Tuesday 10 November 2009

You'll be happy in The House of the Lord - Tel Mond

When Ludwig Mond fled nascent German anti-Semitism in the mid nineteenth century, it would appears that he decided to deny his heritage, certainly to his children. Alfred went to Cambridge and Edinburgh universities and qualified as a lawyer, before joining his father’s chemical and metal companies, where, as managing director, he eventually brought them together as a modest little enterprise called Imperial Chemical industries, ICI.

Mond was heavily involved in politics and, as seems a quite common occurrence in those times, switched party allegiance from Liberal to Conservative. With World War I approaching, Alfred found himself faced with anti-semitic attacks, as a “German and Jewish traitor.” Despite this lunacy, Lloyd George in 1916 appointed him Commissioner of Works, organising a vast programme of factories for supply of ammunition and construction work, jetties, factories, hospitals, camps and barracks. Lloyd George said: “No better business brain has ever been placed at the disposal of the State in high office than that of Sir Alfred Mond” .

Alfred was married to a non-Jew, and his children Henry and Eva were raised as Christians. However,in 1917, at the age of 50, he seemed to undergo a deep change in religious feelings and he gave his first speech in which he spoke in the name of the Jewish people.
Chaim Weizmann invited him to Palestine in 1922. They stayed at Government house as Guests of Sir Herbert Samuel and Alfred wrote back to his wife, “I have learned much I didn’t know and which, possibly, no one who is not a Jew will ever be able to understand, for it can only be felt.”  

Mond became President of the British Zionist Foundation and took on the responsibility for negotiations with the British Government, became a speaker on American fund raising trips, and was a member of the Joint Palestine Survey Committee which looked at the issue of resettlement in Palestine. Mond was the first President of the Technion in Haifa and was the guest of honour at its official opening in 1925. Elevated to the peerage, he took the title lord Melchett.Lord Melchett’s son Henry, the second Lord Melchett, and daughter 
Eva Mond - the second Marchioness of Reading - both converted to Judaism
in the early 1930s and, following their father’s death, laid the foundation for
the memorial statue of their father that stands today in the centre of Tel Mond. 

He made huge monetary contributions to Zionist causes and purchased large areas of unfarmed land in the area, which he opened up to agriculture. He bought for himself fifty acres of land in Migdal on lake Kinneret (which is also well worth a visit), and had a house built, which is now available for functions.  Alfred Mond died in 1930. He was held in such high esteem that, the night before the burial, Dr. Chaim Weizmann took part in the first watch over his body.

The fascinating life of Alfred Mond can be discovered at his house,The House of the Lord, as small museum in Tel Mond, accessible on Route 5522, the road from Route 4, east of Natanya. The museum is only open in the mornings.
To see the google map of this site, click here

1 comment:

  1. I am really fascinated by the history of Mond's Family. And I do agree with Nahum Sokolov, who told that "when the Jewish history of our times comes to be written , he (Alfred Mond) will figure it in as one of its greatest personalities. Sir Alfred Mond - First Lord Melchett can be proud of his children Eva Reading and Henry Mond, who contributed in building of State of Israel as well.
    Eva visited Palestine each spring with her children and staid in Villa Melchett, built in 1928 in Migdal, the Galilee Sea. Mostly recommended to visit such a lovely historical place.