Shmuel Katz’ newest book explores the contributions of this remarkable Jewish/Palestinian hero.
Aaronsohn was an agronomist who had an international reputation as one of the most creative thinkers on the subject of soil and soil nutrients. He discovered a new form of wheat. He set up the Jewish Agricultural Experiment Station in Palestine, the first of its kind.
But Aaronsohn’s scientific contributions pale in comparison to his heroism.
Before the creation of the State of Israel the region was controlled by the Ottomans. Aaronsohn created a spy organization for the British that helped them defeat the Ottomans, oust the Turks, and eventually win World War I. His organization was called NILI, an acronym from the biblical verse in the book of the Prophet Isaiah that reads: Neztah Israel Lo Ishakar—the greatness of the future of Israel will not be a story or a fairy tale.
Katz discovered a slew of new and original resources and documents that go further than ever before to demonstrate the enormous contribution that Aaronsohn and his sister Sarah made to the British war effort. Aaronsohn risked his own life because he believed not only in the greatness of science but also in the greatness of the collective spirit.
Micah D. Halpern is a columnist and a social and political commentator. He is the author of What You Need To Know About: Terror, and maintains The Micah Report at www.micahhalpern.com.