(1874 - 1952)
Chaim Weizmann was born in Motol, Russia in 1874. He received his education in biochemistry in Switzerland and Germany. Already in Geneva,
he became active in the Zionist movement.
In 1905 he moved to England,
and was elected to the General Zionist Council.
Weizmann's scientific assistance
to the Allied forces in World War I brought
him into close contact with British leaders,
enabling him to play a key role in the issuing
of the Balfour
Declaration on November 2, 1917 in
which Britain committed itself to the establishment
of a Jewish home in Palestine.
In 1918, Weizmann was appointed head of the Zionist
Commission sent to Palestine by the British government to advise on
the future development of the country. There, he laid the foundation
stone of the Hebrew University.
That same year Weizmann met
in Aqaba with Emir Feisal, son of Sharif Hussein of Mecca, the leader
of the Arab movement, to discuss prospects of reaching an understanding
on the establishment of independent Arab and Jewish states.
Shortly after, Weizmann led
the Zionist delegation to the Peace Conference
at Versailles, and in 1920 became the president
of the World
Zionist Organization (WZO). He headed
the Jewish Agency which was established in
In the 1930's, Weizmann laid the foundations of the
Daniel Sieff Research Institute in Rehovot, later to become the Weizmann
Institute, a driving force behind Israel's scientific research.
In 1937, he made his home in Rehovot.
Chaim Weizmann again served as President of the WZO
from 1935-1946. During the years that led up to World
War II, he invested much effort in establishing the Jewish
Brigade. He also tried, unsuccessfully, to prevent the issuing in 1939 of the White Paper,
which in effect halted Jewish immigration to Palestine.
After the end of World War
II, Weizmann was instrumental in the adoption
of the Partition
Plan by the United
Nations on November 29, 1947, and in the recognition
of Israel by the United States.
With the declaration of the
State of Israel, Weizmann was chosen to serve
as the first President
of Israel. This role he filled until his
death in 1952.