Simon, Sir Leon

   British Zionist. Simon was a senior official in the British Post Office and was appointed director of telegraphs and tel-ephones in 1931 and of national savings in 1935. He was knighted in 1944. His father, a Manchester rabbi, gave him a Jewish education, including a sound knowledge of Hebrew. He was drawn early to Zionism, and was one of the gifted young men who gathered round Dr WEIZMANN in the period that led up to the BALFOUR Declaration of 1917. In this group he distinguished himself as an effective pamphleteer. He was a member of the Zionist Commission sent to Palestine in 1918. Simon fell strongly under the influence of AHAD HA-AM, the father of cultural Zionism. He became the major translator into English of Ahad Ha-Am’s essays and letters, and published a biography of him in 1955. He also edited an anthology on Aspects of the Hebrew Genius (1910). In addition to being a fine English and Hebrew stylist, Simon was a classical scholar, and produced the first modern Hebrew translations of several Greek classics, notably Plato’s Dialogues.
   He retired to Jerusalem in 1946 and lived there for seven years. During this time he devoted himself to the Hebrew University, serving as chairman of its Executive Council, and then of its Board of Governors. He also advised the Israel government on the setting up of a postal savings scheme.

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

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