Avraham Shapiro, Legendary Figure in Israel, Dies; Was 95

Avraham Shapiro, the famed hero and veteran "watchman" who protected Jewish settlers in Palestine since before the turn of the century, died at his home here this morning at the age of 95. Shapiro, who was formerly head of the Petah Tikva security organization, was one of the first Jewish pioneers to devote his life to protecting his fellow settlers from Arab attacks.

Born in Russia, Shapiro emigrated to Palestine in 1880 and engaged in agriculture in addition to serving as a watchman for the Petah Tikva settlement. He served as bodyguard to Baron Edmond de Rothschild during his visits to Palestine and to Viscount Herbert Samuel, the first High Commissioner of Palestine under the British Mandate.

While his bravery became legendary throughout the Mideast and his reputation brought fear to Arab troublemakers in Palestine and neighboring countries, Shapiro often acted successfully as an arbitrator in local disputes between Jews and Arabs. He was honorary chairman of the Israel Watchmen’s Organization.

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