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Serbian rabbi dedicated to the idea of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine 100 years before the rise of Zionism. A forerunner of political Zionism, he proposed that the Jews obtain Palestine from the Turks through the intervention of England and France. He maintained that the Jews’ suffering was completely the result of their own passivity and inaction. Rabbi Alkalai also worked out a plan for redemption of Palestine that was similar to the plan adopted by the present Jewish National Fund, founded in 1901. Disappointed with the attitude of European Jewish leaders toward his ideas, he emigrated to Palestine at the age of 76, and there founded a society to resettle Jews on the land. He did not live to see his dream come true, dying in Jerusalem at the age of 80. A few days after Rabbi Alkalai’s funeral, some of his devoted followers bought the land which later became the site of Petach Tikvah, the first Jewish agricultural colony in modern Palestine.

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