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David Florentin

1874 - 1941.


David Florentin. Source: Wikipedia.

David Florentin was a Jewish journalist and one of the founders of the Zionist movement in Thessaloniki. He was the first Jewish representative from Greece to participate in the World Zionist Congress (the 11th Congress, convened in 1913 in Vienna).


David Florentin was raised in Thessaloniki by a family of rabbis who came to Greece from Spain in the early 17th century via Florence, Italy (which explains the family name's origin).


As a child, he was expected to have a promising future in the rabbinate, but he left religion to become a journalist. Despite leaving religion, Florentin did not leave Judaism. In his twenties, he edited three pro-Zionist magazines, condemning assimilation.


At that time, Thessaloniki and its Jewish community were under Ottoman rule. The sultan granted Jews special rights, but any activity regarding a Jewish state was forbidden. Despite the restrictions, David Florentin kept publishing, undercover, articles in his newspaper on Zionist actions.


Florentin was involved in the establishment of Zionist associations, such as the "Bnei Zion Association", which dealt with collecting donations, and the "Kadima" association, which developed various Zionist actions and dealt with education and Hebrew language study.


He attended the 11th Zionist Congress (1913). He was a member of the Grand Executive Committee of the Zionist Organization, and the secretary of the Eastern Department of the Zionist Organization in London. For many years he was among the leaders of the Greek Zionist Federation.


In addition to his journalistic and public work, Florentin was a well-known translator of several European languages and translated into Ladino some of the best world literature.

In 1933, Florentin immigrated to Israel with his family and settled in Tel Aviv. Florentin did not stop his public activity in Israel. On his initiative, in 1937, 14 young men from Thessaloniki and Kastoria in Greece came up on the land and established the Tzur Moshe settlement (area of Netanya). Besides that, he was the head of the Greek Immigrants organization.

David Florentin passed away in 1941 at the age of 67. Florentin Street in Tel Aviv is named after him. The Florentin neighborhood is named after Solomon Florentin and there is no connection between the two.


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