Levi-Bianchini, Angelo

views updated


LEVI-BIANCHINI, ANGELO (1887–1920), Italian naval officer and member of the *Zionist Commission. Born in Venice, Levi-Bianchini completed his studies in the naval academy at Leghorn and joined the Italian navy, becoming a naval officer (a rare occupation among Italian Jews). Afterward he became a lecturer at the naval academy and at the military school in Turin. In 1917 he was appointed to the Navy ministry, on behalf of which he fulfilled several missions. With the establishment of the Zionist Commission, Levi-Bianchini, together with G. Artom, joined as a representative of the Italian Jewish community, in close liaison with the Italian Foreign Office. He arrived in Palestine in the summer of 1918 and immediately strengthened his ties with Chaim *Weizmann, members of the Zionist Commission, and the various circles of the yishuv. In addition, Levi-Bianchini won the confidence of many in the British military government and Arab leaders. He also contributed directly and indirectly to the organization of self-defense in the yishuv and represented the interests of the yishuv and the Zionist Movement before *Allenby and the British military government. In April 1919 he prevented the outbreak of disturbances following the Arab holiday and traditional parade from al-Nabi Mūsā. In May of the same year he left Palestine. He continued his service for the Italian government, participating in the Versailles Conference in 1919 and the San Remo Conference in Italy in 1920, at which he worked to procure the Italian Foreign Office's approval of the British Mandate on Palestine and the *Balfour Declaration in general. In 1920 Levi-Bianchini was sent by the Italian foreign minister, Sforza, to examine the situation in Palestine and Egypt, especially the role of the Zionist Movement in the new political developments in the Middle East. He was killed near Khirbet el Gazale in a Bedouin attack on a train making its way from Damascus to Haifa. His body was eventually found near the scene of the attack and was buried in Turin about a year after his death.


S. Minerbi, A. Levi-Bianchini e la sua opera nel Levante 19181920 (1967); idem, in: D. Carpi (ed.), Ha-Ẓiyyonut, 1 (1970), 296–356; C. Weizmann, Trial and Error (1949), 212.

[Getzel Kressel]