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Elazari-Volcani (Wilkansky), Yiẓḥak

ELAZARI-VOLCANI (Wilkansky), YIẒḤAK (1880–1955), agronomist and one of the planners of agricultural settlement in Ereẓ Israel, brother of Meir Wilkansky. Born at Eisiskes, near Vilna, Elazari-Volcani studied at European universities and in 1908 immigrated to Ereẓ Israel, where he managed the farm settlements of Ben Shemen and Ḥuldah (1909–18). He was an active member of the Ha-Po'el ha-Ẓa'ir party, which he represented at Zionist Congresses and in Zionist institutions. In 1921, he set up the experimental agricultural station of the Zionist Executive (today the Agricultural Research Station) and ran it until his retirement in 1951. He was one of the founders of the Institute for Agricultural Studies of the Hebrew University at Rehovot, which later became the university's faculty of agriculture. In 1938, he was appointed professor of agricultural economics, and held various public and scientific posts connected with agriculture.

Volcani was also a prolific writer and polemicist. His first writings were published in David *Frischmann's journal Ha-Dor and he later contributed to J.H. *Brenner's Ha-Me'orer. Under the name of "E. Ẓiyyoni," he was also one of the main contributors to Ha-Po'el ha-Ẓair from its foundation. He was the first to give a positive evaluation of Baron de Rothschild's settlement scheme, and contended that it laid healthy foundations for the continuation of Jewish settlement in Ereẓ Israel. He also wrote literary studies and plays (under the pseudonym I. Avuyah). He published several books on agricultural subjects, settlement, etc. His collected articles on agriculture and other topics were published in ten volumes.

His brother, MEIR WILKANSKY (Elazari-Volcani) (1882–1949), Hebrew author, was born in Eisiskes, and immigrated to Ereẓ Israel in 1904. He first worked as an agricultural laborer; between 1908 and 1918, he was secretary of the *Palestine Office and, from 1918 until his retirement in 1942, head of the Palestine Land Development Company. Wilkansky was one of the first writers to depict the life of the pioneers of the Second Aliyah in Hebrew fiction. His stories include "Be'er Ḥafarnu," "Baḥar," and "Yom Avodati ha-Rishon." His books include Sippurim me-Ḥayyei ha-Areẓ (1918), Ba-Ḥeder (1934), Bi-Ymei ha-Aliyyah (1935), Mi-Gal el Gal (1943), and Senuniyyot (1963). He translated two of Goethe's works, Die Leiden des jungen Werthers and Dichtung und Wahrheit (Yefet series, 1911–12), and published two statistical pamphlets on Jewish settlement in Palestine (1918–19). Meir's son, RAANAN VOLCANI (1910–2002), became associate professor of animal husbandry at the agricultural faculty of the Hebrew University in 1960 and head of the Husbandry Department of the National and University Institute of Agriculture at Reḥovot.


Hebrew University, Ha-Fakultah le-Ḥakla'ut (1958), 16–40, 261–7; A. Granott, Ishim be-Yisrael (1956), 225–38; I. Cohen, Demut el Demut (1949), 234–45; J. Fischmann, Be-Terem Aviv (1959), 332–56; M. Smilansky, Mishpaḥat ha-Adamah, 4 (1953), 282–7; Y. Keshet, Maskiyyot (1953), 109–21.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.