June 18, 1890
Born in Moldova in 1890, Granot was a signatory of the Israeli Declaration of Independence. He received his Doctorate of Law from the Universities of Freiburg and Luzon in 1917. Beginning to work for the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in The Hague in 1919, he immigrated to Mandate Palestine in 1922 and continued his work with the JNF in Jerusalem.
Under his leadership, the JNF acquired thousands of dunams of land, securing territory for the future Israeli state. (A dunam is equal to one quarter of an acre.) As a result of his success, Granot was appointed Director-General of the JNF in 1940. During his tenure at the JNF, Granot pioneered initiatives to invest tens of millions of dollars to build new settlements all across Israel and in the Negev Desert, and to plant millions of trees, reforesting barren areas. These initiatives created infrastructure for the young country and they also created thousands of jobs for new immigrants.
Granot was also an academic, and he lectured at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem and served on the Board of Governors for both that institution and the Weizmann Institute of Science. He authored many books, five of which have been translated into English. His most important book, The Land System in Palestine History and Structure, was published in 1952 and explains in great detail how Arab land ownership and land tenure methods economically handicapped Palestine’s majority Arab population, essentially neutralizing them as an effective and unified voice against Zionist development.
Granot was elected to the First Knesset as part of the “Progressive Party,” but immediately resigned after being re-elected to continue his work with the JNF in 1951. He passed away on July 5, 1962.