• Issue: November 1985
  • Artist: J. Steinhardt / M. Sima
  • Stamp size: 40 x 51.4 mm
  • Plate no.: 122
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Photolithography

Meir Dizengoff (1861-1936), born in Bessarabia, was one of the founders of Tel Aviv and mayor of the city for many years. Following a spell of voluntary army service, he entered politics and was arrested for a time by the authorities. Upon his release from detention he took up Zionism and founded the HOVEVEI ZIYYON in Kishinev in the year 1886. During the years 1888-91 he studied chemical engineering in Paris and was later sent to Eretz Israel by Baron Edmond de Rothschild to set up a glass factory at Tantura to produce bottles for the wines of Rishon Leziyyon and Zikhron Yaakov, but the project was a failure.

In 1895 he went to Odessa and in 1901 was a delegate to the 5th Zionist Congress at Basle, and was one of the supporters of Herzl, but at the 6th Congress was in opposition to the Uganda Plan. In 1904 he founded "GEULA," a company for buying land in Eretz Israel and, in September 1905, came to settle in Jaffa where he engaged in the purchase of additional land for the veteran settlements.

Dizengoff was one of the band of people who had the inspiration to establish the neighbourhood of AHUZAT BAYIT on the borders of Jaffa and was one of the founding members of the society established for that purpose. In 1911 he was elected head of the local committee and, from then on, except for a short break between 1925 and 1928, he headed the township and later the town of Tel Aviv.

Meir Dizengoff was also active in other fields including founding an import and export company. During World War I he, along with other inhabitants of Jaffa and Tel Aviv, was expelled by the Turkish authorities and was head of the committee appointed to aid those expelled. At the end of the war he was again elected Mayor of Tel Aviv and he was a member of the first Jewish National Committee.

At the beginning of the twenties he was very active in encouraging the development of Tel Aviv. He was the leading spirit behind the establishment of the town's first commercial centre; he helped Ruttenberg build his power station and he raised a loan in America for the development of Tel Aviv. Political differences led him to resign from the mayoralty at the end of 1925 and, for several years, Dizengoff took no part in local affairs. In 1927 he was re-elected to the Tel Aviv town council and chosen as Mayor, serving until his death in 1936. During this time he helped establish the Levant Fair on the north Tel Aviv exhibition site (1934) and the first cargo jetty in Tel Aviv port (1936). In 1931 the Tel Aviv Museum of Art was founded in his private residence on Rothschild Boulevard. The building was renovated in 1936 and it was there that the establishment of the State of Israel was declared in 1948. Dizengoff's long service to the city of Tel Aviv was marked by the naming of a street in his honour during his lifetime and a square was named in honour of his wife Zena. His long years of service to the city earned him the title of "the Father of Tel Aviv." It was he who had the vision of Tel Aviv as a teeming city with its own industry, cultural activities, port, exhibition grounds and parks. He saw a city in which the kindergartens and schools would be open to all, free of charge, a city with its own centres of higher learning and above all a city characterized by the "recognition of righteousness and justice, a love of work and creativity, a striving after the realisation of the ideal of love the neighbour as thyself." Meir Dizengoff died in Tel Aviv in 1936.

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Meir Dizengoff