Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook was the first Chief Rabbi of the Land of Israel in the decades leading up to the formation of the Jewish State. He was born in Latvia and was educated in Lithuania in the finest Yeshiva of Volozhin. He served in the Rabbinate in the Pale of Settlement till the age of 39. Then he made Aliyah, and moved to the Land of Israel.
He was the Chief Rabbi of Jaffa and the small settlements nearby. Rabbi Kook was known for taking a positive approach to the non-religious pioneers in the Land of Israel. This endeared him to many, but also led to criticism by others. Rabbi Kook tirelessly encouraged all Jews to move to the Land of Israel, always striving to raise up the religious observance in the Land of Israel.
During World War I, Rabbi Kook was stuck in Europe, unable to return to his beloved Land of Israel. He ended up becoming a Rabbi of a community in England, where he was involved in urging for what would become known as the Balfour Declaration, a critical exclamation by the British government that would play a vital role in the establishment of the State of Israel.
In the end, Rabbi Kook’s philosophies proved prophetic. The future of the Jewish people was in the Land of Israel. Europe would become a mass cemetery for millions of Jews, while the Return to Zion would lead to a massive return that would see millions of Jews returning to the Land of Israel following the establishment of the State of Israel.