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Israelis You Should Know: Yehuda Leib Maimon

Yehuda Leib Maimon was an Israeli rabbi, politician, and leader of the Zionist movement (Photo: wikicommons/ELDAN DAVID)

Name: Yehuda Leib Maimon

Life: December 11, 1875 - July 10, 1962

Known for: Yehuda Leib Maimon was an Israeli rabbi, politician, and leader of the Zionist movement.

About him: Born to a Jewish family in what is now Moldova, Maimon was ordained as a rabbi. In 1902, he was one of the founders of the religious Zionist movement. By that time, he had moved to the Russian Empire, where he was arrested multiple times for his Zionist beliefs. In 1909, Maimon attended his first Zionist Congress, and would not miss one until Israel won its independence in 1948.

But Maimon made aliyah long before then, moving to then-Ottoman-ruled Palestine in 1913. Expelled by the Ottomans during World War I, Maimon returned to the Holy Land in 1919, helping establish the Chief Rabbinate.

As Israel prepared for statehood, Maimon was one of those who drafted the Jewish state's declaration of independence, and was one of its signers. Upon Israel's independence, he acted as Minister of Religions and War Victims, and was elected to the first Knesset, the Israeli parliament. Before he passed away, Yehuda Leib Maimon was also awarded the Israel Prize for his work in rabbinical literature.

Tags: Life in Israel

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