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Moshe Yitzhak Matalon

1872 - 1959.

Moshe Matalon. Source: Wikipedia.

Moshe Yitzhak Matlon was one of Tel Aviv's founders. The first Matlon family members arrived in Israel from Iraq in 1817, more than 200 years ago. They were the pioneers of Jewish settlement in Jaffa.

Born in Jaffa, he studied at Mikve Israel and was one of the first Sephardim to graduate from the school. Then, he studied law, and in 1896, opened a law office in Jaffa and became one of the first Jewish lawyers in the city.

Engaged in public activity, he founded the "Magan" association, which aimed to bring Jaffa's Jews and Arabs close together.

In 1900, he got in touch with Herzl who invited him as a delegate to the (4th) Zionist Congress.

In 1913, he moved to Tel Aviv and bought land in Tel Aviv. One of the lots became the first United States Embassy after the Declaration of Independence in 1948.

After World War 1, most Jews still lived and worked in Jaffa. However following the deterioration of relations with the local Arabs, which culminated in the riots of 1921, a need arose to establish a business and trade center for Jews outside of Jaffa. In the 1920s, Moshe Matlon moved to construction and built Commercial Center Street (which is today called Moshe Matlon Street in southern Tel Aviv).

Moshe Matalon got close to Meir Dizengoff and helped him buy land for Tel Aviv. He thus bought the areas of King George, Dizengoff Square, HaBima, Ramat Aviv, and more. In the 1940s he built Kiryat Matalon in Petah Tikva.

When he died in 1959, the Haaretz newspaper wrote the following about him:

"He was one of the first lawyers in Jaffa City, a profession he practiced for many years until the British occupation. For the Turkish government, he led maritime affairs. Member of the Tel Aviv religious council and election committee in Jaffa. A delegate to many Zionist congresses, he founded many synagogues and a 'mother and child' house in Neve Shanan."*

He is buried in Nachalat Yitzhak Cemetery in Tel Aviv.

In this YouTube video, you can learn about him and his son Emanuel, a Zionist Activist and member of several Israeli Institutions.

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