Meir Bar-Ilan

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Meir Bar-Ilan (Hebrew from originally Meir Berlin ; born April 10, 1880 in Voloshin , Russian Empire , † April 17, 1949 in Jerusalem ) was an Orthodox rabbi and a leader of religious Zionism . The Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan in the Tel Aviv district is named after him.

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His father, Rabbi Naphtali Zwi Juda Berlin (1816–1893), was the head of the famous Voloshin yeshiva . As a young man, Meir Bar-Ilan joined the Misrachi movement, founded in 1902, and represented it at the seventh Zionist Congress in 1905 , where he - unlike the other Misrachi delegates - voted against the Uganda plan .

In 1911 he was appointed secretary of the worldwide Misrachi and worked in Berlin. He coined the Misrachi motto: "eretz israel le'am israel al pi torat israel" ("the land of Israel to the people of Israel according to the Torah of Israel").

In 1915 he moved to the United States, was President of the Misrachi in the United States and from 1925 a member of the board of the Jewish National Fund . In 1926 Bar-Ilan came to Eretz Israel . He settled in Jerusalem, where he served as President of the Mizrachi World Center and as a Miscachi representative in institutions of Yishuv and Zionism.

Between 1929 and 1931 he was a member of the Zionist Executive. He was a leader in rejecting the 1937 partition plan and the 1939 white paper . He called for civil disobedience and total refusal to cooperate with the British mandate authorities.

After the establishment of the State of Israel, he formed a committee of scholars to examine the legal problems of the new state in the light of Jewish law. Bar-Ilan was the initiator of the National Religious Front, the group of religious parties that represented a common platform in the elections for the first Knesset .

Bar-Ilan founded the religious-Zionist weekly newspaper "Ha-Ivri" - "The Hebrew", which was published between 1910 and 1914 in Berlin and from 1916 to 1921 in New York. From 1939 to 1949 he was editor-in-chief of the Misrachi daily newspaper "Ha Zofeh" in Tel Aviv.

His articles appeared in anthologies such as "On the Path of Rebirth" and "Rabbi Meir Bar-Ilan: Collected Writings". His memoirs "From Voloshin to Jerusalem" (Fun Volozhin to Yerushalayim) were originally published in Yiddish .

In 1943 Bar-Ilan wrote a book about his father. He suggested the publication of the Talmudic Encyclopedia, which began in 1947. He founded an institution that made it its business to reissue the Talmud.

The Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv was founded in 1955 by the American Mizrachi and named after him. A street in Jerusalem, the Meir Forest in the hills of Hebron and the moshav Beit Meir near Jerusalem bear Bar-Ilan's name.


  • John F. Oppenheimer (Red.) And a .: Lexicon of Judaism. 2nd Edition. Bertelsmann Lexikon Verlag, Gütersloh u. a. 1971, ISBN 3-570-05964-2 , col. 86.