Kook, Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen

   First chief Ashkenazi rabbi of Palestine (1921-35). Born in Griva, Latvia, he studied in various eastern European yeshivot and served as rabbi for a number of communities. In 1904, he settled in Palestine where he served as rabbi of the Jewish community of Jaffa. Stranded in Europe during World War I, he returned to Palestine in 1919 and became the rabbi of the Ashkenazi community of Jerusalem. When the chief rabbinate of Palestine was established in 1921, he was chosen Ashkenazi chief rabbi and held that position until his death. He developed a nationalist-religious philosophy and pursued the Zionist ideal, believing that the building of the secular state of Israel played a crucial role in the spiritual redemption of the Jewish people. He established his own yeshiva in Jerusalem (Merkaz Harav), where he focused on the ideal of a religious-national renaissance for the Jewish people. He was outspoken in his criticism of the administration of the British mandate in Palestine. He established the theological basis for the National Religious or Religious Zionist Movement. He died in Jerusalem.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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