Ettinger, Akiva Jacob

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ETTINGER, AKIVA JACOB (1872–1945), agricultural expert; founder and administrator of Jewish settlements in Ereẓ Israel. Ettinger, born in Vitebsk, Belorussia, came from a distinguished family (his mother was descended from R. Akiva *Eger). He studied agriculture at the University of St. Petersburg and in West European countries. Representing the *Jewish Colonization Association (ica), he took part in 1898 in an investigation of the situation of Jewish farmers in southern Russia, and was then asked to establish a Jewish model farm in Bessarabia. In 1911 he served as agricultural adviser to ica in South America. Ettinger, together with *Aḥad Ha-Am, was sent to Ereẓ Israel in 1902 by the *Odessa Committee of Ḥovevei Zion to investigate the state of the Jewish settlements. In 1914 he was asked by the Zionist Organization and the Jewish National Fund to serve as adviser and inspector for Jewish agricultural settlement in Ereẓ Israel, but because of the outbreak of war he went to The Hague, where the Jewish National Fund had its temporary head office. There he wrote a programmatic booklet, Jewish Colonization in Palestine: Methods, Plans and Capital (19162, published in English, German, and Russian).

During the negotiations over the *Balfour Declaration, Ettinger was invited by Chaim *Weizmann to London as adviser on settlement matters, and composed a comprehensive memorandum, Palestine after the War: Proposals for Administration and Development (1918). Ettinger settled in Palestine in 1918, serving as director of the agricultural settlement department of the Zionist Organization until 1924. In 1919, after the purchase of land for *Kiryat Anavim on the rocky Judean hills, he founded the village which became a model for hill settlements. His most important achievement involved the vast settlement project of the Jezreel Valley during 1921–24. From 1924 to 1932 Ettinger played a prominent role on behalf of the Jewish National Fund in the purchase of land and the drafting and implementation of settlement (the kevuẓah, kibbutz, and moshav) and aided their development on a mixed farming basis with emphasis on dairy farming and orchards. He also introduced new afforestation methods. From 1932 until his death Ettinger was adviser to the agricultural Yakhin Company of the Histadrut.

Ettinger wrote many articles on agriculture in Ereẓ Israel. His booklets include Nahalal (1924), Emek Yizre'el (1926), and Ha-Karmel (1931). His memoirs are titled Im Ḥakla'im Yehudim ba-Tefuẓot ("With Jewish Farmers in the Diaspora," 1942), and Im Ḥakla'im Ivriyyim be-Arẓenu ("With Hebrew Farmersin our Country," 1945).


A. Bein, Return to the Soil (1952), index.

[Alexander Bein]