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Pinchas Rutenberg

(1879 - 1942)

Pinchas Rutenberg was born on February 5, 1879, in Romni, Russia. During his earlier years Rutenberg devoted himself to the Russian revolutionary cause, in which he became deeply involved in the Russian movement, initially as a Social Democrat and later on as a Social Revolutionary.

Realizing that anti-Semitism was an ideology that was not going to go away in Russia, he later chose to immigrant to Palestine in 1919, where, in addition to other roles, he served as head of the Haganah's Tel Aviv office, and participated in the demarcation of Palestine's northern border, defining British and French areas of interest.

Rutenberg is more widely known as a prominent engineer, and his revolutionary work dealing with hydro-electricity. In 1923, Rutenberg founded the Palestine Electric Corporation, Ltd. (later, the Israel Electric Corporation, Ltd., which provided power to much of Israel by means of utilizing the flow of waters from the Jordan River. Following initial difficulties in launching the project, Rutenberg sought and received higher governmental support from Winston Churchill (then Colonial Secretary) and Baron Edmond de Rothschild, who provided significant financial support.

He died on January 3, 1942, in Jerusalem.

Sources: The Palestine Electric Corporation, Ltd.