Edmond De Rothschild

The famous benefactor, known as The Father Of The Yishuv (the Jewish community in the Land of Israel).

Baron Edmond Benjamin James de Rothschild was a strong supporter of Zionism and his generous donations lent significant support to the movement during its early years which helped lead to the establishment of the State of Israel.

Edmond de Rothschild, a member of the French branch of the famous Rothschild banking dynasty, was born in France in 1845. In the early 1880s when the first Jewish settlements in the Land of Israel were facing a serious financial crisis, Baron Edmond de Rothschild provided massive financial support which in time turned into full patronage over some of the settlements. Clerks were sent out from France to implement his ideas and specialists in agriculture were sent to train the settlers.

In recognition of his personal philanthropy, a number of moshavot - cooperative villages - were named after members of the Baron's family: Zichron Yaacov for his father; Benyamina for the philanthropist himself; Mazkeret Batya for his mother.

In 1924, Baron Edmond de Rothschild set up PICA, the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association, through which his enterprises and villages in Palestine were managed. He helped set up the Electric Corporation, the Potash Company, and the Nesher Beer Company. He also established the wine cellars of Rishon LeZion and Zichron Yaacov. He died in 1934 in France.

In 1957, PICA transferred its considerable properties to the government and to the Jewish Agency. The bodies of Baron de Rothschild and his wife were brought to Israel as requested in his will and were interred in Ramat HaNadiv Park near Zichron Yaacov. Ramat HaNadiv is a large park south of Zichron Yaacov, planted on land purchased by Baron de Rothschild. Near the impressive flower garden is an archaeological site with remains from the Persian Period and various buildings and a fortress from the time of Herod the Great.

The stamp was issued in 1954, the year a naval frigate brought his and his wife bodies from France to Israel. It was designed by G. Hamoni. The banknote of 500 Sheqalim that was issued in 1982 also commemorated Edmond de Rothschild (it was printed in red tones, relating to the meaning of the name Rothschild, Red Shield).