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Name, Surname : Joseph Niego

Birth Date and Place: 1863 Edirne / Turkey

Spouse's Name : Lea Polina Mitrani

Date of Death : December 8, 1945 in Istanbul / Turkey

Aliya Date : 1886

Education : He learned French at Alliance High School in Edirne, Torah at Ecole Normale Orientale and Hebrew from Menahem Farhi. He studied at the Agricultural College in Montpellier, France, to where he was sent by the Alliance.

Profession : Agronomist, Agriculturalist

CV : Joseph Niego was appointed in 1886 by Samuel Hirsh as deputy head of the Mikveh IsraelAgricultural School in Israel. After five years as an agriculture teacher, he became the principal of the school in 1891. His professional knowledge led many students to become successful agriculturalists and greatly increased the number of those enlisted. The number of students reached 100 and then went up to 200 between 1893-1901. He gave priority to the education of students from the "moshavim" (agricultural settlements) in particular.

Niego's goal as director of Mikveh Israel was to provide a good future for school graduates. With the admission of two students of the youth organization "Hovevey Tsion" from each moshav, he tried to ensure the development of agriculture with modern methods in agricultural settlements.

Niego helped open the first Hebrew High School in Yafo in 1893.

Joseph Niego built separate departments for teachers and civil servants, large dormitories for students, and a synagogue in Mikveh Israel. He opened agricultural areas where many products such as almonds and olives were grown, and formed sheepfolds and coops. He ensured that especially tropical fruits such as lemons, bananas and peaches were grown in Israel.

Upon the program of Herzl's meeting with the German Emperor in Mikveh Israel on October 27, 1989, Niego first hesitated because he did not adopt Herzl's Zionist views. Later, however, he hosted Herzl very well and gave explanations by giving him a tour of the whole school. So much so that Herzl later wrote in his diary that this was "an excellent agricultural school".

Joseph Niego also had Dr. Herzl and four of his friends meet with Emperor Wilhelm /Guillaume in Mikveh Israel. Representatives from all residential areas and students holding olive branches attended this welcoming ceremony.

Joseph Niego,became the representative of the Jewish Colonization Association (JCA) starting in 1884. In 1887, after the death in 1897of Baron Hirsh who had founded the company, Baron Rotchild provided support for these settlers. He borrowed 150,000 francs from private individuals to purchase additional land in Rehovot, Hedera, Nes Tziona, Mishmar HaYarden and Jaffa.

In 1898, acknowledging that the former Shaar Tsion Hospital had not been able to accommodate many patients during the epidemic that had broken out in Jaffa in 1890, he engaged in a project to expand the hospital with 25 rooms on a13-acre area. He managed to collect 4,500 of the 75,000 Francs needed from Baronit Klara Hirsh, while the rest was collected from European Jews.

After the death of his daughter Hana and the deterioration of his wife's health in 1904, Niego ended his post as director at Mikveh Israel.

After 18 years of work, Joseph Niego left Mikveh Israel and `Palestina` for family reasons and was elected as the Middle East representative of the Jewish Colonization Association JCA and began working in his new position for the next 20 years.

His duty at JCA led him to move from one place to another, always living a nomadic life. He conducted significant research in regions such as Seyhan and Dicle, Urfa-Siverek, Diyarbakır and Baghdad. In the Ottoman Empire, Sultan Abdulhamit supported these initiatives. Niego provided permission from the Ottoman Sultan to conduct experiments for agricultural research. He published a large amount of research on agriculture in Eretz Israel in this area.

However, in 1923, when the Treaty of Lausanne prohibited foreigners from buying land in Turkey, JCA ended its activities there. Niego was then appointed as the director of the "Small Employment Fund" headquartered in Istanbul which was supported by Chief Rabbi Nahum who provided credit and the JCA.

In 1910, Niego joined B'nai Brith and in the same year he was elected president of the Istanbul lodge. He continued this mission until the lodge was closed. He also chaired the B'nai Brith XI District on the initiative of S. Bergel in Berlin in 1911.

During World War I, the activity of foreign schools in Ottoman Turkey ceased. Therefore, the Jews of Istanbul, who were accustomed to sending their children to foreign schools, urgently sought a Jewish high school (lyceum). Joseph Niego raised the necessary funds and established the first Jewish high school in Istanbul, "B'nai Brith" whose name was later changed to "Yavne". Niego volunteered for it as its first director for about three years (1914–1917)...As a\ token of appreciation for his great contribution to the Jews of Turkey, the B'nai Brith J. Niego Lodge established in Israel and carrying his name currently grants scholarships to students from Turkey who study at universities in Israel.[9]

With the end of World War I in 1918, the Allied Powers began to negotiate with Turkey. Then there was an urgent need among the Jews of Turkey for adequate representation in those negotiations. Since the chief rabbi of the Ottoman Empire, Rabbi Chaim Nachum, was temporarily absent, the Jews of Istanbul established a temporary national council of the Jewish community in Turkey, and unanimously elected Joseph Niego as president.

With the recommendations of the American ambassador in Turkey, Morgentao, and Narcisse Leven, who had been president of JCA since1896, Niego was invited in 1923 to manage the loan fund for small businesses "Caisse de petits pres de Constantinople" of the JCA.

In 1929 , Niego visited Eretz Israel and greatly enjoyed the development of Mikveh Israel under the direction of his student, Eliyahu Krause .

In 1933, at the age of 70, Niego's friends and admirers wrote a literary file in his honor called "Burdens and Speeches" containing his biography, lectures, and memoirs.

In 1945 he died in Istanbul, and a magnificent funeral was held for him in which all the Jews of the city attended.[1]--

His Works:

Niego published numerous research reports and reviews on agricultural issues.

Outstanding and lasting contribution / Reasons for being selected:

As deputy principal and principal at the Mikveh Israel Agricultural School, and under JCA, with his superior services in the provision of land for the Jews who immigrated during the establishment period of Israel, Joseph Niego made outstanding and permanent contributions to the development of agricultural settlements in Israel;


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