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Biography of Avshalom Feinberg

Biography of Avshalom Feinberg

Avshalom Feinberg (1889-1917) was a hero of the Jewish NILI resistance movement in Ottoman Palestine. Feinberg was born in Gederah and studied in France. He returned to work with Aaron Aaronsohn  at the agronomy research station in Atlit. Soon after the beginning of World War I, Aaronson founded the NILI, underground along with his sister Sarah Aaronsohn, Feinberg and Joseph Lishansky. In 1915 Feinberg traveled to Egypt and made contact with British Naval Intelligence. In 1917, Feinberg again journeyed to Egypt, on foot. He was apparently killed by a Bedouin near the British front in Sinai, close to Rafah. His fate was unknown until the Israeli conquest of Sinai in 1967. A palm tree that had grown up from date seeds in his pocket marked the spot of his grave.

Of the leaders of the NILI,, Sarah Aaronsohn was caught and committed suicide after being tortured by the Turks. Aaron Aaronsohn died in a suspicious air accident in 1919 and Feinberg met his fate in Gaza. However, the NILI had been in contact with British forces through clandestine meetings on the Mediterranean shore as well as through information supplied to the British by Aaron Aaronsohn. Perhaps Aaronsohn's most valuable contribution is that he knew the disposition of precious water sources in the Negev. General Allenby, whose attempts to overcome Turkish defenses in Gaza were repulsed repeatedly, used Aaronsohn's information to detour around Gaza and make an unexpected attack on Beersheba, routing the Turkish garrison there and opening the way to Jerusalem. 

Ami Isseroff

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