Rokach, Shimon

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ROKACH, SHIMON (1863–1922), leader of the Jaffa Jewish community. Born in Jerusalem, the grandson of Rabbi Israel *Bak, Rokach moved to Jaffa in 1884 to control the travel tax imposed upon travelers from Jaffa to Jerusalem, a post which he and his father had leased from the Turkish authorities. Together with his brother Eleazar *Rokach, he established the Ezrat Israel Society to assist immigrants passing through Jaffa. In 1887 he was founder of the first modern Jewish quarter in Jaffa, Neveh Ẓedek, and among those instrumental in unifying the city's Sephardi and Ashkenazi communities in 1890; he later served as president of the community. One of the pioneers of citriculture in Ereẓ Israel, in 1900 Rokach was a founder of the cooperative citrus-marketing company, Pardes, and served as its director. He utilized his extensive contacts with the Turkish authorities and with Arab notables for the good of the Jewish community. During World War i, he obtained a contract to supply wood for fueling Turkish army trains and employed many Jews to exempt them from Ottoman military service.

[Yehuda Slutsky]

His son, israel (1896–1959), Israeli public figure and mayor of Tel Aviv. Born in Jaffa, Rokach graduated in Lausanne, Switzerland, as an electrical engineer. He belonged to the non-labor camp of the yishuv and dedicated most of his years to the Tel Aviv municipality. He was elected to the first Tel Aviv municipal council in 1922 and served without interruption until 1953 (from 1929 as deputy mayor to *Dizengoff and in 1937–53 as mayor). Under his leadership, Tel Aviv grew from a garden suburb into the principal city of the country. In 1947, Rokach was held for several months in a British detention camp, together with the mayors of Ramat Gan and Netanyah and other yishuv leaders, for having aided underground activities against the Mandatory government. Politically he was a leading figure of the General Zionists (b) and from 1949 served as one of their members in the Knesset. In 1953–55 Rokach was minister of interior and in 1957–59 deputy speaker of the Knesset.

Another son, isaac (1894–1974), was active in business affairs connected with the citrus industry and was general manager of the Citrus Growers Cooperation society.

[Benjamin Jaffe]


Shimon Rokach: Ẓiyyun le-Nishmat S. Rokach (1923); Tidhar, 1 (1947), 68–70; M. Smilansky, Mishpaḥat ha-Adamah, 2 (1947), 172–9. israel rokach: A. Remba, Israel Rokach (Eng. 1969), incl. bibl.

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Rokach, Shimon

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