"Hanadiv" - The Known Benefactor

"It is doubtful whether it would be possible to find in the entire history of the Jewish people in the Diaspora, during the lengthy period of almost two thousand years, a figure equal to or even resembling the exceptional figure of the man who built Jewish settlements in the homeland that was reborn during our generation – the figure of Baron Edmond de Rothschild. Even if we tried to combine and merge the figures of three great men: Don Joseph Nasi, Sir Moses Montefiore and Baron Hirsch, each of whom did great things in his own time and way – we would not find the multi-accomplished and highly visionary personality of the "Hanadiv ( The Known Benefactor)

David Ben-Gurion

[David Ben-Gurion]


Baron Edmond James de Rothschild was born in 1845 in a French town near Paris, and devoted his time to philanthropic activity and promoting the arts and culture.

The distress of Russian Jews and the pogroms that took place in 1881 led the Baron to the conclusion that the main solution to the Eastern European Jews' problem was to immigrate to the Land of Israel and build a new life there. Under the influence of the Chief Rabbi of Paris, the Baron began supporting the Hibbat-Zion movement and the initial organization of groups who tried to reach the Land of Israel and establish new colonies.

Upon embarking on his activity in the Land of Israel, the Baron refrained from openly publicizing his support of the Jewish Yishuv, and he was called "Hanadiv (The Known Benefactor)." When the first colonies became embroiled in financial hardships that endangered their very existence, they appealed to the Baron and he agreed to help save them. His first activity in this realm was in 1882 in Rishon Lezion, which was on the verge of being dismantled. Later the Baron stepped up his involvement and began aiding the other colonies as well, which were likewise in crisis. Understanding that the colonies could not continue to exist as lone settlements scattered few and far between throughout the land, the Baron started buying large plots of land and founding new colonies on them.

In order to make his support of the new settlements more efficient, the Baron set up a supervisory system for the allotment of monies, and dispatched agricultural, water and finance experts who developed new crops aimed at stabilizing the colonies and fortifying their economic base. His system of experts and officials instated numerous industrial agricultural branches, including growing vineyards and producing wines which were marketed worldwide. Olive groves and modern olive oil processing facilities were initiated, as well as a perfume industry based on agricultural crops brought to the Land of Israel expressly for this purpose. After the British Mandate began in 1923, the Baron de Rothschild founded PJCA, the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association, and moved the administration of his Zionist endeavors there.

The Baron passed away in 1934. About 20 years later, in 1954, his and his wife's remains were transferred to Israel and reinterred at Ramat Hanadiv. Some of the colonies the Baron had founded were named after family members, such as Zichron Yaakov, Mazkeret Batya, Bat Shlomo, Binyamina, Givat Ada, and others. Altogether, the Baron purchased over half a million dunams (about 125,000 acres) in the Land of Israel, on which more than 40 villages were built. Upon the establishment of the State of Israel, the Rothschild Family granted most of the lands it owned throughout Israel to the nation as a gift. This is, notably, by far the largest donation of land to any country established in the Western world and a crucial impetus in the founding of the State of Israel.

The Rothschild Caesarea Foundation was established by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, the grandson of the Known Benefactor. While his grandfather left his mark by acquiring lands and settling them, Baron Edmond de Rothschild will be remembered for his contribution to the industrialization of Israel, and similarly, for his contribution and generosity to educational and cultural institutions.


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Caesarea Edmond Benjamin de Rothschild Foundation

104 Rothschild blvd,

Tel Aviv
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