(1864 - 1945)
Born in the Ukraine, Yehoshua Hankin came to Eretz Yisrael with his
father in 1882, where they were among the founders of Rishon LeZion.
In 1887, they moved to Gedera where he established relations with the
local Arab landowners which helped in negotiating the purchase of
land to expand the Jewish settlement.
He made his first land purchase in 1890: the land on which Rehovot
was established. The following year he bought the land for the
founding of Hadera. He also purchased land on which the Jewish
Colonization Association established settlements in the Galilee and
in other parts of Palestine. In 1908, Hankin went to work for the
Palestine Land Development Corporation which was established by the
Zionist Organization to purchase and cultivate land for the Jewish
National Fund and for private individuals.
Hankin had negotiated the purchase of Jezreel Valley lands as early
as 1897, but the sale was delayed until 1909, when he finally
succeeded in purchase the land on which Merhavia - the first Jewish
settlement in the valley - was established.
In 1915, he was exiled by Turkish authorities to Turkey, returning
three years later. In 1920, he concluded a major purchase in the
Jezreel Valley: Ein Harod, Tel Yosef and Nahalal are among the
settlements founded on this land. As a result of this important
acquisition, Hankin became know as "Redeemer of the Valley."
In 1927, Hankin presented the Zionist leadership with a daring
20-year plan for the acquisition of Palestinian lands. He became
director of the Palestine Land Development Corporation in 1932.
He died in Tel Aviv and was buried on Mt. Gilboa, facing the land he
redeemed in the Jezreel Valley. During his lifetime, he arranged the
purchase of more than 600,000 dunams of land. Kfar Yehoshua in the
Jezreel Valley is named for him.
Sources: Joint Authority for Jewish Zionist Education