(1883–1957), political figure, Zionist leader, and biblical scholar. Born in Kovno to a distinguished and wealthy family, Menaḥem Solieli (Max Soloveichik) studied at the university in Saint Petersburg and continued his education at various institutions of higher learning in Germany. His particular interest was in the biblical period. In 1904, in Saint Petersburg, he was among the founders of the Russian-language Zionist journal Evreiskaia zhizn (Jewish Life).
With the establishment of the independent state of Lithuania, Solieli was elected to its parliament (Seimas) and served as minister of Jewish Affairs from 1919 to 1921. He proved adept as a leader of a community riven by ideological differences, and as a defender of Jewish rights. Perhaps discouraged by efforts to curtail Jewish autonomy in Lithuania, in 1922 he left for London, where he served briefly as a member of the Zionist executive, resigning after about a year over differences with Chaim Weizmann. In 1923, Solieli moved to Berlin, where he was an editor of the Encyclopedia Judaica until 1933, overseeing articles devoted to the Bible and the ancient Near East.
Solieli moved to Palestine in 1933 and settled in Haifa, where he held a number of leadership positions. With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, he was appointed director of Kol Yisra’el, the broadcast service. His publications include Osnovniia problemi bibleiskoi nauki (Basic Problems of Biblical Science; 1913) and, with Zalman Rubashov, Toldot bikoret ha-Mikra (History of Biblical Criticism; 1925).
Isaac Grünbaum, Pene ha-dor: Morim, ḥaverim, yerivim, vol. 1, pp. 306–311 (Jerusalem, 1957); Šarūnas Liekis, A State within a State?: Jewish Autonomy in Lithuania, 1918–1925 (Vilnius, 2003); Mendel Sudarsky, Uryeh Katsenelenbogn, and Y. Kisin, eds., Lite, vol. 1 (New York, 1951).
Translated from Hebrew by the editorial staff