Matalon, Eli

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MATALON, ELI (1924–1999), Jamaican politician. Matalon, a member of a prominent Jamaican Jewish family of Syrian origin, was born in Kingston and served as an officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War ii. In 1971, he was elected mayor of Kingston and St. Andrew. When the People's National Party came to power in February 1973, he was appointed to the Upper House as minister of state attached to the Ministry of Education, with a seat in the cabinet. On the appointment of the minister of education as governor-general, Matalon resigned from the Upper House and successfully contested the constituency of Eastern Kingston and Port Royal thus rendered vacant, becoming the first Jew to be elected to the House of Representatives in independent Jamaica. He was subsequently appointed minister of education. Matalon was one of the founders of the Hillel Academy, a primary school sponsored by the Jewish community in 1969, and served as vice chairman from its inception until he was obliged to resign in March 1973, on his appointment to the cabinet. In 1974 Matalon was appointed minister of national security and justice, a newly created post, in the Jamaican government, retiring in 1976. In later years he lived in Miami, Florida, where he died.