||Haviv (Lubman) Zerubavel
Zerubavel in "Gedud Haivri" uniform
Zerubavel as a gifted and passionate speaker
Speaker Zerubavel as an historical researcher
Choir members offering greetings to the conductor andhis wife
Zerubavel Haviv was born in Rishon Le-Zion.
He was among the first children who began their education in the first Hebrew kindergarten which was founded in the village. He studied in the village elementary school-the school which in time would receive the name of his father, Dov Haviv (Lubman). He was among the first graduates of the Herzliah High School in Tel-Aviv in 1913. During his studies there he played in the wind orchestra, participated in plays put and took part in wrestling competitions. He became a member of the first symphony orchestra founded by Hopenko and located near the “Shulamit” conservatory. Together with friends of the same graduating class, he was an active member in the establishment of the “Young Generation” union whose members were recruited to the national and social tasks of that period.
After he completed his studies, answering M. Ussishkin’s national decree calling for the certification of lawyers to serve the Jewish “Yishuv” (settlement) and Zionist enterprise, he went to study law at the University of Istanbul in Turkey. His studies ended with the outbreak of WWI. In 1916 he was appointed by Aharon Aharonson to an administrative position in the war against the locust plague which broke out at that time all over the country. With the completion of the operation he was sent, upon the recommendation of the head of the Mikveh Israel Agricultural School, Eliyahu Crowza, to work in the agricultural department in the Negev as a Turkish officer and assistant manager. Due to his position, he employed hundreds of Jews and in this way saved them from hard labor under the cruel hand of hostile Turkish officers.
During that same year and under the guidance and help of Hanina Krachevsky, a music teacher at the Herzliah High School, Zerubavel Haviv established and conducted a choir in Rishon Le-Zion. With the British occupation of the country towards the end of World War I, he volunteered to the "Gedud Ha'ivri Ha'eretzisraeli" (Hebrew Battalion), "The First to Yehuda", served in Egypt and Israel and was one of the founders of the battalion's orchestra.
After his release from the army during the early 1920's, he studied agriculture at the University of Montpellier in France, wine production at the University of Dijon and poultry-farming in Gambe, near Paris.
In 1924 he married Shulamit Levine who was from the village and together they started an independent farm based on the spirit of national and social ideals. Work in their farmstead, located outside the village in the heart of the vineyards, was strictly carried out: only Jewish labor was used.
Zerubavel Haviv, as his father before him, devoted most of his time and energy to public work both locally in the village and on a national level: in 1921 he was voted to the "Defense Committee" founded by the government's license and took an active part in the defense activities during the period of the anti-Jewish riots in Mandatory Palestine; he was an active member in the national "Workers' Union" and the local "Farmers' Committee"; he was an executive member of the national committee of the "Keren Kayemet LeIsrael" (JNF); he was executive member of the "Loan and Savings" Bank, later serving as its chairman; he was a member of the local committee for education and for many years served on the committee appointed by the education department of the National Committee to supervise the schools; he was a member of the supervising committee of the Herzliah High School; he was a member of the General Zionist Federation, serving as delegate at the 19TH Zionist Congress in 1935.
Haviv was a zealous advocate for the use of the Hebrew language. Already in his youth, as a senior pupil at the "Herzliah" High School in 1913, he took part in the student demonstrations against the decision of the Haifa Technion to teach in German. In his rented room in Tel-Aviv, the pupils of the first graduation class of the Herzliah High School and the senior students of the Jerusalem teachers' seminar met and drafted a memorandum demanding they teach in Hebrew. The memorandum was addressed to the "Member of the Board of the Haifa Technikum, Mr. Asher Ginsberg ("Ahad Haam").
As a gifted speaker, Haviv delivered many speeches on public occasions as well as eulogies for many of the prominent public figures and villagers who passed away. In 1936 served as a member of the committee that initiated the erection of the Rothschild Museum in the village and as its honorary secretary his signature appears on the foundation charter of the museum. At the corner-stone laying ceremony, Haviv offered blessings in the name of native-born Israelis; at the second anniversary of the death of the Baron Rothschild, he presented the opening speech. Later on, as the Head of the City Council, he presented a speech to the Arab, British and Jewish sportsmen and praised sports as an important factor both in internal matters in the country as well as between different nations. His abilities as a speaker were uniquely expressed when he served as a national delegate abroad: the first time was in 1937 when he was sent as delegate for the Keren Kayemet (JNF) to the Polish Jewish diaspora, the largest European Jewish population in those days, and the second time when he was sent as a delegate for the Jewish settlement under the leadership of David Ben Gurion (together with Yaakov Uri, one of the founders of Nahalal) to the Jewish communities in South America. In 1939, during the elections for the Local Council in Rishon Le-Zion, he stood at the head of the list of the "citizens" and made what was considered a daring step in those days – he sets up a coalition with the "Histadrut" (Labor Party) and was elected Head of the Local Council. His term of service lasted 7 years from 1939 to 1946, the years of World War II.
During the period of his term, the blue-print for the development/expansion of the village was prepared; negotiations with the British Mandate over ownership of the sand dunes was resolved (and in the years that followed he continued to handle matters dealing with making the plans materialize); water supply was ruled to be under the Council's ownership; roads and sidewalks were paved and ties were strengthened with the National Committee. As head of the Local Council he took part in the debates carried out by the important institutions of the "Yishuv" (settlement). He was an active recruiter of Jewish soldiers to the British military forces and later, was active in matters of the downfall and revolt against the British Mandate rule. From 1949 and until his retirement at the age of 70, he served as director of the "Aliyat Hanoar" department (Youth Immigration Movement) in Tel-Aviv. At the same time, he was appointed one of the founders of "Yad Lebanim" (Memorial for Fallen Soldiers) serving as the organization's chairman for many years. He established the "Society for Biblical Research" in Rishon Le-Zion and served as its head until his death. In 1957 he was appointed by the mayor, Mrs. Hanna Levine, as one of the committee members in charge of researching the founders of Rishon Le-Zion. Within the framework of the country's politics, he was a member of the board of the Progressive Movement. All his later years were spent in research of the history of
Rishon Le-Zion and the modern "return to Zion"- which was the "First Aliya" (immigration) as well as fostering/making known the critical role played by the Baron Rothschild, the "Father of the Yishuv" (settlement), in fulfilling the Zionist dream. He placed great emphasis on "Rishoniut" (Firstness) of the revival of Zionism and the social and cultural life. He assisted Gershon Mann in organizing the municipal archive. Fifty years after the first attempt failed due to World War II, he initiated a second time, the establishing of a museum diligently working with the mayors until he saw the fruits of his labor and participated in its opening in 1982. Later, he assisted the museum staff, directed by Rachel Gissin, who founded and developed it, with documentation of the village's first years and continued until his death. He was active in preserving the city's historical sites. He donated his own private home for the founding of the Center for Zionist Study. This is what he said at the organizing committee's meeting on October 10, 1986:"When I decided to dedicate my house for a research center, I had a very simple thought in my mind. I wanted the house to serve as a stronghold for the study of the history of the beginning of Zionism, the love of Zion and the Hebrew language".
From the time of his youth and until his last years, Haviv engaged in writing. His many articles and recordings were printed in daily newspapers and journals from the "Bustenai" and "Haboker" newspapers to the "Haaretz" newspaper and the "Haoved Hazioni", the mouthpiece of the Independent Liberal (Progressive) Movement. He published booklets on subjects connected to the history of Rishon Le-Zion and on the occassion of the city's 90th anniversary he published the book "The History of Rishon Le-Zion", the first section written by his father, Dov Haviv Lubman, and esthe rest by him. Many researchers of the history of the "Yishuv" (settlement) were quick to interview him, argue/with him and retrieve memories, information and evaluations.