Born in Jerusalem, David Yellin studied at the Etz Hayim yeshiva and in 1882 became a maverick when he enrolled at the Alliance Israelite Universelle school where he later became a teacher.
In 1903, he was one of the organizers and first president of the Teachers Association, and in 1912 became deputy director of the Jerusalem teachers seminary. When the administration insisted that the language of instruction be German, Yellin founded the Hebrew Teachers Seminary and was its principal until his death.
A member of the Ottoman parliament (1913), he was also one of the first public figures to join the Zionist movement openly. He attended a Zionist Congress and in 1917, was exiled by the Turks to Damascus. Active in the development of Jerusalem, he served on the Town Council, was a deputy mayor and was also chairman of the Vaad Leumi (National Council of the Jews of Palestine).
Sources: The Pedagogic Center, The Department for Jewish Zionist Education, The Jewish Agency for Israel, (c) 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, Director: Dr. Motti Friedman, Webmaster: Esther Carciente