BENTWICH , English Zionist family who settled in Palestine during the 1920s.
herbert bentwich (1856–1932), British Zionist leader and lawyer. An authority on copyright law, for many years he edited the Law Journal. Bentwich was born in London. He became a leading member of the English Ḥovevei Zion and one of the first followers of Theodor *Herzl in England. In 1897 Bentwich organized the first pilgrimage to Ereẓ Israel of the Order of the Ancient Maccabeans, on whose behalf, in 1923, he acquired land for settlement at Gezer, near Ramleh. Bentwich was a founder of the English Zionist Federation in 1899 and for some time served as its vice chairman. He was a legal adviser for the *Jewish Colonial Trust. From 1916 to 1918 he served on the Zionist political advisory committee under Chaim *Weizmann. Bentwich settled in Palestine in 1929, spending most of his time at the family home in Zikhron Ya'akov.
His son, norman de mattos bentwich (1883–1971), English Zionist, lawyer, and scholar, was born in London, where he practiced law from 1908 to 1912. In 1913 he was appointed commissioner of courts in Egypt and lecturer at the Cairo Law School. During World War i he served in the British Army on the Palestine front and was demobilized with the rank of major. From 1920 until 1931 Bentwich was attorney general of the Mandate government in Palestine, and in this capacity was active in modernizing the country's courts and introducing British law and procedure to replace those of the former Turkish regime. In 1930 an attempt was made on his life by an Arab terrorist. The Mandate government's anti-Zionist policy led him to resign in 1931.
The following year Bentwich was appointed professor of international relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He advocated Arab-Jewish rapprochement, sharing the views of the *Berit Shalom group. He served as director of the League of Nations' Commission for Jewish Refugees from Germany between 1933 and 1936. In 1951 he retired from the Hebrew University and returned to England where he was active on behalf of the Hebrew University.
Bentwich was a prolific writer. His books on Zionism and Israel include Palestine of the Jews: Past, Present and Future (1919), England in Palestine (1932), Fulfillment in the Promised Land (1938), Palestine (19462, Jewish Youth Comes Home, 1933–1943 (1944), Israel (19602), Israel and her Neighbors (1955), Legislation of Palestine (1926), and The Criminal Law of Palestine (1928); on international relations: The Religious Foundations of Internationalism (19592), From Geneva to San Francisco (1946), A Commentary on the Charter of the un (1950), and The Mandates System (1930); on Hellenism: Hellenism (1919), Josephus (1914), and Philo-Judaeus of Alexandria (1910); biographies: Solomon Schechter (1938), For Zion's Sake (on J.L. *Magnes, 1954), and on Brigadier F. Kisch. Wanderer in the Promised Land (1932), Wanderer Between Two Worlds (1941), and Wanderer in War (1946) are all autobiographies as is My 77 Years (1961). Mandate Memoirs 1918–1948 (1965) was written in collaboration with his wife Helen, and a biography of his father, The Pilgrim Father (1940), in collaboration with his sister Margery (d. 1976). Bentwich's wife, Helen Caroline (née Franklin; 1892–1972), was chairman of the London County Council in 1956–57, and alderman from 1958 to 1965. She wrote Our Councils, the Story of Local Government (1962).
joseph bentwich (1902–1982), another son of Herbert Bentwich, was an Israeli educator. Bentwich was born in London and settled in Palestine in 1924. From 1928 to 1948 he served as inspector of schools for the Mandate government, and from 1943 to 1948 as assistant director of the Department of Education. Bentwich was principal of the Reali High School in Haifa from 1948 to 1955, and from 1955 to 1958 he lectured on education at the Hebrew University. In 1962 he was awarded the Israel Prize for his contribution to Israel education. Bentwich was a leader of the Amanah ("Covenant") group, established to study and promote new interpretations of Judaism. He edited Yalkut ha-Datot ("Anthology of Religions," 1964) and Yahadut, Mikra'ah ("Judaism, a Reader," 1967). He published several textbooks for teaching English and mathematics and Education in Israel (1965).
Herbert Bentwich's ninth child, Thelma (1895–1959), was a cellist (see *Yellin-Bentwich, Thelma).
[Benjamin Jaffe /