|Pinchas Ruttenberg 1879 - 1942|
Missing from that list is Pinchas Ruttenberg. Pinchas Who?
Ruttenberg. The Russian revolutionary who ran with the likes of Lenin and Trotsky, a prisoner of the Bolsheviks who immigrated to Palestine in 1919, co-founder of the Haganah defense forces, and and founder of the Palestine Electric Corporation in 1923 who established electric plants across Palestine. And a man relatively unknown.
|Ruttenberg's Naharayim hydroelectric plant at the|
confluence of the Jordan and Yarmuk Rivers (circa 1932).
In the early 1920s Ruttenberg joined with Zev Jabotinsky to form the "Haganah" Jewish self-defense militia to protect Jews in Palestine. When Jabotinsky was arrested in 1920 for defending Jews in Jeusalem, Ruttenberg took command. In the 1921 Arab riots Ruttenberg commanded the militia in Tel Aviv.
In 1923 Ruttenberg founded the Palestine Electric Corporation, securing financial support for his electrification plans from the wealthy Rothschild family and political support from British Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill.
|Constuction workers building the|
power plant (1927). View workers'
dining hall here.
|Power plant's Sluice gate from |
the Yarmuk River
|Emir Abdullah starting up the turbines as Ruttenberg|
watches (1932). Also see Abdullah here
During the 1948 war Ruttenberg's security forces were integrated into the Haganah. But the Naharayim power plant, located just across the frontier in Transjordan, was overrun by the Jordanian Legion and ceased operation. The power company lost almost one-quarter of its output until the Tel Aviv and Haifa plants came on-line.
After the signing of the Israel-Jordan peace treaty in 1994, the grounds of the Naharayim facility were converted to the "Peace Island" park, a symbol of coexistence between the two countries.
|King Hussein and Prime Minister|
Netanyahu visiting a grieving family
Many Israelis will never forget the image of King Hussein of Jordan, Emir Abdullah's grandson, visiting the girls' grieving families in Beit Shemesh to express his condolences.
Click on a picture to enlarge. Click on a caption to view the original picture in the Library of Congress collection.
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