American arctic explorer; born July 1, 1859, at Kalamazoo, Mich.; died May 27, 1884; educated at the University of Ann Arbor, Mich. He joined the Signal Corps of the United States Army and became a sergeant. In 1881 Israel volunteered for the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition, under the command of Gen. A. W. Greely, accompanying the expedition as astronomer (1881-84); in this expedition he made many valuable scientific observations. At times he commanded special sleigh parties. Although not physically robust, he often volunteered for geographical work; in 1882 he rendered especially important service in determining the practicability of an overland route to Hazen Land in Greenland through "The Bellows" valley. The amiability of his disposition endeared him to his comrades, and, being the youngest in the party, he was familiarly denominated "Benjamin." When ill and starving, he refused to accept more than an equal ration. Israel died before the return of the expedition. In reading the burial service, General Greely, remembering that Israel was of the Jewish faith, omitted such portions as were inappropriate.
- Greely, Lady Franklin Bay Expedition, 1885.