Yehoshua Hankin

Yehoshua Hankin ( _he. יהושע חנקין, born 1864, died 11 November 1945) was a Zionist activist who was responsible for most of the major land purchases of the World Zionist Organization in Ottoman Palestine.

Hankin was born in Kremenchug, Ukraine, and moved to Rishon LeZion with his parents in 1882. In 1887 his family moved to Gedera, where he became friendly with local Arabs, helping him negotiate the purchase of land. Hankin's first purchase was the land of Rehovot, acquired in 1890. A year later he bought the land that later became the settlement and city of Hadera. He then purchased territories for the Jewish Colonial Association in the Galilee.

In 1908, when the Zionist organization sent Arthur Ruppin and set up the Palestine Land Development Corporation, Hankin joined. In 1909 or 1910, Hankin completed his first major purchase in the Jezreel Valley. He bought some 10,000 dunams (10 km²) of land in Al-Fuleh (now Afula), which became the home of Merhavia and Tel Adashim. This purchase also marked the start of bitter disputes between Arabs and Jews over the rights of tenant farmers who had been evicted, and regarding the employment of Jewish or Arab watchmen for the land.

In his article, "Buying the Emek"ref|1, Arthur Ruppin described the vicissitudes of this purchase:

:"In order to execute this plan the Jaffa office communicated with Messrs. Kalvariski and Joshua Hankin. The latter, then a young man of twenty-five had already demonstrated his skill in such negotiations in the acquisition of land for the colonies Rehoboth and Hederah. By energetic work he succeeded, in 1891, in reaching an agreement with large owners in the Emek Jezreel and the Plain of Acco for the purchase of 160,000 dunams [160 km²] at 15 francs per dunam [15,000 franc/km²] ....Before the consummation of the agreement, however the Turkish Government, alarmed by the increasing inflow of Russian Jews, prohibited Jewish immigration entirely. This blow proved disastrous for the negotiations. The Russian societies formed for the purposes of purchasing land were dissolved, failed to send in the money they had promised, and the entire magnificent project fell through...It was only in 1910 that Hankin -- who, in the meanwhile, had purchased land in Lower Galilee for the ICA -- resumed his negotiations for land in the Emek."

Because of the reluctance of Zionist organizations to pay for land, Hankin frequently agreed to purchase lands and then convinced the Jewish agency or others to finance the "done deal." As Ruppin notes:

:"Authorized by a Russian Jew, Elias Blumenfeld, to arrange for the purchase of 1,000 dunams [1 km²] on which he, Blumenfeld, intended to establish a farm with his own means, Hankin concluded an agreement for a stretch of 9,500 dunams [9.5 km²] in Fule, later Merchavia [Al-Ful in Arabic] . He hoped that the ICA, in whose employ he was at that time, would buy the remainder of the land. When, however, the ICA refused to do so, he inquired of me, who was then the director of the Palestine Bureau of the Zionist Organization, whether the Zionists would be prepared to purchase this land. Even before that it had occurred to me, whenever, going from Haifa to Nazareth, I had viewed the broad expanse of the Emek Yizrael, that, because of its proximity to Haifa, its excellent railroad and highway connections, and the ease with which its soil could be cultivated, this land would be preeminently suited for Jewish colonization."

:"But it was no simple matter to obtain the money for this purchase. Only the fact that Franz Oppenheimer was just then seeking land for the co-operative colonization society he had recently organized, and the simultaneous appearance of some private purchasers, made it possible to carry through this project. 3,500 dunams [3.5 km²] were taken over by the National Fund for the co-operative colonies, and the rest by the Palestine Land Development Company."

During World War I, Hankin was exiled by the Turks to Anatolia. Returning to Palestine, he soon resumed his work where he had left off. In 1920, he concluded a deal with the Sursuk family of Beirut for purchase of 60,000 dunams (60 km²) of land in the Jezreel Valley. He negotiated for this land when he had in fact not a penny to finance the purchase. The chairman of the Jewish National Fund, Nehemiah De Lieme, refused to pay for the land, arguing that it was beyond the budget of the Fund, but he was overruled by the Zionist organization and in particular Chaim Weizmann. This tract became home to numerous new kibbutzim and other settlements, including Nahalal, Djindjar, Kfar Yehezkel, Geva, Ein Harod, Tel Yosef and Beit Alfa. Half of this land was unirrigated and considered of low value, but the remainder contained about 500 Arab tenant farmers. These latter, though reimbursed above and beyond the requirements of the law, continued to complain of dispossession.

Subsequently, Hankin was involved in large scale purchases of land in and around Acco. In 1927, Hankin proposed an ambitious 20 year land purchase plan to the Jewish Agency for Israel, a plan that was never carried out in full. In 1932 he became head of the Palestine Land Development Corporation.

Hankin understood the necessity to plan for Arab as well as Jewish settlement, and apparently intended to do so. In July 1930 he wrote:

:"...Had we desired to disregard the interests of such workers of the land as are dependent, directly or indirectly, upon lands of the landlords, we could have acquired large and unlimited areas, but in the course of our conversation I have pointed out to you that this has not been our policy and that, when acquiring lands, it is our ardent wish not to prejudice or do harm to the interests of anybody. (Quoted by Sir John Hope Simpson in his reportref|2 of 1930 )."

Hankin died in Tel Aviv and was buried in the Galilee on Mount Gilboa.


* [ Palestine. Report on Immigration, Land Settlement and Development - Sir John Hope Simpson]
* [ Buying the Emek by Arthur Ruppin]
* [ Biography of Yehoshua Hankin] Zionism and Israel Information Center

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Yehoshua Hankin — zionist businessman and buyer of land in Israel …   English contemporary dictionary

  • HANKIN, YEHOSHUA — (1864–1945), Ereẓ Israel pioneer, instrumental in acquiring large tracts of land for Jewish settlement. Born in Kremenchug, Ukraine, Hankin went to Ereẓ Israel in 1882 with his father, who was one of the founders of Rishon le Zion. In 1887 the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Hankin, Yehoshua — (1864–1945)    Yishuv pioneer. Hankin’s family emigrated to Palestine from the Ukraine in 1882, and his father was one of the founders of Rishon le Zion. Yehoshua helped on the land and in repelling Arab marauders. Together with his father, he… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Hankin, Yehoshua — (1864 1945)    Palestinian Zionist pioneer. He was born in the Ukraine and went to Palestine in 1882. In 1897 he negotiated for the purchase of land in the Jezreel Valley, but not until 1909 was the sale completed. In 1915 he was exiled in… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Jehoschua Hankin — (Yehoshua Hankin, Josua Hankin, auch: Chenkin; * 1864 in Krementschuk, Ukraine; † 11. November 1945 in Tel Aviv) war ein zionistischer Pionier. Er war verantwortlich für die meisten und größten Landankäufe durch die zionistische Organisation in… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kfar Yehoshua — Infobox Kibbutz kibbutz name = Kfar Yehoshua foundation = 1927 founded by = region = Galilee council = Jezreel Valley industry = affiliation = Moshavim Movement website = Kfar Yehoshua ( he. כפר יהושע, lit. Yehoshua Village ) is a moshav in… …   Wikipedia

  • Hefer Valley Regional Council — The Hefer Valley Regional Council ( he. מועצה אזורית עמק חפר, Mo atza Ezorit Emek Hefer ) is a regional council in the Hefer Valley region of central Israel.The council covers an area from Tulkarm in the east to the Mediterranean in the west;… …   Wikipedia

  • Jehoschua — Jehoschua, Jeschua in den Varianten des Masoretischen Textes Jehoschua ist eine Transliteration des hebräischen Personennamens ‏יהושוע‎, der in der Bibel mehrfach vorkommt und noch heute gebraucht wird. Folgende Schreibweisen des Namens sind in… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • История почты и почтовых марок Палестины — Почтовая марка номиналом 20 пиастров, выпущенная Египетской экспедиционной армией в декабре 1918 г. (  …   Википедия

  • Hadera — Hebrew transcription(s)    Hebrew חֲדֵרָה    ISO 259 Ḥdera Arabic transcription(s)    Arabic الخضيرة …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.