Israeli (Chernomorski), Benzion

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

ISRAELI (Chernomorski), BENZION

ISRAELI (Chernomorski), BENZION (1887–1954), pioneer of the Second Aliyah. Born in Glukhov, Ukraine, Israeli settled in Ereẓ Israel in 1906, working in Petaḥ Tikvah and Reḥovot as an agricultural laborer and guard. He returned to Russia for a time and served in the army. Upon his return to Ereẓ Israel he worked on Kinneret Farm and in Sejerah and in Kefar Uriyyah in the Judean Hills. He was one of the founders of the kevuẓah *Kinneret. Together with his friend Noah Naftulski, he devoted himself to the cultivation of bananas in the Jordan Valley. He traveled eight times to Iraq, Persia, and Egypt and after considerable efforts and dangers brought back choice date scions; the date trees in Israel are to his credit. In 1919 he was a member of the central board of the Agricultural Worker's Organization of *Aḥdut ha-Avodah and was active in Ḥever ha-Kevuẓot in promoting the union of the kibbutz movement. In 1941, Israeli joined the Jewish Brigade, in spite of his age, and organized the volunteering for army service in Palestine. With his unit he went to North Africa and the Italian front, and at the end of the war was active in the rescue of the survivors of the Holocaust. He was the prime mover in the establishment of Oholo, an educational institution on the shores of Lake Kinneret. He was killed by a plane which crashed into a crowd during a ceremony to honor the memory of the Haganah paratroopers of World War ii at kibbutz Ma'agan. His writings and speeches were edited by S. *Yavnieli (1956).

bibliography:

S. Stoler, Masot Benzion Israeli (1959).

[Abraham Aharoni]