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Navon Bey, 86, Turkish Jew, Dies in Paris

April 10, 1934
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Youssef Navon Bey, eighty-six, died here today. He was a prominent financier in the old Turkish empire and was a close associate of Sultan Abdul Hamid.

Navon Bey was born in Jerusalem in 1848, son of one of the wealthiest Sephardic Jewish families in the city. Long before political Zionism began to function, he initiated the settlement of Jews on land in Palestine. In 1884 he founded the colony of Ekron, near Jaffa. He also participated in the settlement of Petach Tikvab and Rishon le Zion, two of the earliest colonies in Palestine. In 1896 Navon Bey obtained permission from the Sultan to build a narrow gauge railway between Jaffa and Jerusalem.

He was associated with Baron Maurice de Hirsch and The Alliance Israelite Universelle in a number of schemes for settling Jews both in Palestine and elsewhere. Because of his close connections with the Otoman government, Navon Bey was able to buy large stretches of land in Judea and Galilee. He also obtained permission from the Abdul Hamid to settle 800,000 Jewish families in Asia Minor, but the scheme failed despite the fact that Baron Hirsch and many others were sympathetic.

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