Eliyahu Sapir

An authority on Ottoman land laws, managed the APAC Jerusalem branch (1904) and eventually the Jaffa branch (1910). He published a lexicon of ancient and modern settlements in Eretz Yisrael, titled Ha’aretz; a book on Eretz Yisrael and Syria; and numerous articles.

Wiki (Hebrew via Google Translate):

Eliahu Sapir (1869-1911) was the head of the Anglo-Palestine Bank’s main branch in Palestine, in the only port city of his time, in Jaffa. The city was also the urban center of the colonies of the First Aliya. He was the deputy to Zalman David Levontin, the bank’s manager in Palestine and a candidate to be his successor in managing the bank, when the time came. His death at the age of 42 was lost to the bank due to his knowledge of the Turkish language, the purchase of land and the laws of the Ottoman state.

Sapir was a resident of Petah Tikva and was educated in her first school – in a building known as the “Pika House” in the city center, and he volunteered the Arabic and Turkish correspondence in the colony. Thanks to his expertise, tens of thousands of dunams were redeemed. From 1905, he served as deputy director of the Anglo-Palestine Bank in Jaffa, where he studied the Land of Israel and its environs and published many articles on nature and the country, and published a book called “Ha’aretz” which included a list of places in the Land of Israel. Land of Israel “by Avraham Luntz and” Jerusalem “.

Eliyahu Sapir was one of the first Hebrew teachers in Eretz Israel. The website of the Ministry of Education states: “According to chronological order of the beginning of the teaching in Hebrew, the teachers were: David Yellin, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, Mordechai Lubman, David Yudilovitch, David Shov, Shmerkin, Eliahu Sapir, Dvora Ben-Yehuda, Ze’ev Yavetz , Yehuda Gur, Yosef Meyuhas “In the early days of Petah Tikva, its sons, whose parents were members of the old Yishuv from Jerusalem, learned in the room, and after that the Baron School was established and enjoyed the assistance of the well-known benefactor and moved to a spacious building. : PICA House. The new school was attended by an excellent teachers’ group, including Eliyahu Sapir, Arieh Leib Gordon, Elisheva Basvitz, Yosef Vitkin and Ephraim Rubinowitz (Hareuveni); There were five classes and the curriculum included general subjects, French and Arabic.

In the founding meeting of the Teachers’ Union, which convened in Elul in 1903, Eliahu Sapir called for the establishment of an institution that would provide Hebrew vocabulary to the schools. The list of “plants of the Land of Israel” published in the journal “Hanukh” was the basis for the list of “plants found in Israel” published by the Committee in the memoirs and until the third language in 1913.

The Sapir family
Elijah’s grandfather was the interrogator Yaakov Halevi Sapir. The name of his well-known book is called Even Sapir Street in Petah Tikva [5]. He described his mission on behalf of the Ashkenazi community in various countries: Yemen, Ethiopia, India, China, Australia, Arabia and Egypt. In particular, he detailed the lives and customs of the Jews in these countries. He was a shrewd poet, a Torah scholar, an antiquarian researcher, an artist of the Hebrew language and a lecture, a man of science and inquiry, with great imagination and tremendous insight. He also assisted his son-in-law Yechiel Brill in editing the “Lebanon.” He has published many other books, including the “Igeret Yemen” and “The Parting Letter”.
The sons of Yaakov Halevy Sapir are Zalman Natan and Binyamin – the writers of the Lebanese newspaper.
Eliyahu Sapir is his grandson, and Yosef Sapir, the mayor of Petah Tikva, a member of the Knesset and a minister in the Israeli government, is a great-grandson.

His attitude toward the Arabs
In the book on the history of the Haganah [6], and in the blog “Plato” by historian Uri Katzir [7] reference is made to an article published by Eliyahu Sapir in 1900 on the need to define what would be the desired approach of the Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel to its Arab inhabitants. Katzir writes:

In 1900, Eliahu Sapir, a native of Jerusalem and a researcher of the Land of Israel, turned the attention of the Jewish public to the alarming phenomenon of anti-Zionist propaganda in the Arab press. Sapir distinguishes between the anti-Zionist propagandists who come mainly from the Christian community and the Muslim majority in Palestine, who in his opinion does not show hostility towards Zionism. In light of this determination, Sapir concluded that the future of Zionism depended on its close cooperation with the Muslim majority in Palestine. He explains this:
The Arab-Muslim nation is one of the peoples – or the one nation – which is close to us and to our hearts and in whose days we have seen the goodness and love and closeness to us still possible for the coming days.

His conclusion is that in Europe “we will work uselessly to root out hatred for us.” Therefore, the one means of saving our dignity and strength is to exclude ourselves from the European influence. Here, in the land of our forefathers, the Land of Israel, and in the countries adjacent to it, the Middle East, we will inform our nature and our lives and protest openly against any slander and plot. Most importantly, “to live in these countries in their language and literature as ‘their home owners’ are important and not guests.”

Katzir concludes: Eliahu Sapir’s article did not receive any attention in the Hebrew press, and he passed without attention, perhaps because he did not criticize him for the Jewish settlers or the Zionist movement.

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Last Updated On April 28, 2019