Joffe, Hillel

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JOFFE, HILLEL (1864–1936), Ereẓ Israel pioneer, doctor, and specialist in malaria. Born in Bristovka, Ukraine, he was educated at a Russian high school in Berdyansk. Under the influence of his brother-in-law, the writer M. Ben-Ami, he became an adherent of Ḥibbat Zion. Upon completing his medical studies in Geneva in 1891 Joffe went to Ereẓ Israel and served as doctor of the Jewish community in Tiberias. Two years later he accepted the invitation of Baron Rothschild's officials to practice in Zikhron Ya'akov. He treated malaria victims in Ḥaderah and Athlit and, on his advice, a forest of eucalyptus trees was planted in the Ḥaderah swamps. From 1895 to 1905 he served as chairman of the Ḥovevei Zion executive committee. In 1898 Joffe accompanied Herzl on his tour of the settlements in Judea, and, in 1903, was a member of the Zionist commission which examined possibilities for Jewish settlement in *El-Arish. In 1907 he returned to Zikhron Ya'akov to establish a hospital and medical center for Galilee and Samaria, also organizing an anti-malarial service there. Joffe devoted particular attention to the health problems of the Jewish workers in the settlements and wrote many papers on preventive medicine. In 1919 he moved to Haifa where he practiced medicine and remained active in public life until his death. His reminiscences, letters and diaries appeared as a book, Dor Ma'pilim ("Generation of First Pioneers," 1939). The moshav Bet-Hillel and a hospital in Haderah are named for him.


J. Yaari-Poleskin, Ḥolemim ve-Loḥamim (1950), 141–5; M. Smilansky, Mishpaḥat ha-Adamah, 2 (19542), 166–72; Tidhar, 3 (19582), 1141–4; B. Ḥabas (ed.), Sefer ha-Aliyyah ha-Sheniyyah (1947), index.

[Yehuda Slutsky]