Daily Israel Report

French Businessman Announces Aliyah

Baron Edouard de Rothschild, of the famous Rothschild family, has announced that he will be moving to Israel.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/5/2010, 5:02 AM / Last Update: 8/5/2010, 5:00 AM

French businessman Baron Edouard de Rothschild has decided to make Aliyah and move to Israel.

Yediot Aharonot reported on Tuesday that Rothschild will live part time in his Tel Aviv home while continuing to maintain his businesses in France.

Rothschild was born on December 27, 1957 and is the son of Guy de Rothschild (who was the first president of the Fonds Social Juif Unifié, the major French philanthropic agency for the Jewish community). He studied law in France and graduated from the Stern School of Business at New York University with an M.B.A. degree in 1985.

In July 2003, Rothschild was made head of Rothschild & Cie Banque, a Paris based bank which he founded in 1987 with his half-brother David René de Rothschild and cousin Eric de Rothschild, a position in which he remained until June 2004. In January 2005, he invested 20 million euros for a 37% majority shareholding in the French newspaper Libération, a left-wing daily French newspaper that was founded in 1973.

Rothschild is also an avid horse enthusiast and competes both nationally and internationally. In 2004 he was elected President of the French horse racing association, "France Galop."

The Rothschild family has historically been very Zionist and contributed financially to the founding of the state of Israel at the start of the 20th century. Baron Edmond Benjamin James de Rothschild (born 1845, died 1934) was a strong supporter of Zionism who made generous donations to the movement during its early years. He was an art lover and invested in collecting of drawings and engravings, but in 1882 cut back on his art purchases of art and instead began to buy land in Israel. Rothschild helped found the town of Rishon LeZion. He established a special colonization association in 1924 which acquired more than 125,000 acres of land and set up business ventures.

Rothschild also played a pivotal role in Israel's wine industry, supervising the establishments of farm colonies and vineyards, as well as opening two major wineries in Rishon LeZion and Zichron Yaakov that would later be called Carmel Mizrahi, a well-known leader in the Israeli wine industry.

Baron Edmond de Rothschild became known as "HaNadiv HaYadu'a" ("The Famous Benefactor") due to his philanthropy. Various streets and other localities in Israel are named after him, perhaps the most famous one being Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv. The town of Binyamina (located in northern Israel, south of Haifa) , founded in 1922, was also named after him.