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Yitzhak Elazari-Volcani (Wilkanski)

(1880 - 1955)

Yitzhak Elazari-Volcani (Wilkanski) was an Israeli agronomist and one of the planners of agricultural settlement in Eretz Israel.

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.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.

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.