Bentwich, Norman

   English Zionist. Norman Bentwich was the son of Herbert Bentwich, a well-known London lawyer and early English Zionist. In 1920, when the mandate was assumed by Great Britain, Norman accepted the post of attorney general in Palestine. A man of great enthusiasm and goodwill, he devoted himself to promoting Arab - Jewish understanding - a difficult task as friction grew in the country. After the 1929 riots his position became untenable. A young Arab nationalist tried to murder him and wounded him in the leg. The administration wished to remove him and he was offered judicial posts in other colonies, but he refused to be voluntarily transferred from Palestine, and in 1931 was dismissed.
   For the next twenty years, he occupied the part-time chair of international relations at the Hebrew University in Jeru-salem. When Hitler came to power in 1933, he became active on behalf of the German-Jewish refugees, as a deputy of the League of Nations high commissioner for refugees. In 1951, he returned to London, continued to serve on the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University, and organized support for it in Britain. Bentwich was a prolific writer on Zionism, Israel and early Jewish history. His wife Helen (1892–1972) was a member of the well-known Franklin family of London. The personal experiences of Norman and herself in Jerusalem are described in their joint book, Mandate Memories 1918–48 (1965). She was for nearly thirty years a Labour member of the London County Council, serving at different times as chairman and vice-chairman of the council and chairman of various committees. Her chief field of interest was education.

Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. . 2012.

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