Musolino, Benedetto°

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MUSOLINO, BENEDETTO ° (1809–1885), Italian statesman who foretold the return of the Jews to Ereẓ Israel. Born in Pizzo (Calabria), Musolino was an exile in his youth and later joined Garibaldi's army. From 1861 he served as member of the Italian parliament and later as a senator in united Italy. He published seven books on philosophy, law, and social justice. Musolino visited Ereẓ Israel four times and wrote Gerusalemme ed il Popolo Ebreo (1851, first published in 1951). Based upon an analysis of the situation of the Jews in the Diaspora and their yearning to return to Ereẓ Israel, the book suggests that Britain support the establishment of a Jewish principality in Ereẓ Israel under the Turkish Crown. Musolino even formulated a complete constitution, which stipulates a prince at the head of the principality and a bicameral parliament. The official religion of the principality is Judaism and the language is Hebrew. The right to vote and to be elected would be granted only to those who read and write Hebrew. All the public offices, including jurisdiction, would be determined by the elections for one-year terms. Citizenship would automatically be granted to Jews settling there and to non-Jews who request it. Other laws include freedom of speech and assembly, the prohibition of polygamy, and compulsory education between the ages of four and sixteen. Immigration and absorption would be under the control of a domestic settlement company, and the principality would guarantee the right to work.


M. Ishai, in: Scritti in Memoria di Sally Mayer (1956), 145–66 (Heb. sect.). add. bibliography: B. Musolino, Gerusalemme e il Popolo Ebraico, in: rmi (1951); P. Alatri, "Benedetto Musolino, Biografia di un Rivoluzionario Europeo," in: Benedetto Musolino. Il Mezzogiorno nel Risorgimento tra Rivoluzione e Utopia (1988), 34; D. Carpi, "Benjamin Disraeli, la Questione Orientale e un suo Presunto Progetto di Costituire uno Stato Ebraico in Palestina," in: Gli Ebrei a Cento e a Pieve di Cento, tra Medioevo ed Età Moderna (1994), 88–90; J.M. Landau, "A Project for Reforms in the Ottoman Empire, 1883," in J.M. Landau, Exploring Ottoman and Turkish History (2004), 89–93.

[Moshe Ishai]