Lord Edwin Herbert Samuel Dead at 80

Lord Edwin Herbert Samuel, son of the first High Commissioner of Palestine and a mentor of the Israeli civil service, died here yesterday at the age of 80 while taking his daily walk through the Jerusalem quarter of Rehavia.

Samuel was born in London in 1898, son of Herbert Samuel, then leader of the Liberals, later the first commissioner. He studied at Oxford and served during World War I as officer in the British army. In 1918 he arrived in Palestine as liaison officer between the Jewish population here and General Allenby’s headquarters in Jerusalem.

Shortly after Samuel joined the Jewish volunteers and became an instructor in the 40th Jewish Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers. After his discharge he helped out on the back-breaking road building in the Galilee, and then began his 50-year-old civil service career. It was in that period that he married Hadassah, daughter of the writer Yehuda Gur (Grasowsky).

Samuel began his civil service career in 1926 in the office of the Jaffa district commissioner. In 1929 he was deputy district commissioner of Jerusalem and subsequently served in the same capacity in the Galilee. During World War II he served as postal chief and chief censor and began an academic career as a lecturer in administration at the Hebrew University which continued into the 1970s.

After the war Samuel served as head of the Palestine Broadcasting Authority, which laid the groundwork for the future Israel Broadcasting Authority. During that time he established the Institute of Public Administration which trained many of the future State’s administrators.

In 1963 Samuel joined the House of Lards in the British Parliament. A year later he donated his father’s private papers to the State of Israel, providing valuable material about the early days of the British Mandate.

Samuel was a prolific writer. During his service for the British Mandate he published a number of books about the young Jewish community in Palestine. He was a contributor to numerous local and foreign publications on issues in public administration. He also wrote light articles and satires which were published in a 1970 collection, “A Lifetime in Jerusalem.” Samuel divided his time between London, the U.S. and Jerusalem which he loved. (By Gil Sedan)

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