Guedalla, Haim

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GUEDALLA, HAIM (1815–1904), philanthropist and supporter of Jewish settlement in Ereẓ Israel. Born in London, Guedalla was descended from Moses Vita Montefiore and was a great-nephew of Sir Moses *Montefiore, whose niece he married. The Guedallas were originally Moroccan. Through his association with the Montefiore family he became interested in Ereẓ Israel. In the period 1876–80, he was the chairman of the Turkish Bondholders of the General Debt of Turkey, and in view of the size of the debt – £250,000,000 – he proposed that Ereẓ Israel be purchased from the Turks in exchange for the debt. George *Eliot, who was then taken up with the idea of the return of the Jews to their ancestral home, inspired this idea in him. There was considerable reaction to Guedalla's proposal in the Jewish world: some people treated it with amusement, while others (such as Y.M. *Pines) thought it worthy of consideration. Guedalla did in fact negotiate with Midhat Pasha, the grand vizier, but nothing came of the proposal. In 1863 Guedalla accompanied Moses Montefiore on a trip to Morocco to bring aid to its Jewish community, and on the way back he visited Spain. This trip was the beginning of his campaign designed to persuade the Spanish government to permit the return of the Jews, an aim which was in fact achieved in 1869. He also joined Montefiore on his fourth trip to Ereẓ Israel in 1855 and extended help to various institutions there. He published articles, pamphlets, and books dealing with Jewish affairs and supplied the funds for the English translation of The Jewish Question of Russia by Demidoff San Donato (1884). In the 1840s Guedalla was influential in establishing The Voice of Jacob, one of the earliest Anglo-Jewish newspapers.


jc (Oct. 7, 1904).

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