Soskin, Selig Eugen

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SOSKIN, SELIG EUGEN (1873–1959), pioneer agronomist and politician. Soskin was born in Churubash in the Crimea, Russia, but settled in Palestine (1896) where he served as plantation expert for Ḥovevei Zion. Together with Aaron *Aaronsohn, he explored the country and conducted agricultural experiments. He was a member of the Zionist Inquiry Commission on the *El-Arish project (1903) and he served as agricultural adviser in German South West Africa (1906–15). He was director of the settlement department in the central office of the Jewish National Fund, then in The Hague (1918–23). Soskin advocated intensive farming on small irrigated plots, as opposed to the "mixed" farming on larger units practiced by the Zionist Organization. In 1934 he founded Nahariyyah, where he established an experimental intensive farm. Soskin advocated growing plants in water (hydroponics) or in saturated soil, and in 1945 he founded an experimental station in hydroponics in Ramat Gan.

In 1926 Soskin joined the Revisionist movement and became its spokesman on agricultural settlement. From 1927 he acted as political representative of the Union of Zionist Revisionists to the League of Nations in Geneva. After the split in the Revisionist movement (1933), he joined the Jewish State party. He held controversial views on the importance of land exchange to enable the Jewish state to build up its holding of national land under the proposals of the Peel Commission. He published many studies on his work in Africa and Palestine including Small Holding and Irrigation (1920), Intensive Cultivation and Close Settlement (1926), The Escape from the Impasse (1927), and Land settlement in Palestine (1929).

[Joseph Ben-Shlomo /

Michael Denman (2nd ed.)]