||This volume on the geography, nature and inhabitants of Palestine does not attribute authorship on its title page, but the catalog at the Jewish National and University Library in Jerusalem attributes authorship to Judah Leib Maimon. The book includes an extensive bibliography with 244 listings on all books that were published in Hebrew about the Holy Land, its attributes, its borders and about the Zionist movement and the settlement of the land. It includes a map of Palestine in the present day (1918) published by E.C. Bridgman Maps of New York and printed by J. Keller. The map was edited by Samuel Belkind and copyrighted to the Federation of American Zionists. The book is dedicated to the fifth conference of the Mizahi Organization of America, held in Philadelphia from the 21st to the 25th of Iyar, 5678 (1918).
MAIMON (Fishman), JUDAH LEIB (1876–1963), rabbi and leader of religious Zionism. Born in Marculesti, Bessarabia, Maimon studied in Lithuanian yeshivot and, after being ordained, served as a preacher in Marculesti and in 1905–13 as rabbi in Ungeni. In 1900 he met Rabbi Isaac Jacob Reines, founder of Mizrachi, and afterward took an active part in the founding conference of Mizrachi, which was held in Vilna, and in its first world conference in Pressburg (Bratislava). Beginning with the Second Zionist Congress, he participated in all the subsequent Congresses and was for many years a member of the Zionist General Council. From 1935 he served as Mizrachi's representative on the Zionist Executive, was vice-chairman of the Executive, and headed the Department for Artisans and Retail Business as well as the Department of Religious Affairs.
Maimon settled in Erez Israel in 1913 and was among the founders of the educational network of Mizrachi there. At the outbreak of World War I he was imprisoned and expelled by the Turkish authorities. He went to the United States, where he was active in the effort to strengthen Mizrachi and published hundreds of articles in the press. He returned on the first ship to reach the shores of Palestine after the war and met Rabbi Kook, with whom he became very friendly. Together they established the chief rabbinate of Palestine, and Maimon formulated the rabbinate's constitution and organized its founding ceremony. In 1936 he established the Mosad ha-Rav Kook, which published hundreds of books. His private library contained over 40,000 volumes, among them many very rare books, first editions, incunabula, and the only extant copies of many important manuscripts.
Although he maintained his adherence to the organized framework of the yishuv, Maimon often expressed his sympathy with the secessionist organizations, Irgun Zeva'i Le'ummi (I.Z.L.) and Lohamei Herut Israel (Lehi), and gave evidence on behalf of I.Z.L. prisoners. He proclaimed the right of every Jew to bear arms in his own defense and in the defense of Jewish rights in Erez Israel. When the Haganah began actively to suppress I.Z.L. (1944–45), Maimon expressed his opposition to these activities. On "Black Saturday" (June 1946) he was interned as acting chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive. His imprisonment aroused a great furor, since the British had compelled him by force to desecrate the Sabbath, and after great pressure he was released by special order of the high commissioner.
In the first years after the establishment of the State of Israel, Maimon advocated the institution of a Sanhedrin as a supreme religious authority, but this attempt aroused opposition in many religious circles. He was appointed minister of religions and minister in charge of war casualties both in the provisional government and in the first elected one; and was a member of the First Knesset. He later relinquished his political activities and devoted himself entirely to literary work.
Maimon was a prolific author. His first work was Ha-Noten ba-Yam Derekh (1903). His second work Hadar Horati, a collection of articles on halakhah, Maimonides, and aggadah, was published ten years later. He also published other articles and biblical investigations. In 1907 he began to publish the talmudic-literary journal, Ha-Yonah, which was banned by censorship, however, and its publication discontinued. In 1921 Maimon founded the Mizrachi weekly, Ha-Tor, whose publication was continued for 15 years. He later founded and edited the monthly Sinai, of which he issued 50 volumes. His major work, Sarei ha-Me'ah (6 vols., 1942–47), describes the greatest Jewish scholars of the last century. His other writings include: Le-Ma'an Ziyyon Lo Ehesheh (2 vols., 1954–55); Middei Hodesh be-Hodsho (8 vols., 1955–62); Haggim u-Mo'adim (19503); Ha-Ziyyonut ha-Datit ve-Hitpattehutah (1937); Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (1959); Toledot ha-Gra (1954); and an edition of Judah b. Kalonymus' Yihusei Tanna'im ve-Amora'im (1942).
Israel Belkind (1861–1929) was born in Logoisk. In 1882, while studying at Kharkov University, he was among the students who founded the Bilu movement and went to Erez Israel at the head of its first group. He led the opposition against Baron Edmond de Rothschild's officials and, on being expelled by them from Rishon le-Zion, settled in Gederah. In 1889 Belkind opened a private Hebrew school in Jaffa. He was accepted as a teacher at the Alliance IsraMlite Universelle in Jerusalem in 1892, and there published several textbooks. In 1903 he founded an agricultural training school at Shefeyah (near Zikhron Ya'akov) for orphans of the Kishinev pogroms whom he brought to Erez Israel. However, the school was forced to close down in 1906 because of lack of funds. During World War I Belkind was in the U.S., where he published his memoirs in Yiddish, Di Ershte Shrit fun Yishuv Erets Yisroel ("The First Steps of the Jewish Settlement of Palestine," 1918).
Apart from numerous articles and popular pamphlets, Belkind published a geography of Palestine, Erez Yisrael ba-Zeman ha-Zeh ("The Land of Israel Today," 1928). He died in Berlin, where he had gone for medical treatment. His remains were interred in Rishon le-Zion.