Making a Difference – the Rothschild Family, Sir Moses Montefiore, and Other Such Benefactors
This is an illustration of Baron Edmond Benjamin James de Rothschild, a French member of the Rothschild banking family, in his younger years. He is surrounded by laurel leaves, symbolising glory and achievement. Written on the leaves are the names of the villages he helped to fund in Israel from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th: Zichron Ya’akov, Va’ad El Chanin (Nes Tziona), Ekron, and Rishon LeZion. In the center there is a lion holding a flag with the word Zion representing Jerusalem. Baron Edmond de Rothschild was a strong supporter of Zionism and gave large donations to support the early Zionist movement and settlements.
Possible Primary Sources
Photographs, letters, postcards, maps of early settlements, newspaper articles, songs.
Zichron Ya’akov, Jerusalem , Rishon LeZion, Alliance schools (Haifa, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv), Metulla, Rosh Pina, the Knesset, the Supreme Court.
This is a photograph taken by an Italian photographer at the end of the 19th century. In the far right the Jerusalem neighbourhood Mishkenot Sha’ananim can be seen. Mishkenot Sha’ananim was built by the British Jewish banker Sir Moses Montefiore and was the first Jewish neighbourhood outside the walls of the Old City.
In the 19th and 20th century, Israel and its inhabitants were dependent on the generosity of Jewish benefactors from around the world. People like Sir Moses Montefiore and Baron Edmond de Rothschild contributed greatly to the revival of a Jewish presence in Israel. Many of the first Jewish settlements, such as Zichron Ya’akov and Rishon LeZion, were established with their support.