The Prince

Stand for Israel  |  November 8, 2019

Moses Montefiore on his 100th birthday
Moses Montefiore on his 100th birthday

Moses Montefiore was many things during his 100 years of life (the above photo was taken on his 100th birthday in 1884).

He was a banker and businessman.

He was the Sheriff of London and knighted by the British crown.

He was noted by Charles Dickens and James Joyce.

And he was perhaps the original Zionist (a half century before Theodor Herzl led the modern Zionist movement), building the first Jewish settlement outside of Jerusalem’s Old City walls in the mid-19th century, for which he was nicknamed “ha-Sar” or “The Prince.”

But the story about Moses Montefiore that made Stand for Israel take note comes from a dinner party at which he was seated next to a known anti-Semite. The Jew-hater told Montefiore that he had just returned from a trip to Japan, a country which has “neither pigs nor Jews.” Montefiore replied to the nasty man, “In that case, you and I should go there, so it will have a sample of each.”

Thank you, Moses Montefiore for your support of a Jewish state, as well as your princely grace in the face of anti-Jewish hate. May your memory be a blessing.