provoked attacks by the anti-Semite Edouard *Drumont. A philanthropist and founder of charitable institutions, Ḥayyim headed the Jewry of northern Morocco.
J.M. Toledano, Ner ha-Ma'arav (1911), 124, 133; F. Rey, De la protection diplomatique et consulaire dans les échelles du Levant et de Barbarie (1899), 515–7; A. Laredo, Memorias de un viejo Tangerino (1935), 435–449; Miège, Maroc, 2 (1961), 85ff.; 210; 3 (1962), 443, 498; 4 (1963), 49–50; Hirschberg, Afrikah, 2 (1965), 313.