Recanati, Abraham Samuel

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RECANATI, ABRAHAM SAMUEL (1888–1980), Greek Zionist and journalist. A member of the *Recanati family, Abraham Samuel was born and educated in Salonika. He wrote in the local Jewish Judeo-Spanish press. In the Balkan wars, as a correspondent for the Jewish Chronicle and Die Welt (Berlin) he brought the suffering of the Jewish community of Salonika to the attention of the Jewish world and to the general European public.

In 1911 he became the head of Maccabi Federation in Salonika, transforming it from a sports organization to a mass youth movement.

Among his writings are La Poriza dela Familia Judia, Ke es el Tsionismo, and Los Judios de Rusia Sofrin Eyos Como Judios. He also translated The Jewish State by Theodor Herzl into French.

Owing to tactical and ideological differences, Abraham Recanati and a group of friends left Maccabi and in 1917 founded the French weekly newspaper Pro Israel, which Recanati edited during the ten years in which it appeared. The newspaper had widespread influence on the development of the Zionist movement in Salonika. The connections which developed at that time between Vladimir *Jabotinsky and Recanati brought about the molding of the core group of Pro Israel into a branch of the Revisionist Zionists in Salonika.

In 1919, Recanati formed the Histadrut ha-Mizrachi (Mizrachi Organization) in Greece and served as its leader. In 1923 he formed "Ha-Shomer," which was founded to use legal and "illegal" means to work for a Jewish state in Ereẓ Israel.

He was a delegate to various Zionist Congresses and was among the founders of the World Revisionist Organization and a member of its world executive committee. The Jews always had a small representation in the municipality of Salonika and in 1929 Recanati was appointed assistant mayor of the city.

In 1934 Recanati immigrated to Palestine. He was one of the founders of "Ha-Mizrachi Ha-Mekori," which was a faction in the Tel Aviv branch of the Mizrachi. In 1935 he obtained immigration certificates for Salonikan portworkers, sailors, and fishermen.

In Tel Aviv most of the Salonikan immigrants settled in the Florentin Quarter. Recanati served as vice chairman of the neighborhood committee under Rabbi Iẓḥak Yedidiah Frenkel and helped in the areas of health, sanitation, education, commerce, and the crafts. During the period of the Holocaust he participated in the formation of the Va'ad ha-Haẓẓalah (Rescue Committee) for Greek Jewry.

As a veteran Revisionist he was elected to the First Knesset in Israel representing the Ḥerut party. He was chairman of the public services committee of the Knesset.

In the last years of his life, he spent much time collecting material and writing for the Salonika memorial book, Zikhron Salonika (vol. 1, 1972; vol. 2, 1986).

He was the brother of the banker Yehudah Leib (Leon) Recanati.

[Yitzhak Kerem]