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Stein, Leonard

STEIN, LEONARD

STEIN, LEONARD (Jacques ; 1887–1973), barrister, author, and Zionist historian. Born in London, the son of a merchant, Stein was educated at St. Pauls and Oxford, where he was the first Jewish president of the Oxford Union, and was called to the bar in 1912. He was a captain in the British Army in World War i, after which he served as a political officer in the military administration in Palestine and as military governor of Safed. In 1920 Chaim *Weizmann appointed him political secretary and legal adviser of the Zionist Organization, a position which he held from 1920 until 1929, when he left over a disagreement on the official policy of the Zionist leadership. In 1932 he returned to practicing law and achieved a reputation as a foremost expert on taxation. He continued to advise the Jewish Agency and drafted the Zionist case before the Palestine Royal Commission (1936) and the Woodhead Commission (1938; see *Palestine, Inquiry Commissions). Stein's testimony before the Shaw Commission, which investigated the causes of the 1929 riots, was described by Weizmann as "the crowning glory of Stein's outstanding services to Zionism." He was president of the Anglo-Jewish Association (1939–49) and exerted considerable influence on this body which had not been favorably disposed toward political Zionism, although Zionist circles felt that in the 1945–48 period his representations to the British government on behalf of the Anglo-Jewish associations were not always helpful to Zionist policy.

Stein wrote extensively on Zionist history and compiled an anthology of official documents pertaining to Zionism and Israel, Promises and Afterthoughts, and, together with Leon Simon, edited Awakening Palestine (1923). His most outstanding book is the Balfour Declaration (1961), the most authoritative, documented, and detailed work on the subject, which revealed many facts previously unpublished. He also edited and published (together with Gedalia Yogew) The Letters and Papers of Chaim Weizmann (vol. 1, 1889–1902). Stein wrote a number of standard works on revenue law. He was a director of the Jewish Chronicle newspaper for 36 years; it established a lectureship in Medieval Hebrew at Oxford to mark his 80th birthday in 1967.

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