Nov. 9, 1952 Rehovot HaMerkaz (Center District), Israel
Israel President, Scientist. First President of Israel and noted chemist. Born in Motol, Russia in 1874, he received his education in bio-chemistry in Switzerland and Germany. In 1905 he moved to England, where he became active in political Zionism. He became famous when he developed a synthetic acetone to be used in the manufacture of TNT explosives critical to the Allied war effort. This brought him into close contact with British leaders, and enabled him to play a key role in the issue of the “Balfour Declaration” on November 2, 1917 wherein Britain committed itself to the establishment of a Jewish home in Palestine. Appointed head of the Zionist Commission in 1918, he was sent to Palestine by the British government to advise on the future development of the country. Shortly after, he led the Zionist delegation to the Peace Conference at Versailles. In 1920 Weizmann became the president of the World Zionist Organization (WZO). He also headed the Jewish Agency, (established 1929). During the 1930s, he laid the foundations of the Daniel Sieff Research Institute in Rehovot, later to become the Weizmann Institute, a driving force behind Israel's scientific research. In 1937, he made his permanent home in Rehovot while maintaining residences in London and Paris. He again served as President of the WZO from 1935 to 1946. Prior to World War II, he invested greatly assisted the establishment of the Jewish Brigade under British auspices. He also tried, (unsuccessfully) to prevent the issuing in 1939 of the White Paper, which virtually halted Jewish immigration to Palestine. After the end of World War II, Weizmann lobbied significantly for the adoption of the United Nations Partition Plan on November 29, 1947, and later, the recognition of Israel by the United States. His personal relationship with President Harry S Truman facilitated the recognition. Upon the formation of the State of Israel, he was chosen to serve as its first President. Worn out by many years of service and close to blindness, Weizmann served but one term, dying in office in 1952. At his request he was buried in the garden of his Rehovot house, now on the campus of the Weizmann Institute. His wife, Vera, rests beside him.