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Deedes, Sir Wyndham°


DEEDES, SIR WYNDHAM ° (1883–1956), British Zionist. During World War i he served at Gallipoli and, in 1915, was a member of the British Intelligence Service in Cairo. When Chaim *Weizmann reached Palestine in 1918 as head of the *Zionist Commission, Deedes was influenced by him and became a supporter of the Zionist cause. Herbert *Samuel, appointed high commissioner for Palestine in 1920, invited Deedes to become his chief secretary. In the early stages of the administration, Deedes proved an effective brake on the hostile attitude of the British civil servants to the policy based on the *Balfour Declaration. He unofficially recognized the Haganah and introduced Jews into the Palestine Police Force. In 1921 Deedes was instrumental in saving the Jewish settlement in *Reḥovot from destruction by a mob of 10,000 Arabs. He returned to England when his term of office ended in 1923 and subsequently visited several countries on Zionist missions. In 1943 he established the British Association for the Jewish National Home, and, upon the establishment of the State of Israel, formed the Anglo-Israel Friendship Association with both Jewish and Christian members. His Zionism was motivated by profound religious belief. He was one of the most out-spoken non-Jewish supporters of Zionism in Britain. Deedes was knighted in 1921.


Ch. Weizmann, Trial and Error (1966), index; G. Skelton (J. Presland), Deedes Bey (1942); N. Bentwich, Sir Wyndham Deedes, a Christian Zionist (1954); E. Elath et al. (eds.), Memoirsof Sir Wyndham Deedes (1958); E. Samuel, Lifetime in Jerusalem (1970). add. bibliography: B. Wasserstein, Wyndham Deedes in Palestine (1973); idem, The British in Palestine: The Mandatory Government and the Arab-British Conflict (1991); ODNB online.

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